Colts vs Ravens: Ray Rice Will Carry Baltimore to Victory in Wild Card Matchup

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2013

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 25:  Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens watches play from the sidelines during a 16-13 win over the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on November 25, 2012 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Ray Rice is going to run wild when the Baltimore Ravens host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday afternoon in the second and final AFC Wild Card Game.

There's not a whole lot that Indianapolis can do about it, either.

If the Colts had something that resembled an average run defense, I'd give them a fighter's chance to beat Baltimore

But they don't.

Per ESPN, Indianapolis ranks 29th out of 32 teams in rushing yardage allowed per game with 137.5 per game, or 5.1 yards per carry.

The Colts have allowed 14 rushing touchdowns (one less than Baltimore), but they have forced only four fumbles—and have recovered only one of those.

Those aren't good numbers.

But lest we forget, Ray Rice's entire game isn't just on the ground, as Fox Sports' Ben Maller points out:

Ray Rice and Marshall Faulk (1998-2001) are ONLY players in NFL history to have at least 1000 rush yards, 60 catches in 4 straight seasons.

— Ben Maller (@benmaller) December 30, 2012

With Rice's ability to impact the game in so many different ways, there's little that Indianapolis can do to stop him.

If the Colts put eight or nine guys in the box to stop Rice, Joe Flacco will pick apart the Colts' 21st-ranked pass defense. Contrary to what he believes, Flacco is not an elite quarterback—but hitting Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin when they are in single coverage is something he can do all day long.

If the Colts don't put eight or nine guys in the box to stop Rice, he's going to continue to pick up huge chunks of yardage, move the chains and, most damning of all, eat up the clock.

Besides, let's be honest.

This is possibly Ray Lewis' last home game, and, as NFL.com's Jeff Darlington pointed out, Rice and Lewis are pretty close:

Ray Rice tried to act like Ray Lewis' retirement won't impact him Sunday. Ten seconds later, he was on verge of tears: on.nfl.com/136E9Yb

— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) January 3, 2013

Rice—just like the other 52 members of the Ravens roster, the coaching staff, the ushers, the parking attendants and fans at M&T Bank Stadium—is going to be fired up and intent on sending Lewis out on a high note.

While Rice can't guarantee Lewis another home game in his storied career, he's going to ensure Sunday afternoon is all about Ray.

Both of them.