Thanks to Brad who blogs the Colts over at Stampede Blue. We exchanged questions about Sunday night's game between the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts. This game will evoke the usual emotions of seeing the horsehoe on the helmet as a visiting team. However, as many Indy fans say and I agree, "get over it!" The Ravens are Baltimore's team and only the old and bitter still haven't came to grips with the business of professional football.
Anyway, let's get onto the Q&A and feel free to click on the link highlighted above to Brad's site to see my answers to his questions.
Q: After coming so close to upsetting the Patriots on Monday night, how concerned do you think the Colts are about facing off against a team as tough yet unstable as the Ravens?
A: I'm always concerned when playing the Ravens in Baltimore. That playoff game last year was like the Colts playing a game in the fourth or fifth ring of Hell! The Ravens have always played on the edge, which is one of the reason the Colts have had such recent success against them. The Colts are almost always calm, collected, and resolved when they play on the road. The Ravens are frenetic and crazy. It's amazing how different, personality-wise, these two teams are.
Q: What should the Ravens focus on if they want to beat the Colts?
A: The 230 pound quarterback with the laser rocket arm that you see in just about every commercial made in 2007. That, and establishing a running game. If you have a running game against this banged up Colts defense, you can keep up with Manning. However, if the Ravens get behind by two scores, it will not be pretty for Boller. Dwight Freeney is out for the season, a fact that must have Baltimore's o-line doing back flips. But, the pressure on the QB will still be there. Having a running game relieves that pressure.
Q: How has the loss of Dwight Freeney for the season, as well as Marvin Harrison and Tony Ugoh to injury affected the offensive and defensive gameplans?
A: The only gameplan change I've seen in regards to injury is that they are moving Reggie Wayne around more. He's split out right (Marvin's usual spot), split left, in the slot, etc. Other than that, there hasn't been much change. The d-line rotates more guys, and with DT Raheem Brock out for a few weeks with a rib injury, they'll rotate even more. They might move DE Robert Mathis around a bit, but other than that I don't think there's much change.
Q: What part of the Ravens do you think poses the biggest threat to the Colts?
A: Well, their defense for one. Though not as dominant as in years past, it's still pretty damn good. Their special teams also concern me because the Colts have been shaky (at best) covering kicks and punts.
Q: Which Colt players have the best, most outgoing personalities on the team?
A: LOL. Good question. Not many. There are lots of guys comfortable in front of cameras (like Manning) but very few showboats. CBs Kelvin Hayden and Marlin Jackson have showboated a bit, but in interviews they seem like pretty down-to-earth guys. Reggie Wayne is outgoing, but rather tame by, say, Ray Lewis standards. In short, I'd probably have to say Manning is the most outgoing, which isn't saying much.
Bonus Question: Pick the score and why.
A: Colts 22-Ravens 17. I just think the Colts defense will feast on Kyle Boller, and Peyton Manning has shown that no matter what the Ravens throw at him, he can out-think and out-execute it. Key to the game is getting TEs Dallas Clark and Ben Utecht involved, and Utecht not fumbling the damn football! Pressure on Boller is also key. The colts defense can force him into some turnovers, and turnovers are key against the Ravens. I think it will be close and hard fought, but the Indy Colts will prevail.