Scouting report By Jamison Hensley

December 09, 2007|By Jamison Hensley

Ravens run offense vs. Colts run defense

Willis McGahee is coming off his best game as a Raven, gaining 138 yards with power and elusiveness. The Ravens' offensive line dominated Monday night and will try to do the same against an improved Indianapolis run defense. Ranked 18th against the run, Indianapolis allowed its second 100-yard rusher (Fred Taylor) of the season Sunday. Before that effort, the Colts hadn't given up more than 76 yards to a starting running back in six straight games. The Ravens have to account for Bob Sanders, the Colts' physical safety, who is a force in the box. Edge: Even

Ravens pass offense vs. Colts pass defense

Kyle Boller played with poise and confidence against New England, but he needs to show more patience than he has all season against the Colts' two-deep zone defense, which has allowed the second-fewest passing yards this season. In six road games this season, Indianapolis has given up three passing touchdowns and made nine interceptions. The Colts don't have the same pass rush without end Dwight Freeney (out for the season with a foot injury), but they have given up the fewest passes of more than 20 yards (15). Wide receiver Derrick Mason (who is two catches from breaking his single-season record) should be able to find holes in the Colts' defense, but the Ravens likely will be without tight end Todd Heap (hamstring) for the seventh time in nine games. Edge: Colts

Colts run offense vs. Ravens run defense

The Ravens have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 15 games, the longest streak in the NFL. Because of Kelly Gregg and Haloti Ngata's dominance in the middle, the Ravens are the only defense to hold teams to fewer than 3 yards a carry. Since gaining 100 yards in back-to-back games, Colts running back Joseph Addai has averaged 59.7 yards per game and 3.2 yards per carry over the past four weeks. Addai didn't break a run longer than 7 yards against the Ravens in last season's playoff game. Edge: Ravens

Colts pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense

The Ravens showed they could hold their own against New England's high-powered passing attack, but they're unsure whether they'll be at full strength against the Colts. Cornerback Chris McAlister (knee) is again considered a game-time decision after playing Monday night. But Indianapolis has its injury concerns with wide receiver Marvin Harrison (knee), who will miss his seventh straight game. Without Harrison, the Colts have had to rely on wide receiver Reggie Wayne (76 receptions, eight touchdowns) and tight end Dallas Clark (49 catches, nine touchdowns). In last season's playoff game, Manning failed to get on track against the Ravens, completing 15 of 30 passes for 170 yards and two interceptions (both by Ed Reed). Edge: Even

Special teams

The Colts' return and coverage teams rank in the bottom half of the NFL. Indianapolis' punt-coverage team is last in the league, giving up 17.9 yards per return. Ravens rookie Yamon Figurs, who is averaging 13 yards per punt return, seems to have regained his confidence. The Ravens' Matt Stover and the Colts' Adam Vinatieri have made the most field goals in the NFL since 1996. Ravens punter Sam Koch has averaged fewer than 40 yards the past two weeks. Edge: Ravens

Intangibles

The Ravens have lost six straight games, including three in a row at M&T Bank Stadium, their longest home skid since 1999. They're looking to avenge last season's playoff loss to Indianapolis, but they could be emotionally spent after Monday night's last-minute loss to New England. Indianapolis has won the past four meetings with the Ravens, holding them to one touchdown in its past two trips to Baltimore. The Colts, who have a one-game lead on the Pittsburgh Steelers for the No. 2 playoff seed in the AFC, are trying to keep on pace for a first-round bye. Edge: Colts

Prediction

The Ravens showed some life when they nearly knocked off the Patriots. But the Ravens couldn't beat the Colts last season when they were healthier and had a trip to the AFC championship game on the line. So why should this meeting be any different? Colts, 27-17

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