When the Indianapolis Colts (11-5) square off against the Ravens (10-6) in Baltimore on Sunday, the odds are against the visiting team walking out of M&T Bank Stadium with a playoff victory.
With a rookie quarterback playing excellent football in Andrew Luck and a defensive unit achieving more than anyone anticipated, there is a serious chance that the Colts could pull out a huge upset victory and stun the Ravens by eliminating them in the first round.
Baltimore has been ravaged by injuries—stars like Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Anquan Boldin have all missed time this season—and a lackluster finish to the season that forced a change at offensive coordinator has the team playing mediocre at best.
The Ravens may have home-field advantage and the higher seed, but Indianapolis is the better team right now; a win Sunday shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone.
Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Md.
When: Sunday, January 6 at 1 p.m. ET
Listen: WFNI 1070 AM (Indianapolis), WBAL 1090 AM (Baltimore)
Live Streaming: NFL Audio Pass (audio only live stream)
Betting Line: Ravens (-6.5), according to Covers.com
The Baltimore Ravens started the season 9-2 and looked like one of the most dangerous teams in the NFL, but the latter half of the year killed their momentum. After losing four of the team’s last five games, the train is completely off the tracks.
That couldn’t be farther from the case with the Indianapolis Colts.
Led by the elite play of rookie quarterback Andrew Luck (4,374 yards and 23 touchdowns), the Colts have rebounded from a season that saw them win just two games and lose a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Peyton Manning.
Despite all the adversity, Indianapolis is a serious contender now.
The Colts have won nine of their last 11 games to close the season, and the team is as hot on offense and defense as any team in the league right now.
With cancer survivor and inspirational head coach Chuck Pagano back on the sidelines just in time for the postseason, the dream season for Indianapolis is ready roll on for another week.
As talented as the Ravens are and as well as they have played at times this season, Baltimore’s defense will not be able to stifle Luck and the plethora of talented receivers and tight ends he has at his disposal.
Add in the emergence of a reliable rushing attack led by Vick Ballard and the Colts are ready to shock the world by beating the Ravens on their own field.
Baltimore is in serious trouble.
Prediction: Indianapolis 34, Baltimore 27
Check back for more on the National Football League as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s NFL page to get your fill of all things football.