Colts vs. Ravens: Keys to Andrew Luck Earning His First Playoff Win

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Colts vs. Ravens: Keys to Andrew Luck Earning His First Playoff Win
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

By all accounts, Andrew Luck is having a great rookie season. The fact that he's taken the Colts to the playoffs just one year into his career is outstanding.

A win over the Baltimore Ravens in their AFC wild-card matchup and he will have put together a season for the ages.

The Colts finished the season 11-5—a nine-game improvement from last season's tumultuous team. However, they still enter the game in Baltimore as a decided underdog.

Even so, Luck and the rest of these young Colts have what it takes to spring an upset and advance to the second round.

Here's how they can do it.

 

Continue to Take Care of the Ball

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As great as Luck has played this season, he hasn't always taken care of the ball.

He's asked to do a lot in the Colts offense; he's thrown the ball 627 times this season. Anytime you have that many attempts, you're bound to throw some interceptions along the way. Luck has 18 interceptions on the season.

However, none of those interceptions have come in the final three weeks of the season, which is an indicator he's improving in that area.

Unlike Robert Griffin III or even Russell Wilson, Luck won't be getting a huge boost from his running game. The Colts throw to run. That means Luck will have to take some risks to beat this Ravens defense.

When he does, he needs to make sure he picks his spot and doesn't award the dangerous Ravens offense extra opportunities.

 

Find T.Y. Hilton in Space

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T.Y. Hilton is a name that Colts fans will be seeing for years to come.

He has the perfect blend of quickness, agility and hands in the slot and is absolutely lethal when he gets the ball in space.

Hilton is by far the team's biggest playmaker and will need to find a way to break one loose if the Colts are to spring the upset. Whether it means utilizing screens to force the issue, or targeting him on the deep ball, Hilton will have to play a role in the offense.

At 17.2 yards per reception, the Ravens will be forced to key on him every play. If they lose him, Luck must find him.

 

Rely on Reggie Wayne

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The most dangerous thing that Luck could do is try to play outside of himself and do too much.

For a young guy in his first playoff game it might be tempting to try to win the game on every play. Fortunately for Luck, he has a steady receiver with plenty of playoff experience that will not only offer leadership, but a steady target.

Wayne may be a 12-year veteran, but he's still playing at an elite level. He's racked up over 100 catches this season and went over 1,000 yards.

What's more important is that Wayne has played 17 playoff games in his career. He has 83 receptions for 1,128 yards and nine touchdowns in those games.

As Luck's only proven playoff commodity, he'll need to lean heavily on the veteran to remain the reliable option that he was throughout the regular season.

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