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Week 11: Indianapolis Colts @ Baltimore Ravens


Week 11: Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens
Monday November 22, 2009 1:00 PM
Line: Ravens +6.0

It’s the NFL. Clearly a win is a win is a win. With the tough slate of games coming up, the Ravens cannot look a gift horse in the mouth and be down on themselves for failing to destroy the Cleveland Browns. Yes it was sloppy, yes it was poorly executed, but that being said, the Ravens still came out of Monday Night with a much needed W. To be sure, a loss in Cleveland and the season is over.

This week the Ravens face the first of two very difficult challenges. In what is usually the second most emotionally draining matchup of the season (behind Pittsburgh), the Ravens are set to face the Indianapolis Colts. Compound the already bitter rivalry with the fact that the Ravens are playing on a short week and this should set up to be the biggest test of the season so far. Although it’s not a must win, it sure as heck will make the path to the playoffs ten fold more difficult if they fail to defend their home turf.

With that in mind let’s take a look at this week’s match up. Keys to the Game

Get the Momentum Going

You got a win. That’s step one for getting the season back on track. Now you’ve got to build on that win and keep moving forward. Sometimes a string of victories can spark a big rally and run. A win against Indy will surely give the Ravens the swagger and confidence they so sorely need. I truly believe that a large part of the woes Baltimore has faced over the last few weeks stems directly from their lack of confidence. A confidence which has so characterized this team since its inception.

The Ravens have to use the momentum they built in a win against Cleveland to come out fast and strong and get to the Colts early. If they can get the game in hand early on and control it, then they’ll be in great shape to win and move on to the Pittsburgh Steelers who loom just over the horizon.

Get to Peyton Manning

Winning the one on one battles at the point of attack is the main Key to a Ravens victory. If the defensive front cannot beat their guards and tackles respectively, then Peyton will have all day to throw the ball, and the Colts will win. Beating the Colts means getting to Peyton Manning and forcing him to throw the ball away.

Let’s be clear about this. Manning is the smartest quarterback in the league, if not in league history. He simply does not take sacks. The Patriots game was more of an aberration for Manning than the rule. Under pressure he’s fare likelier to just dump the ball off then to go to the ground. Beating him on Sunday means getting in his face early and often. Keep him off the field.

Go No Huddle

One can only hope that Cam Cameron finally sees what the rest of Baltimore has seen over the last few games. The no huddle offense is working. Every time Joe opens up the no huddle the Ravens look collected, together and they seem to be able to move the ball well. I understand that many times you want to control the clock and keep the time of possession game in your favor, but against a team as explosively dangerous as the Colts, a conservative approach will get you beaten, and badly.

Take Notes from Miami

Want to know how to beat the Colts? Look no further than the Indianapolis v. Miami game from earlier this season. Tony Sparano showed every team in the league the step by step blue print on how to beat Peyton Manning. Miami may have lost that game, but that’s only because they failed to properly execute their own strategy.

You beat Peyton by keeping alive long drawn out sustained drives using a no huddle attack. Chad Pennington kept the Colts offense off the field for almost 45 minutes of the game. That’s absolutely absurd. Miami proved that without Peyton’s rhythm he can’t win. To beat the Colts this weekend, the Ravens must execute a similar game plan.

Contain Dallas Clark

The biggest mistake that the Ravens can make on Sunday is to spend all of their resources defending Reggie Wayne. While it is undoubtedly true that Wayne is the Colts’ number one receiving threat, is you spend too much energy boxing him out, it allows Dallas Clark to chew you up from the inside.

Clark is arguably one of the best TE’s in the league. He has sure hands, good vision, and is an absolute safety blanket for Peyton Manning. The Ravens can beat the Colts by containing Reggie Wayne, but they must keep enough backside presence to prevent Dallas Clark from extending drives.

Play Solid Defense

Despite what the average fan may ask for on every down, the Ravens cannot go blitz happy against this Colts offense. They did that last year and Peyton torched them big time. To beat the Colts you have to through a lot of cover two at them and mix in the heavy pressure packages once you get Peyton off his game.

If Greg Mattison under estimates Peyton’s talent, the Ravens will pay for the mistake all day long. Blitzing him left and right allows him to pick apart your secondary.

Come Out Fast and Strong

This is the one area where the Ravens have been consistently failing since the Minnesota game. I’m keeping here as a key to the game because until they figure out this aspect of their game plan, they will continue to struggle against lesser opponents, and lose to the better ones.

Ravens Gab Predictions

Jonathon Scruggs
I’d very much like to say that this Ravens team is riding high off a huge divisional win and that the Colts and Manning will buckle under the pressure of playing a hungry and nasty Baltimore, but that simply isn’t the case. The Ravens are a team struggling t find themselves, while the Colts are the hottest team in football.

I believe the Ravens are good enough and strong enough to beat anyone they face, but until they work out the kinks mentally, they will struggle to bring down the big opponents.

Ravens 9 — Colts 27

Matt Jergensen

Baltimore must get off quickly today against the undefeated Colts. If not it could be a long day.

Football has a lot to do with matchups and the Ravens over the years simply don’t seem to match up well against the Indianapolis Colts. Their defense is small but quick and they seem to close gaps quickly and keep the Ravens out of the endzone. On offense they have one of the best in Peyton Manning who has torched the secondary plenty of times. Even though on paper this Colts team isn’t the best that we’ve seen come in here they have found ways to win in close games and shoot outs this season.

Any hopes for a New England hangover are wishful thinking. Baltimore defense is hurting with injuries to key players and the Ravens offense needs to find its early season mojo. It all adds up to a Colt win as they return to their birthplace.

Ravens 17 – Colts 30

Gene Winner

Indianapolis is on a roll and our Ravens have a lot going against them. They don’t match up well against Indy’s passing attack and to compound issues the secondary has struggled all year. Obviously getting pressure on Manning is a priority. The Ravens also lost DE Terrell Suggs who is a key element in their defense.

Another bad trend is that the Ravens offense is inconsistent as evident against Cleveland in Monday’s game. The unit has yet to decide whether they are a running team or a passing team. Joe Flacco is getting frustrated as defenders are taking away the deep routes. In this game they need to re-establish their identity by pounding the ball with all three of their running backs. The run must come first and then they can take advantage of Indianapolis’s depleted secondary.

The Ravens will play better than expected and let’s hope they pull out an upset. But, at this time in the season Indy is playing better and they have the weapons to expose our secondary

Ravens 17 – Colts 21

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One Response to “Week 11: Indianapolis Colts @ Baltimore Ravens”

  1. […] around Kansas City from some about how much the project would compete with the Negro … Week 11: Indianapolis Colts @ Baltimore Ravens » Ravens Gab – 11/22/2009 Week 11: Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens Monday November […]

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