Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens: Prediction, preview, pick to win

By The Sports Xchange
Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins (34) runs for the sidelines in the fourth quarter of the Pittsburgh Steelers 39-38 win on December 10 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins (34) runs for the sidelines in the fourth quarter of the Pittsburgh Steelers 39-38 win on December 10 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo




KICKOFF: Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET, M&T Bank Stadium. TV: NFLN, Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Jamie Erdahl (field reporter).

SERIES HISTORY: 12th regular-season meeting. Colts lead series, 8-3. The Ravens have won two of their past three games against Indianapolis. The Colts lead the postseason series, 2-1. In the last matchup in 2014, Indianapolis beat Baltimore 20-13 at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts have not won in Baltimore since 2009.

RELATED Fantasy Football: Week 16 tight end rankings

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Ravens have developed a workmanlike attitude to earn a spot in the postseason for the first time since 2014. This means their games might be short on style, but effective in getting results.

The Colts are ranked 30th in defense. As a result, Baltimore will attack them in multiple ways. Quarterback Joe Flacco has been effective throwing the ball downfield over the past three games and will try to exploit Indianapolis' secondary.


The Ravens will also rotate running backs Alex Collins and Javorius "Buck" Allen to wear down the Colts' defensive line.

RELATED Fantasy Football: Week 16 running back rankings

The Ravens' defense leads the league with a plus-17 turnover ratio. This big-play ability has been big for their playoff aspirations. Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett has been sacked a league-high 49 times. The Ravens will look to keep him off-balance with an aggressive pass rush.

The Colts will lean on Frank Gore to control the ball. They need to finish drives with touchdowns and not settle for field goals. In red-zone situations, tight end Jack Doyle gives them a good chance.

But Brissett will need time to find T.Y. Hilton and Doyle. It will be tough against one of the better defenses in the NFL.

RELATED Fantasy Football: Week 16 quarterback rankings

Defensively, Indianapolis has to get to Flacco and not let him get comfortable in the pocket.


--Colts LT Anthony Castonzo vs. Ravens LB Terrell Suggs. Suggs has 11 of the Ravens' 38 sacks and will attack Castonzo throughout the game. Castonzo has been one of the Colts' few bright spots and could be effective with slowing down the 35-year-old linebacker. The Ravens, though, have multiple players who can get to the quarterback, including Matthew Judon (seven sacks). So Baltimore can attack the Colts' offensive line in multiple ways.


--Colts WR T.Y. Hilton vs. Ravens' pass defense. Hilton has played in two career games (counting playoffs) vs. Baltimore. But he has had some success against the Ravens' secondary -- 17 catches for 156 yards. Baltimore comes into Saturday's game with the NFL's 10th-ranked pass defense, allowing 214.6 yards per game.



--Out: T/G Denzelle Good (knee), CB Rashaan Melvin (hand), WR Donte Moncrief (ankle), TE Jason Vander Laan (concussion), TE Brandon Williams (concussion)


--Doubtful: WR Jeremy Maclin (knee)

--Questionable: CB Maurice Canady (knee), DT Carl Davis (shoulder), LB/DB Anthony Levine (thigh), T Ronnie Stanley (illness)

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Colts OLB Jabaal Sheard. The former New England linebacker has played well during his first season with the Colts. He leads Indianapolis with 5.5 sacks and is fourth on the team with 46 tackles (32 solo). Sheard also has seven tackles for loss, a pass breakup and two forced fumbles. In nine career games vs. Baltimore, he has 4.5 sacks and five quarterback hurries.

FAST FACTS: Colts QB Jacoby Brissett rushed for a TD in Week 15. He is one of five QBs with more than 2,500 passing yards (2,769) and at least four rushing TDs. He has seven TD passes in past five road games. ... RB Frank Gore is one of two players (Emmitt Smith) with 12 consecutive seasons with more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage. He ranks eighth all-time with 17,501 yards from scrimmage -- the seven others are enshrined in the Hall of Fame. ... WR T.Y. Hilton had nine catches for 90 yards last time out against the Ravens. In his last three road games, he has 246 yards and three TDs. Since entering league in 2012, he has 78 catches of at least 25 yards, most in the NFL. ... TE Jack Doyle has scored in three of the last five road games. He ranks second among TEs with 71 catches. ... S Matthias Farley has two straight games with at least nine tackles. He is one of three AFC safeties (Reshad Jones and Jordan Poyer) with at least 85 tackles and two INTs. ... Ravens QB Joe Flacco needs four TD passes to become the first QB in Ravens history with 200 TD passes. ... RB Alex Collins has five rushing TDs in his last five games. In the last three at home, he has 298 yards from scrimmage and three rushing TDs. ... WR Mike Wallace has 14 catches for 259 yards and two TDs in two career games against the Colts. ... S Eric Weddle is tied for second in the league with six INTs. He has an INT in four of the past six games. ... LB C.J. Mosley had a forced fumble and three passes defended last week. He had 14 tackles and an INT last time he played the Colts. He is one of two players (Bobby Wagner) with at least 120 tackles (121) and two INTs (2). ... LB Matthew Judon had a sack and three tackles for loss last week. He is one of three AFC LBs (Von Miller and Justin Houston) with at least 15 tackles for loss and seven sacks.


PREDICTION: The Ravens can control the game grinding out yards on the ground, and Joe Flacco should have no trouble against the Colts, who are playing for draft position. The Ravens' defense will make sure Jacoby Brissett has a very uncomfortable day.

OUR PICK: Ravens, 30-13.

--Dennis Rudner

Latest Headlines