Keeping Ray Lewis’s Career Alive: Ravens vs. Colts, Wild Card Preview
If you attempted to surf the Baltimore Ravens official website this past week, you couldn’t help not skipping past the highlight montage created for family and fans, recapping the entire Ravens’ 2012 season. After watching the well designed video, I couldn’t help but get the sense that the Ravens’ season has finally come to an end, but then I was like, “Oh yeah, don’t cry Alan, the playoffs are just about to begin!”
Finally, I watched a press conference held by Ray Lewis announcing his return to the AFC Wild Card game this week along with a mini speech regarding his NFL career and departure, post 2012. As many variables as their may be heading into each and every individual game on football Sundays, the desire to keep Ray Lewis on the field for another game, is quite strong.
BO Ray Lewis Knows how to Motivate: Even when he’s not motivating or has no intention to do so, it’s in the role model’s nature. “Everything that starts has an end. There’s no accolade that I don’t have,” Ray said. Walking away from his teammates to spend more quality time with his kids isn’t going to be that hard of a transition into for Ray, especially since he has done it all. Regardless, the Ravens organization respects his decision to retire and will sell out even more than they ever had before, for Ray, heading into the 2013 playoffs.
Ray’s Playing Time: Ray says he’s nearly 100% recovered. Many speculate that he’s not expected to see a lot of playing time on Sunday, but then again, how can we be so sure? Foolish analysts claim Ray will suit up just to run out on the field with his teammates, but Ray Lewis isn’t fake, nor does he know what pain is. For Ray, 3 snaps on the field could parlay into 3 series’, which could parlay into every passing down for the game’s entirety. Against Bruce Arian’s non-stop passing offense, Ray could be on the field for the majority of the game. Dropping in pass coverage is a lot less demanding on the body than shedding blocks and trying to stop the run, so let’s keep it a mystery until kickoff. Ray Lewis hasn’t been on the field since week 6.
Caldwell vs. Pagano: Ravens offensive coordinator, Jim Caldwell spent the last decade with the Indianapolis Colts. Also,you may all know, Colts’ head coach Chuck Pagano, is the former defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens (3 years). Hmmmm, Chuck may know a thing or two about his former team as well but the advantage goes to Jim! I was about to consider this matchup a wash but in a league where the rules are catered to offenses scoring points, I’d say Jim Caldwell has the slight edge in this battle. Pagano’s battle with cancer has been an excellent story all season given the Colts’ success, but in order for the Colts to pull up an upset on the road, they have to invent a letter before A, and play that type of game, if they want to match the Ravens.
Game Day Strengths and Weaknesses:
It doesn’t matter much, but since you asked, the Ravens defense has been giving up an average of 4 yards a carry this season, which s surprisingly one of the better defenses at containing the run. However, the Ravens still have problems slowing down the rush outside the tackles. Colts’ running back Vick Ballard is averaging 4.3 yards a carry outside of the tackles this season, but he isn’t considered a home run threat or a running back that can take over a game. Yes, this alleviates some pressure on the Ravens rush defense but it also puts more pressure on Andrew Luck to read, react, and pinpoint his throws all game. According to profootballfocus.com, the Colts defense is ranked dead last at stopping the run. Something, something, something: RAY RICE, all day.
Prediction: Forget the fact that M & T Bank Stadium is one of the loudest places to play in, Ray Lewis is retiring after this season and will be running out on of the tunnel one last time (?) to play with all of his teammates; I think not, guy! The fans won’t let that happen, the Ravens’ ball boy won’t even let that happen. The Colts should be grateful for how far they’ve come this season, no doubt. They are grateful for their 11-5 record and don’t have as much to play for like the Ravens do, I like the Ravens to squash the Colts, 34-17.