By Chris Schisler
The Baltimore Ravens take on the Indianapolis Colts on Monday Night Football this week. You have a Sunday to enjoy anxiety-free football. Ravens Flock, it’s totally acceptable to be one-day Chargers fans as they battle the Cleveland Browns. The Broncos may have recently been annoying but watching them beat the Steelers wouldn’t be too bad of an experience for any member of the purple and black community.
Let’s fast-forward mentally to the game we’re all waiting for. The Ravens play a Colts team that has looked disjointed and only has one win. The Ravens are at home and are the heavy favorites. The key here is to play up to the moment and not the level of the competition. If the Ravens attack this like they’re playing the Chiefs, the Colts don’t stand much of a chance. If the Ravens let this get ugly we could have another close call like the Lions game. So how’s this one going? Here are four predictions and a score.
Prediction 1: It’s a bad night to be Carson Wentz
Statistically, Carson Wentz hasn’t been that bad. He has 921 yards with five touchdowns and only one interception. The Ravens pass rush got heated up last week. The Colts came into the season confident about their offensive line but Quenton Nelson is on IR and getting to Wentz is an attainable goal. Wentz has been sacked 10 times this season, while his backup has been sacked once as well.
The Ravens will make the Colts one-dimensional. This will happen for two reasons. First, the Colts will have to be playing catchup with the Ravens offense, an offense that has a lot of confidence, and an MVP caliber quarterback. Secondly, the Colts will have to deal with a defense that has been impressive in the past two games for the most part. The Ravens defensive line is playing well. Justin Madubuike and Calais Campbell are in particular offering a lot of force in the trenches.
What does this mean for Carson Wentz? It means Don Martindale gets to have fun. Marlon Humphrey has the chance to take away Michael Pittman Jr. while Anthony Averett gets to cover Zach Pascal. If the Ravens cornerbacks win their matchups, Martindale can be aggressive with his play-calls. Wentz will have to be guessing all game on who is coming at him and who is dropping back into coverage.
Odafe Oweh and Justin Houston have been strong off the edge and are coming off a game where they had each had a sack. Tyus Bowser has even gotten into the action. Give me the Ravens to get three sacks from their outside linebackers and two sacks from blitzes. Let’s put the Ravens down for an interception and a forced fumble from these blitzes. The matchup has Ravens win all over it. All the Ravens have to do is give Wentz a bad evening.
2. Lamar Jackson has his second 300 yard game in a row as a passer:
The Baltimore Ravens have used their passing game to get most of their work done offensively in the last two weeks. If it wasn’t for Marquise Brown drops Jackson would have been over 300 yards against the Detroit Lions. Jackson had 239 yards passing against the Chiefs and 235 against the Raiders. The passing game is going better than the run game – it’s different for Baltimore but it’s been a nice development. Jackson can carry the offense. The Broncos had the top pass defense last week, Jackson surgically defeated them anyway.
3. The Baltimore Ravens get their record:
Last week the Ravens tied the record for the most games in a row with 100 yards rushing. The Ravens are going to break that record on Monday Night. The Ravens’ run game almost didn’t get it against the Broncos. The run blocking was inconsistent and the running backs didn’t look the part against a solid defense. Guess what? They got 100 yards anyway. Jackson may have 60-70 of the yards but the Ravens will have 120-150 yards on the ground in this contest. If Jackson is rolling as a passer, the Colts can’t sell their soul to stop the run.
4. Sammy Watkins keeps on having a solid season:
Rashod Bateman may or may not play in this game. Marquise Brown is back in good graces after his performance against the Broncos. Sammy Watkins is an under-the-radar option in the Ravens passing game you have to pay attention to. Watkins has had exactly four receptions in each game this season. He’s averaging just over 16 yards per reception. Look for Watkins to get his first touchdown of the season. Jackson and Watkins seem to have great chemistry. He’s on pace to have 68 receptions this year. If Watkins can stay healthy he’ll keep having steady results.
Now the Score: Ravens win 35-10
I have no problem having a bold prediction here. If the Ravens do what they’re supposed to, this should be the clearest and dominant win of the season so far. The Ravens just have to take care of business against a team that lost its first three games of the season (Two of those losses came in Indianapolis). The Colts have only one game with over 24 points on the board this season and it was against the Miami Dolphins. If the Ravens score 28 they should win and I’ll give them 35.
More content is coming your way Ravens Flock! Monday Night Football has the potential to be much more enjoyable the second time around this season.