The lowly Indianapolis Colts are back in the spotlight for the second week in a row as they face off with a team that boasts one of the top defenses in the NFL, and is hungry for a return to the playoffs
The Ravens have missed out on the playoffs the past two years after a first-round exit in 2014. But they are on the doorstep this year, with only two games against inferior opposition standing in their way.
And Baltimore shows no signs of letting up, coming off of a 27-10 victory over the Browns where the Ravens flexed their defensive muscle in turning a close game at halftime into a runaway.
About the only realistic shot the Colts have of pulling off an upset is to take advantage of an inconsistent Ravens’ offense, which is led by Joe Flacco, who has been unimpressive, to say the least. Flacco has completed 298 of 464 passes for 2,701 yards, but has only produced 14 touchdowns and has thrown 12 interceptions.
Mike Wallace leads the receiving corps with 43 receptions for 648 yards and three touchdowns, and tight end Benjamin Watson has contributed 49 catches for 421 yards and four touchdowns.
Probably the biggest offensive threat for the Ravens is running back Alex Collins, who has rushed 174 times for 844 yards, an average of 4.9 yards per carry, and has produced five touchdowns. Running mate Javorius Allen provides a solid 1-2 punch with 517 yards on 140 carries and four scores.
The defense is once again led by the ageless Terrell Suggs, who is tied for sixth in the NFL with 11 sacks. Linebacker Matthew Judon, a fifth-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, has proven to be a effective complement to Suggs with seven sacks. Safety Eric Weddle is among the league leaders with six interceptions and journeyman cornerback Brandon Carr has four.
Jacoby Brissett has proven to be an admirable backup for the Colts, but he is no substitute for Andrew Luck. Nonetheless, Brissett has completed 245 of 411 passes for 2,769 yards, 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He has struggled the past two weeks against the Bills and the Broncos, but has passed for over 250 yards in each of the teams three wins.
Tight end Jack Doyle is the Colts’ leading receiver and has 71 receptions for 611 yards and three touchdowns and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton has hauled in 48 catches for 852 and four scores. Frank Gore continues to be a threat on the ground with 220 carries for 793 yards and three touchdowns.
Indianapolis, which has lost five straight games, continues to flounder as the third-worst defense in the NFL, ahead of only the Buccaneers and the New York Giants. The Colts are currently on track for the third pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
How to watch Colts (3-10) at Ravens (8-6)
Date: Saturday, December 23rd, 2017
Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
Location: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland
TV Channels: NBC, NFLN, Amazon Prime
SB Nation Coverage: Stampede Blue and Baltimore Beatdown
Online Streaming: NBC Sports will be streaming the game via Stream2Watch and Amazon Prime Video Service, international viewers can use NFL Game Pass.
Radio: 104.5 The Team Live Online Radio Stream. Westwood One Sports will air the game across the country. Ian Eagle (play-by-play) and Boomer Esiason (analyst) will call the action and Scott Graham will host pregame and halftime shows.
Announcers: Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (color analyst) and Heather Cox (sideline reporter).
Odds: Ravens: -13.5; over/under: 41.5 (Bovada)