Can the Baltimore Ravens' Secondary Slow Down Peyton Manning?

Kyle DelgadoContributor IJanuary 11, 2010

BALTIMORE - NOVEMBER 22:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts audibles during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 22, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Colts defeated the Ravens 17-15. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

First off, let me say congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens for a great win over the New England Patriots. I was there and the energy was simply amazing.

But in the words of Jay-Z, on to the next one.

Unfortunately, the next one is No. 18. Throughout his career, Manning has really burned the Ravens, and with no win against Indy in recent memory, most fans are ready to be let down.

Going on the road once again as the underdog, the sexy pick would be the Colts. I don't doubt that every analyst on ESPN and NFL Network is going to pick them.

And you know what? I don't blame them. Manning typically brings his "A" game against Ray Lewis and the Ravens.

I can already see it on every sports channel: "Can Joe Flacco keep up with Peyton Manning and the high powered Colts offense?"

Come on, let's face it: Manning is by far the better quarterback with by far better weapons at his disposal.

But there are a few factors that work in the Ravens favor.

Typically, Manning does not have great success in the playoffs, with the exception of the 2006 Super Bowl run, where the Colts did beat the Ravens on the way.

But this time, the roles are reversed—the Ravens are the hot wild card team going on the road against a top seeded Colts team.

Also, the Colts haven't played a meaningful game in quite some time. It is not far fetched to see the Colts coming out rusty.

And if the Ravens play the way they played last week, there could be the same results. The Ravens pounced on the Patriots from the gate and if the Colts stutter in the opening drives, that could be good news for the Ravens.

Another factor, and what I think is the key to the game, is the play of the Ravens secondary. The unit is playing by far its best football of the year. Even going back to Week 14, the unit has stepped up big time and everyone is making plays.

With the loss of two starting corners, there has been no drop off. It's almost like the backups are upgrades from the early season starters. There seemed to be no weaknesses in Baltimore's defensive backfield against one of the top passing attacks in the Patriots.

If they continue the outstanding play, I think they are going to win the game for us.

As for a prediction, I'm going to go out on a limb and say the Ravens steal a win in Indy, 24-17. I think Domonique Foxworth is the player of the game, limiting Reggie Wayne throughout the game and notching two interceptions.

I'm really going out on a limb here, people.