Baltimore Ravens: 2-0
Indianapolis Colts: 1-1
Odds (Courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
Moneyline: Ravens -375; Colts +295
Last 5 Games In Series
Colts lead the all-time series 10-7
Gardner Minshew, QB1
With rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson still suffering from a concussion, the Colts will look to backup quarterback Gardner Minshew II to lead the offense. I asked Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh what they’ll have to deal with now that he’s been labeled the starter.
“Well, Gardner Minshew has obviously proven he can win in this league. He’s played very many times,” Harbaugh said. “We played him here where he was with [the] Jacksonville [Jaguars]. Here or there, wherever it was, and he’s a challenging quarterback. In that system, he’s really established himself with Coach [Shane] Steichen in Philadelphia, in terms of running that system well. He did it for a long stretch last year. We’ve watched a lot of him. We understand his game, and we’ll have our hands full, and we’ll have to be at our best to defend him.”
Slowing the Colts Pass Rush
The Colts defense has generated impressive pressure numbers over the first two games and have done so not from just one or two edge rushers. They have talent along their interior defensive line, their edge rushers are sound and they like to also bring nickel cornerbacks and linebackers. I asked John about the challenges of protecting Lamar Jackson against such a defense.
“It starts with the two tackles [DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart]. You have to block them, and then they work their way out to the two ends [Kwity Paye and Samson Ebukam],” Harbaugh said. “They’ll bring their linebackers – both those guys [Shaquille Leonard and Zaire Franklin]. They bring the nickel – Kenny Moore – or if he’s playing corner, they’ll bring him. The free safety [Rodney Thomas] will come plenty of times. It’s inside out, and every one of those guys is a really good rusher. So yes, it is a challenge. I think that’s the strength – one of the great strengths – of their defense right now, personnel-wise. We have to do a good job of that, and we will. We will.”
Prepping for the Weather
According to the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Ophelia is set to bring with it heavy rain, storm surges and strong winds to the East Coast this weekend. This is likely to impact the Ravens game on Sunday, but it’s unknown the extent. According to Harbaugh, the Ravens modified practice to adjust for the possible weather challenges.
““I talked to the quarterbacks, and they had a plan for that and [also quarterbacks coach] Tee [Martin], they had a plan for that,” Harbaugh said. “So, they feel like we’re ready to go with the ball handling, and that’s probably going to be the case. It kind of takes you back to the San Francisco game a few years ago, very similar type circumstance.”
The Ravens have seen numerous players go down. This week, they’ll be without seven starters, including cornerstones Ronnie Stanley, Marlon Humphrey, Tyler Linderbaum and Marcus Williams, among others. Harbaugh was asked at what point does it become a concern.
“It becomes a concern if they’re going to be season-ending injuries. Those are the ones that you really hope to avoid, [and] you pray to avoid,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve had two of those. We’ve had J.K. [Dobbins] and possibly Ar’Darius [Washington]. Now that’s not set in stone yet, but the rest of the guys are a few weeks, one week, [or] two weeks. We thought we would have a couple of guys back this week, [but] they’ll be working for next week. So, they’re right in that range. So, that’s the good news. So, I feel good about it, and I feel good about the guys that are going to get an opportunity to play this week. They’re excited.”