In what could be Ray Lewis’s final game as a member of the Baltimore Ravens, the Ravens will take on the Colts in Baltimore. Lewis announced that this season will be his last, so the team will certainly be playing inspired football to keep his career going for at least one more week.
The Colts will also be playing inspired football as Chuck Pagano is back on the sidelines for the second week in a row. He led his team to a convincing win over the Texans last week, even when the Colts had already locked up the fifth seed in the AFC. It just shows the kind of season the Colts are having under Pagano.
Andrew Luck will play a big role in today’s game. (Photo by Mark 2400 via CC BY 2.0)
The Colts come in as the fifth seed at 11-5 but have a better record than the Ravens. They only lost two of their final 11 games after a 2-3 start. Those two losses came against the Patriots and Texans, and both were on the road. The loss to Houston was avenged two weeks later in Week 17.
Their strong finish contrasts that of the Ravens who went 1-4 in their final five games, barely holding on to win the AFC North division over the Bengals.
The only question for Indy will be how Andrew Luck will perform in his first playoff game. The way he has played all year suggests that he will continue at his current pace, especially considering the aging-Ravens defense may be on their last legs, which is symbolized by Ray Lewis announcing his retirement.
The Ravens struggled to finish the season, just as their fellow division-champion Texans did. After a 9-2 start they only won one of their final five games, which came against the Giants in Week 16.
They had been winning close games all season, but the losses came around at season’s end. They had back-to-back three-point losses against the Steelers and Redskins respectively. The loss in Washington was the game in which Kirk Cousins relieved Robert Griffin III late in the fourth quarter. He threw a touchdown pass and completed a two-point conversion to send the game to overtime, in which the Redskins won on a field goal.
Joe Flacco and Ray Rice were given rest last week in the loss against the Bengals, so there will be no issue of whether they are physically ready for this game. They are trying to get to the Super Bowl after falling short last year against the Patriots.
Their season ended painfully after Billy Cundiff missed a game-tying 32-yard field goal to lose the game and end the Ravens’ season. It is a new season and one that features a new kicker in Baltimore – Justin Tucker – which helps take away some of the painful memories from last year.
The Ravens are favorites in this game on paper, but the Colts have been playing much better football as of late, and arguably all season. It will come as a surprise to many and especially those in Baltimore used to playoff victories, but Andrew Luck will lead the Colts to a playoff victory in Baltimore.
Colts 27-Ravens 21
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens Game Information
Colts-Ravens Date: Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013
Colts-Ravens Kickoff Time: 1 p.m. Eastern
Colts-Ravens TV Network: CBS
Colts-Ravens Point Spread: Ravens -6.5
Colts-Ravens Over-Under: 47
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