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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Bye Week

Prediction: BAL 14, IND 20

Update: Anthony Gonzalez took it easier in practice this week because of his concussion and he is listed as questionable but is still expected to play. Willis McGahee was limited on Wednesday but had full practices on Thursday and Friday and should be good to go.

The Ravens nice start to the year has evaporated since they cannot all be the visiting Bengals and Browns while the Colts may have just saved their season with 21 points in four minutes to steal a win in Houston. This should be a good game but one that the Colts should wrap up by the third quarter. There is no quick strike in the Ravens' arsenal.

The Colts beat the Ravens 44-20 in Baltimore during week 14 of last year.

Baltimore Ravens (2-2)
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CIN 17-10 +1 39
2 BYE - - -
3 CLE 28-10 -2 38.5
4 @PIT 20-23 +6 34.5
5 TEN 10-17 +3 35
6 @IND - +4.5 39
7 @MIA - - -
8 OAK - - -
9 @CLE - - -
10 @HOU - - -
11 @NYG - - -
12 PHI - - -
13 @CIN - - -
14 WAS - - -
15 PIT - - -
16 @DAL - - -
17 JAX - - -
BAL at IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco     140
RB Willis McGahee 80,1 10  
RB Le'Ron McClain 60,1 20  
TE Todd Heap   20  
WR Mark Clayton   30  
WR Demetrius Williams   20  
WR Derrick Mason   30  
PK Matt Stover 2 XP    
Pregame Notes: After opening with two straight wins over teams that still have not yet beaten anyone, the Ravens have dropped their last two and the offense has really slowed down once it faces even an average defense. This will be a tough stretch for the Ravens too since they have five road games over the next six weeks. The opponents are not getting any easier and the Ravens have lost the ability to win on defense alone.

Quarterback: Four games into his career and Joe Flacco is still hunting for his first 200 yard game. He still only has one passing score and threw for two more interceptions against the Titans on Sunday. He's not meant to be more than a game manager anyway and he's unable to produce a scoring drive when the defense loads against the pass.

Boller only passed for 132 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions against the Colts last year.

Running Backs: Willis McGahee was healthy enough last week to have his heaviest workload of the season. He ran 22 times for 64 yards and added one catch for two yards. He has one score this year and has only averaged 3.4 yards per carry. Le'Ron McClain has been the better fantasy back with never less than 60 yards in a game and at least one touchdown for the last three weeks. McClain power running style fits into the smash mouth style of the offense.

McGahee rushed for only 45 yards on 17 carries against the Colts last season.

Wide Receivers: In week four of the season, Derrick Mason caught eight passes for 137 yards to suggest that he may have fantasy value this year. That was unfounded thought since he went right back to mediocrity with five catches for 38 yards. That one decent game was the only time any Ravens' wideout had more than 45 yards in a game this year and still not one player here has scored a touchdown. There's only been one passing score and that went to a tight end.

Mason injured his thumb on the final series of the game but I will assume he can play this week. Someone has to catch those 35 yards worth.

Mark Clayton had a surprising 90 yards on seven catches against the Colts in 2007 while Mason only managed three receptions for 30 yards.

Tight Ends: Todd Heap not only comes off a season best game his four catches for 41 yards is actually more than the first three games combined. Still no fantasy value anywhere in this passing game.

Match Against the Defense: If there is one certainty on the planet this week it is that the Ravens are going to try to run the ball on the Colts. Maybe every play. This Achilles Heel of the Colts fits the only strength of the Ravens offense so look for nice efforts from both McGahee and McClain this week.

Flacco has been lack luster against even the worst of defenses and now faces the #1 defense against quarterbacks. Just stay away from all passing elements here.

Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 31 6 28 26 28 10
Preventing Fantasy Points    IND 1 29 2 16 31 26

Indianapolis Colts (2-2)
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CHI 13-29 -9.5 44
2 @MIN 18-15 -2 43.5
3 JAX 21-23 -5.5 42
4 BYE - - -
5 @HOU 31-27 -3 47.5
6 BAL - -4.5 39
7 @GB - - -
8 @TEN - - -
9 NE - - -
10 @PIT - - -
11 HOU - - -
12 @SD - - -
13 @CLE - - -
14 CIN - - -
15 DET - - -
16 @JAX - - -
17 TEN - - -
IND vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning     200,2
RB Joseph Addai 50 10  
TE Dallas Clark   50,1  
WR Marvin Harrison   30  
WR Reggie Wayne   60,1  
WR Anthony Gonzalez   30  
PK Adam Vinatieri 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: A furious finish and two forced fumbles had the Colts steal the win from the Texans last week and with that perhaps a saving of the season. Despite being favored in every game, the Colts came perilously close to a 1-3 mark and even with the win they are three games behind the Titans. The Colts have been looking like they are on the downslide finally after so many years of being a powerhouse but as long as Manning is there they cannot be counted out.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning is finally coming off his first game with two touchdowns. He has been rusty and out of synch this season and become the average quarterback that he has never been. He only has five touchdowns on the season and yet five interceptions as well. The quarterback famous for his pass protection still has not had a game yet without at least one sack. The same receivers are all there again this year - but the results are not.

Manning passed for 249 yards and four touchdowns in Baltimore last year.

Running Backs: While Joseph Addai is not running very strong this year - he only has a 3.6 yard average - but he has scored at least once in each of the last three games and had over 70 yards in the most recent two matchups. He is not sharing carries with anyone but is not doing much with his monopoly.

Addai only rushed for 32 yards on 13 carries but scored twice against the Ravens last season.

Wide Receivers: Reggie Wayne is having a solid year and has scored in three of the four games but he still has not had over 100 yards and hasn't performed nearly as well an many other wideouts this year. He has consistency for 80 yards or so each week and a touchdown as well, but he is not top ten in any category. Marvin Harrison has devolved into little more than a tight end in terms of production (NFL tight end, not an IND tight end) since he only had nine catches for 88 yards combined over the last three games.

Anthony Gonzalez was knocked out of the Houston game with a concussion and he's been a minimal contributor other than one week in Minnesota. I will assume he can play this week and update if needed.

Gonzalez had a career best game in Baltimore when he scored two touchdowns on six receptions for 132 yards. Wayne scored once but only had two catches for 42 yards.

Tight Ends: The #1 NFL tight end for touchdowns was Dallas Clark last year and in 2008 - nothing. No scores. He comes off his first decent game with five catches for 81 yards but Clark has not repeated his success of 2007.

Clark only turned in one catch in the Ravens game last year.

Match Against the Defense: The Colts have not been rushing well and now face the #1 defense against running backs. Expect only moderate number at best from Addai this week. No runner has logged more than 56 yards against the Ravens this year.

But Manning may have a break here. The Ravens will be without cornerbacks Samari Rolle and Fabian Washington this week and have been giving up at least one score in each game. No passer has topped 191 yards against them this year. Look for Manning to toss at least two scores here and have decent yardage. Those scores should finally favor Clark this week and also Wayne but the passing yardage will be lower this time.

Gaining Fantasy Points IND 11 29 8 9 29 21
Preventing Fantasy Points    BAL 2 1 1 15 11 24

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~ 2008 ~
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