Every Tuesday we’ll take a closer look at the Ravens’ next opponent. This weekend it’s the Indianapolis Colts:
Record: 0-12, fourth in AFC South
Losses: @ Houston, vs, Cleveland, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Kansas City, @ Cincinnati, @ New Orleans, @ Tennessee, vs. Atlanta, vs. Jacksonville, vs. Carolina, @ New England
Offense: 29th in NFL, 14th in AFC
Defense: 28th in NFL, 15th in AFC
Synopsis thus far: It’s just so hard to comprehend. The Colts at 0-12? Winless? Sans a victory? When news broke that quarterback Peyton Manning was going to miss time with a neck injury, it was assumed the Colts would take a step backward, but I don’t think anybody imagined they’d fall right off the cliff. Without Manning, this team is lost. Offensively things are awful. All of those weapons at wideout mean nothing if they don’t have a quarterback to throw them the ball and the running game, which has always been mediocre, can no longer hide behind Manning’s greatness. The real mystery, though, is on defense. Manning didn’t play defense for them, did he? He wasn’t lined up in the secondary, no, but in a way Manning’s absence hurts the defense, too. Think of all of the time Manning spent on the field, running the offense, allowing the defense time to rest and adjust. Now, there’s no rest for the weary. It’s hard to believe this franchise could go 0-16, but each week it’s looking more like the only certainty in Indianapolis.
Where they’re strong: Let’s see, their uniforms? I’ve always liked the blue and white together. In all honesty, this is one of the lowest points in franchise history, but I guess I’ve got to put something here. While the defense is horrendous, give some credit to middle linebacker Pat Angerer. In just his second season, Angerer is shining at middle linebacker. He’s third in the NFL in tackles with 112, and four times has finished with double digit tackles this season. Angerer had an astounding 21 tackles in the Colts’ loss to Pittsburgh in Week 3, and appears to have a bright future ahead of him in this unit.
Where they’re weak: The answers here are plentiful, but the run defense is just pitiful. Despite the emergence of the aforementioned Angerer, the Colts are 30th in the league against the run, allowing 144.2 yards on the ground per game. Opponents have rushed for 17 touchdowns and broken off seven runs of at least 20 yards. That doesn’t bode well for the matchup this weekend, when the Colts will have to stop Ray Rice, who is coming off a career-high 204 yards against the Browns.
Overall advantage: The word a week ago was the Ravens played down to their opponents and struggled to beat the teams they should. Baltimore exorcised some of its demons with last week’s win in Cleveland, but Ravens fans should hope the team doesn’t play down to the level of the 0-12 Colts. This one should be an easy win, particularly at home, for the Ravens. No win is a gimme in this league, but this is about as close as it gets.