Scouting Report

the pick ravens 20-17

October 12, 2008|By JAMISON HENSLEY

Ravens run offense vs. Colts run defense: This is the area where the Ravens need to dominate if they want to upset the Colts. Indianapolis ranks last in the NFL in run defense, giving up an average of 188.5 yards on the ground. The Colts have yet to hold a starting running back to fewer than 93 yards. With Willis McGahee and Le'Ron McClain, the Ravens rank fourth in rushing yards per game (153.8) but are tied for 20th in yards per carry (3.8). Edge: RAVENS

Ravens pass offense vs. Colts pass defense: Ravens LT Jared Gaither, who is questionable with a knee injury, will have a tough assignment against Dwight Freeney, the Colts' leader in sacks (three) and quarterback pressures (eight). The Ravens' other tackle, Adam Terry (knee), is doubtful and is expected to be replaced by Willie Anderson. If rookie QB Joe Flacco gets time, he should have an efficient day. With struggling CB Marlin Jackson, the Colts have allowed quarterbacks to complete 67.3 percent of their throws the past two games. The Ravens' top three wide receivers (Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams) have averaged 10.8 yards per catch and have scored no touchdowns. Edge: EVEN

Colts run offense vs. Ravens run defense: Indianapolis RB Joseph Addai has struggled against the Ravens in two meetings, averaging 2.3 yards per carry and 35.5 yards per game. But he has scored three touchdowns (two rushing and one receiving) against them. This season, Addai ranks 30th in the NFL in rushing yards per game (53.3). The top-ranked run defense, the Ravens haven't given up more than 56 yards to a running back this season. Teams are starting to give up on the run against the Ravens, running only 90 times against them (second fewest in the league). Edge: RAVENS

Colts pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense: Peyton Manning has been one of the few quarterbacks to have success against the Ravens, averaging 283 passing yards and throwing 13 touchdowns in six meetings. But he has been mediocre this season, throwing as many touchdowns (five) as interceptions. His favorite target is WR Reggie Wayne, who leads the team in catches (25), yards per catch (14) and receiving touchdowns (three). The Ravens rank first in pass defense, but their secondary won't be at full strength. Injuries have sidelined two cornerbacks (Samari Rolle and Fabian Washington) and one safety (Dawan Landry). Frank Walker, the Ravens' fourth cornerback, is expected to make his first start for the team. Edge: COLTS

Special teams: Both kickers have been off their games. The Ravens' Matt Stover is 4-for-7 on field-goal attempts, and the Colts' Adam Vinatieri is 4-for-6. Both punters - the Ravens' Sam Koch and Indianapolis' Hunter Smith - average 46.1 yards. And both teams have gotten little out of their return games. Edge: EVEN

Intangibles: This Colts team hasn't responded to what could be coach Tony Dungy's last season. If not for a couple of late comebacks, Indianapolis could be 0-4. The Colts are 0-2 in their new home, Lucas Oil Stadium. New stadiums have been kind to the Ravens, who became the first visiting team to win at Washington's FedEx Field, Tennessee's Adelphia Coliseum, Pittsburgh's Heinz Field and Denver's Invesco Field. Despite losing two straight games, the Ravens have confidence because they are six points away from being undefeated. Edge: RAVENS

Prediction: If we've learned anything about Cam Cameron's offense, it's that he loves running the ball. The Ravens will physically pound the Colts, keeping the ball in the hands of their Mac backs - McGahee and McClain - and away from Manning. A Baltimore victory in Indianapolis is long overdue.

RAVENS, 20-17

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