WildCard Sunday Preview: Indianapolis Colts (11-5) vs Baltimore Ravens (10-6)

To say that both of these teams will be playing with emotion is an understatement. In fact, this may be dubbed as the “Emotion Bowl”. With the Colts’ coach Chuck Pagano back in action and the Ravens’ legendary Ray Lewis playing his last game in Baltimore, it’s all on the line on both sides. Rookie Andrew Luck wants to prove himself as the new face of the Colts franchise and get his team to a Super Bowl. Ray Lewis wants to hoist the Lombardi one last time. There is so much at stake for both teams. But will their emotions be their downfall?

The Ravens are 5-1 with Ray Lewis; they’re 5-5 without. He is their leader, their beating heart. And he returns today with a LOT of work to do. Joe Flacco has struggled. The defense has struggled. So can the Return of Ray bring Flacco back from his late-season stumbles? Or is Lewis still not healthy enough to play like he is still capable of?

The Colts have their leader back…the leader who is the former Ravens defensive coordinator. He knows the strengths and weaknesses. Did he spill the defensive secrets to Andrew Luck and his offensive core? Let’s hope he did, because the Colts’ banged up offense needs a slight edge. And without former interim head coach Bruce Arians on the field (who has been hospitalized after fighting the flu all week), can Luck deal with having yet another voice in his head?

There are so many questions that are going to be answered today. And the one that Colts Country wants answered is a win is that proves this franchise is still valid, still a force of contention. But too much emotion can kill this team as well, as it has in the past. Cool heads must prevail. Luck needs to make smart decisions and get rid of the ball when he’s under pressure, even if that means tossing it to ghosts. The O-line needs to protect Luck and give him the time to make smart plays. And the defense needs to play as strong, nay stronger, than they have been all season. Mathis and Freeney need to wipe Flacco out, tire him out and pressure him into making snap decisions. Bethea needs to get his feet under himself and put pressure on his man. Penalties need to be kept to a minimum by keeping emotions under control and playing clean. And we will certainly need McAfee to give us some good boots from the “Boomstick”. Everyone has to be at 110% today. Even the guy who only gets 1 play. So much is riding on this.

Carter, Delone RB – QUESTIONABLE (ankle)
Freeman, Jerrell ILB – PROBABLE (thumb)
Freeney, Dwight OLB – PROBABLE (not injury-related)
Heard, Kellen DT – PROBABLE (illness)
Johnson, Antonio NT – QUESTIONABLE (ankle)
Justice, Winston T – QUESTIONABLE (shoulder)
Luck, Andrew QB – PROBABLE (knee)
Mathis, Robert OLB – PROBABLE (not injury-related)
Redding, Cory DE – PROBABLE (quad)
Reitz, Joe G – OUT (concussion)
Satele, Samson C – PROBABLE (ankle)
Shipley, A.Q. C – QUESTIONABLE (knee)
Sowell, Bradley T – PROBABLE (illness)
Williams, Teddy CB – PROBABLE (knee)
Zbikowski, Tom S – QUESTIONABLE (knee)

Allen, Anthony RB – PROBABLE (head)
Bajema, Billy TE – PROBABLE (head)
Boldin, Anquan WR – PROBABLE (shoulder)
Doss, Tandon WR – QUESTIONABLE (ankle)
Ellerbe, Dannell ILB – PROBABLE (ankle)
Hamilton, Adrian OLB – OUT (illness)
Johnson, Chris DB – PROBABLE (thigh)
Jones, Arthur DE – PROBABLE (thigh)
Leach, Vonta FB – PROBABLE (knee/ankle)
Lewis, Ray ILB – PROBABLE (triceps)
McClellan, Albert LB – PROBABLE (shoulder/thigh)
McPhee, Pernell DE – PROBABLE (thigh)
Ngata, Haloti DT – PROBABLE (knee)
Osemele, Kelechi G/T – PROBABLE (knee)
Peirce, Bernard RB – PROBABLE (ankle)
Pollard, Bernard S – QUESTIONABLE (chest)
Reed, Ed S – PROBABLE (shoulder)
Reid, Jah T – QUESTIONABLE (toe)
Smith, Jimmy CB – PROBABLE (abdomen)
Smith, Torrey WR – PROBABLE (knee)
Suggs, Terrell OLB – PROBABLE (biceps)
Yanda, Marshal G/T – PROBABLE (shoulder/knee)



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