Ravens At Colts

Today, 1 P.m., Rca Dome, Indianapolis, Ch. 13

October 13, 2002|By Jamison Hensley

SCOUTING REPORT

Ravens run offense vs. Colts run defense -- RAVENS

The Ravens need to dominate this area of the game in order to win. Jamal Lewis made his biggest impact since off-season knee surgery when he pounded out 187 yards rushing last week, and his power running is the key to controlling time of possession. With the focus on grinding out yards, the Ravens will spell Lewis with rookie Chester Taylor occasionally. Center Mike Flynn is expected to sit out with an ankle injury, but backup Casey Rabach isn't much of a drop-off. The Colts haven't stopped anyone's running game. The NFL's third-worst run defense, Indianapolis has allowed 145 yards rushing per game - 35 yards above the league average - and has given up 4.8 yards per carry.

Key stat: 32-11. Ravens' record when Jonathan Ogden and Edwin Mulitalo make up the left side of their offensive line.

Ravens pass offense vs. Colts pass defense -- EVEN

Chris Redman has posted quarterback ratings over 100 in consecutive games. The first-year starter is gaining more zip on his passes as his confidence in the system grows. Brandon Stokley, the Ravens' third-leading receiver, is a game-time decision with an ankle injury and most likely would be replaced by rookie Ron Johnson. That means tight end Todd Heap would become Redman's security blanket again. The Ravens need to maintain balance to keep a potentially dangerous Colts pass rush in check. The Colts' cover-two defense - a staple of coach Tony Dungy - is tough to come back against since the scheme doesn't allow many big plays.

Key stat: 57. Pass attempts by Redman since his last interception.

Colts run offense vs. Ravens run defense -- COLTS

The Ravens probably will be without linebacker Ray Lewis and may have trouble containing Colts running back Edgerrin James' breaks to the outside. Veteran Bernardo Harris will fill in for Lewis in running situations and has a reputation of being a solid run stopper. James, 11 months removed from reconstructive knee surgery, can't make the same staggering cutbacks yet and is averaging a career-low 3.7 yards per carry. But James is still a tremendous weapon - especially on artificial turf - and ranks sixth in the AFC in rushing.

Key stat: 1. 100-yard rushers allowed by the Ravens in their past 55 games.

Colts pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense -- COLTS

The Ravens are concerned about quarterback Peyton Manning beating their rookie safeties deep on play-action fakes and James exploiting their defense on screen passes. When Ray Lewis is in the lineup, teams don't even attempt to run screen passes because Lewis is too quick sideline to sideline. But the Ravens could be vulnerable there today. Last year, Manning lit up a more experienced Ravens secondary for 310 yards passing. Look for the Ravens to double Colts receiver Marvin Harrison and take the other receiver, Qadry Ismail, out of the game with physical, one-on-one play.

Key stat: 20. 30-point games produced by Manning in 68 career games, though none this season.

Special teams -- COLTS

Under former Ravens special teams coach Russ Purnell, the Colts lead the league in covering kickoffs and punts. Indianapolis punter Hunter Smith tops the AFC in net average. The Colts have allowed only two field goals on five attempts, the best rate in the league. Ravens punt returner Chris McAlister is averaging 9.3 yards per runback, which is just a yard off the pace of Houston's Jermaine Lewis. The Ravens are making progress on their coverage teams and silenced Cleveland's dangerous returners last week. Both teams allowed an onside kick by opponents last Sunday.

Key stat: 3.0 yards. League-low punt return average against the Colts' coverage team.

Intangibles -- RAVENS

The Ravens will play before another apathetic crowd. The Colts had trouble selling out the NFL's smallest stadium this week, and there have been rumors of the team piping in crowd noise to make the dome louder. The pressure is on Indianapolis. The Ravens could be without four starters and feel like they have nothing to lose.

Prediction -- COLTS

The Ravens have thrived on beating the odds the past two weeks, but losing Ray Lewis creates an irreplaceable void. It's like trying to drive a car without an engine. The Ravens' two-game winning streak ends in a 27-20 loss to the Colts.

BREAK DOWN

Records

Ravens 2-2 Colts 3-1

Line

Colts by 7

Vs. spread

Ravens 2-2 Colts 1-3

Series

Ravens lead 2-1

Last meeting

Ravens won, 39-27, on Dec. 2, 2001, in Baltimore.

NFL rankings

Ravens offense: Rush (18), pass (27), overall (28).

Ravens defense: Rush (10), pass (26), overall (21).

Colts offense: Rush (17), pass (11), overall (12).

Colts defense: Rush (29), pass (4), overall (12).

Quick hits

Colts' Tony Dungy (33-19, .635) and Ravens' Brian Billick (32-20, .615) are NFL's third- and fourth-winningest coaches since 1999.

Ravens RB Jamal Lewis recorded NFL's longest run this season, 75 yards, last week. He leads team in receptions with 18.

Injuries

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