Colts vs. Ravens Preview: Ray of "Lite"

Jeffrey BoswellAnalyst INovember 20, 2009

CLEVELAND - NOVEMBER 16: Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates a defensive stop in the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on November 16, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.

With an assist from Bill Belichick, the Colts are 9-0 and two games ahead of the Bengals in the race for playoff home-field advantage. A loss to the Patriots was nearly in the books until the Patriots eschewed a punt on 4th-and-2, and instead went for the first down. Tom Brady's pass to Kevin Faulk was stopped short by defensive back Melvin Bullitt.

"Unlike Faulk," says Peyton Manning, "we dodged a 'Bullitt,' and in turn gave Belichick a 'Melvin.'"

"But that game certainly told us a lot about ourselves, especially the fact that the Patriots are much more adept at stopping themselves than we are of stopping them."

"Now, I don't think Baltimore's Jim Harbaugh would duplicate Belichick's decision. I'm sure Harbaugh would punt it and rely on his defense. But should he?

The Baltimore defense isn't what it used to be. In fact, if a shutout can possibly be underwhelming, then the Ravens' 16-0 blanking of the Browns was just that. This isn't the suffocating, Ray Lewis-led defense of the Ravens Super Bowl year. This is the Ray of 'Lite' defense."

It's been a frustrating year so far for the Ravens, made even more so on Monday night when Brady Quinn's cut block injured linebacker Terrell Suggs, a play that had Ray Lewis and his teammates seething.

"Son of a whore," quoth the Raven. "Son of a whore. I don't think we have to worry about Manning cheap shots. First of all, Manning is not at all known for his blocking skills. Second of all, the Colts would never put him in a position to even attempt a block . That's what's so ironic about the Quinn/Suggs situation. Obviously, Eric Mangini called a play in which he knew Quinn would meet Suggs, with the intention being that Quinn would get laid out, and therefore not meet playing time bonuses. Instead, Quinn got lucky, and laid Suggs out. It's just another example of another Mangini plan going awry."

Do my eyes deceive me, or are the Colts actually underdogs ? If a certain Washington running back named Ladell was currency, you can best believe I'd be placing my "Betts" on the Colts. Or should I? Is this that game that happens every year in which the Colts run defense is exposed for a quarter-mile of rushing yards?

Manning picks apart the Baltimore defense, throwing for 258 yards and three touchdowns. Reggie Wayne catches two of those, and the Colts overcome a lackluster defensive effort to win, 31-27 .


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