They’ll face off at M&T Bank Stadium in the first round of the AFC playoffs next weekend. There, Indy will get exposed for the final time.
Prior to its 28-16 victory over the Houston Texans, Indianapolis hadn’t beaten a playoff-caliber team since Week 5. It was embarrassed 41-21 by the Chicago Bears and 59-24 by the New England Patriots. Houston also overwhelmed the Colts two weeks ago 29-17.
Indy deserves credit for taking care of business against teams that it was supposed to beat, but it still failed to impress. It only defeated the Tennessee Titans twice, Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs by one score—squads the Colts as a supposed Super Bowl contender should’ve imposed their will on.
Their struggle to separate shouldn’t be a surprise, though. For crying out loud, despite finishing at 11-5, Indianapolis’ defense allows an average of 1.9 more points than its offense scores. Both its offense and defense are ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in scoring.
Baltimore, on the other hand, boasts the 10th-ranked scoring offense and 12th-ranked defense. It’s quite obvious the Ravens are the more talented football team.
Indy has such a one-dimensional offense, averaging just 104.4 yards per game on the ground, 22nd in the league, that it’s only potential edge over the Ravens would be momentum entering the contest. But that doesn’t apply, even though the Colts just beat the Texans.
They simply sneaked away with the W thanks to huge plays. Houston outgained them on the afternoon 352 yards to 265. In Baltimore’s last game it actually tried to win, however, it absolutely dominated the New York Giants winning by the score of 33-14 and racking up 533 net yards compared to just 186 by the G-Men.
And if fans are banking on the inspiration of Chuck Pagano to fuel the Colts to victory over the Ravens, the Black & Purple have its own source of motivation.
Ray Lewis could be back. And you know could for Lewis is as good as a sure thing.
Indianapolis has had a phenomenal season. It defied the odds by making the postseason after being the worst team in the NFL just one year ago.
But the Colts won’t be capable of making a playoff run until next season.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.