Ravens vs. Colts

January 13, 2007|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,[sun reporter]

RAVENS KEYS TO VICTORY

1. WIN TIME OF POSSESSION

Sometimes, the Ravens' best defense is their offense. By controlling the clock -- whether it's Jamal Lewis running the ball or Steve McNair hitting the shorter routes -- the Ravens will keep the ball out of the hands of Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.

2. BE AGGRESSIVE ON DEFENSE

The Ravens can rattle the Colts by hitting Manning and jamming their receivers at the line. (See: New England Patriots' playoff game plan against Indianapolis.)

3. DON'T MAKE TURNOVERS

McNair has thrown three interceptions in his past two games, which has been uncharacteristic of him throughout the season. In Brian Billick's eight seasons as coach, the Ravens are 41-0 when they have a plus-2 or better turnover margin.

SCOUTING REPORT

(NFL RANKINGS IN PARENTHESES)

RAVENS RUN OFFENSE (NO. 25) VS. COLTS RUN DEFENSE (NO. 32)

EDGE: RAVENS

Although the Colts shut down Kansas City's Larry Johnson in the wild-card game, they gave up an average of 173.0 yards rushing -- 27.6 yards more a game than any other NFL team. Ravens running back Jamal Lewis (above) has averaged 81.3 yards in six games this season against teams with run defenses ranked in the bottom 10.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Ravens right tackle Tony Pashos

vs. Colts left end Robert Mathis

This is a matchup of Pashos' power against Mathis' quickness. Pashos outweighs Mathis by 75 pounds.

QUOTE TO NOTE

"[The Colts] tackled better against K.C., no doubt about it ...[but] we've got to go with what the stats say on the year, that they were still the 32nd-ranked team against the run. Yes, the Colts played well against [Kansas City] last week, but that's not a reason for us to say, 'Let's try to throw all over the field because they stopped the run.' "

-- Ravens offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden

RAVENS PASS OFFENSE (NO. 11) VS. COLTS PASS DEFENSE (NO. 2)

EDGE: RAVENS

In seven games against the Colts, quarterback Steve McNair has averaged 200.7 yards passing, throwing six touchdown passes and two interceptions. Indianapolis was tied for 20th in the league this regular season with 15 interceptions and tied for 30th with 25 sacks.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Ravens left tackle Jonathan Ogden (above)

vs. Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney

In 2004, Freeney got the better of Ogden, recording two sacks and two quarterback hurries. A year ago, Ogden negated Freeney, holding him to three tackles.

QUOTE TO NOTE

"As many times as we've played them, we know exactly what they're going to do and what to expect. We know we've got to watch out for No. 93 [Freeney]. We know we've got to watch out for the cover-2."

-- McNair on facing the Colts for the eighth time in his career

COLTS RUN OFFENSE (NO. 18) VS. RAVENS RUN DEFENSE (NO. 2)

EDGE: RAVENS

Rookie running back Joseph Addai has averaged 95.3 rushing yards in his past three games but has one touchdown in the past six weeks. With linebacker Ray Lewis in the starting lineup, the Ravens haven't allowed 100 yards to a running back in their past 15 home games.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Outside linebacker Adalius Thomas

vs. Colts left tackle Tarik Glenn

The Colts enjoy their most success on runs off the left edge, where Addai averages 5.7 yards.

QUOTE TO NOTE

"I think it's going to be a painful day for Joseph Addai."

Ravens linebacker Bart Scott

COLTS PASS OFFENSE (NO. 2) VS. RAVENS PASS DEFENSE (NO. 6)

EDGE: COLTS

Peyton Manning (above) has averaged 262.3 yards passing in three straight wins over the Ravens, throwing four touchdown passes and one interception. The Ravens were second in the NFL with 60 sacks, but they have not sacked Manning in the past two meetings.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle vs. Colts receiver Reggie Wayne

Despite giving up a deep touchdown pass in the regular-season finale, Rolle put together a solid second half of the season. Wayne has scored 10 touchdowns in his past 13 games.

QUOTE TO NOTE

"Our hope is that we can get him to pause momentarily, question just a little bit what he is seeing and what he's seen."

-- Coach Brian Billick on Manning

SPECIAL TEAMS

EDGE: EVEN

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Colts ranked in the NFL's bottom three in punt and kickoff coverage. But new Ravens return specialist Cory Ross has not been a factor since replacing injured B.J. Sams, averaging 2.8 yards on 13 punt returns and 21.6 yards on nine kickoff returns.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Ravens kicker Matt Stover (above left) vs. Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri (above right)

Stover led the NFL in field-goal accuracy this season (93.3 percent), and Vinatieri is considered the most clutch kicker in NFL playoff history.

QUOTE TO NOTE

"He's been huge the whole time he's been here. Obviously if it comes down to [a game-winning kick], we feel very good about it."

-- Billick on Stover

INTANGIBLES

EDGE: RAVENS

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