Ravens-Colts: The three keys

The Colts bring their 0-12 record to town today, looking to earn their first victory of the season over a Ravens team which has really struggled of late against the guys with horseshoes on their helmets.

Indianapolis has won its last eight games against the Ravens, but it would take a shocker for them to make it nine in a row today.

Here are three keys to the game from the Ravens’ perspective:

Feed Mr. Rice

Last week, the Ravens faced the league’s fourth-worst run defense. How’d they attack Cleveland? They kept the ball on the ground and put up 290 rushing yards on the afternoon. This week, the Ravens face the league’s third-worst run defense. The Colts have allowed a whopping 144 rushing yards per game this season and have surrendered 17 rushing touchdowns on the season, tied for the most in the NFL. How should offensive coordinator Cam Cameron attack Indianapolis? Keep the ball on the ground and wear down a soft Colts front-seven.

Keep those drives a-movin’

On the season, the Colts have allowed opponents to convert 48.2 percent of their third downs, which is the worst total in the NFL. Think about that for a second: nearly half of all third downs Indy’s defense has faced this season have been converted by the opposing team. Just for the sake of comparison, the Ravens’ defense has allowed just a 30 percent third down conversion rate. The longer the Ravens hold the ball today, the less chance the winless Colts can pile up points and earn the upset. Convert third downs, win the game.

Go get him, boys

Because of how much the Colts have struggled this season, lot of people forget about the talent they still have on the offensive side of the ball. Five-time Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne is still there. Two-time Pro Bowl tight end Dallas Clark is still there, although he’s been limited by injuries. Wideout Pierre Garcon is still there, and is coming off a 150-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Patriots last week. Yes, the Colts have had their issues offensively without Peyton Manning, but they’re still very capable of putting up points if their new QB - Dan Orlovsky - has a nice day. The Ravens need to pin their ears back, get after Orlovsky and crush any momentum he might be riding after a 338-yard passing performance last week against New England.

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