All the Ravens have to do is win their final two games and they will make the playoffs at 10-6. Both of these games are at home, and against weak opponents. The 3-11 Colts are up first for Baltimore. Three predictions for the game:
Joe Flacco will throw for 300+ yards and three touchdowns
The Ravens offense has seemingly come alive since the bye week. While nothing special still, they have been able to score more points and sustain drives longer. Most importantly, they have limited the turnovers. Joe Flacco has played much better in recent games, and the offense has followed him.
The Colts have the 30th ranked passing defense, allowing 257.3 yards per game. Baltimore has the 29th ranked passing offense, averaging 186.9 yards per game, but have been much improved in recent weeks. Indianapolis is an injured team, who probably just wants to finish the season at this point. Joe Flacco could take advantage of this by picking apart their secondary. He has been in tune with Mike Wallace and Benjamin Watson lately, so I expect both of them to have big games again. I predict Flacco will toss three touchdowns and surpass 300 yards through the air for the first time this season. I don’t think this will be because of a pass heavy game-plan, but rather the result of big plays gaining yards. A Mike Wallace deep ball or two seems about right.
Buck Allen will rush for 100 yards
Alex Collins seemed to be banged up after the Browns game last Sunday, so I expect Buck Allen will see more carries than him this week. The Ravens will want Collins as healthy as possible for the playoffs, so his workload should be reduced, giving Allen an opportunity to shine.
Buck was given more carries last week, and had an impressive game rushing for 70 yards on 13 attempts. Alex Collins, in comparison, had just 19 yards on 12 carries. Allen has been a solid number two back this year. I predict the Ravens will run the ball heavily after gaining a comfortable lead, which will result in Buck Allen eclipsing 100 yards for the day.
Defense will post fourth shutout
The Ravens defense leads the entire NFL in takeaways. They are one of the best in the league for sure, and have forced three shutouts this season. I predict they will get their fourth against Indianapolis. The Colts offense relies heavily on running back Frank Gore. Baltimore’s run defense has improved greatly since the beginning of the season. Gore is a physical type of back and that plays into the Ravens strengths. They rarely get out muscled up front on the defensive line, so I predict Gore will be shut down.
This will force Jacoby Brissett to pass the ball more, which will result in multiple sacks and turnovers for Baltimore’s opportunistic defense. They have no excuse not to crush this team, and I expect nothing less from them. The Ravens are motivated, and are making a serious push for the playoffs. This is a team built for this kind of football, in late December.