Well, for a while the issue for Carson Wentz was whether he could move around at all with both ankles being sprained. And not that his problem has been solved, but perhaps a bigger difficulty involves the high ankle sprain on the part of All Pro guard Quentin Nelson, who is on injured reserve. Let's face it; as BetOnline customers know, the offensive linemen are the backbone of any team.
And speaking of backbone, Lamar Jackson had to sit out some practice time because of his back injury. But he does not have to be the major contrinutor to the ground attack for this team to win.
We'll find out a little more about al lthis as the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts meet up at M&T Bank Stadium at 8:15 PM ET on ESPN.
And at the same time, we are curious about the possible subtext. It's been 37 since the Colts vacated Baltimore in the middle of the night. But there was a on of loyalty from the fan base. Does Baltimore still hate the guys who are visiting them? Do they still hate the Dodgers in Brooklyn?
At BetOnline, the Ravens are the clear favorites at home:
Baltimore Ravens -7 (-115)
Indianapolis Colts +7 (-105)
Over 46 Points -110
Under 46 Points -110
We can tell you that the Colts wouldn't mind establishing a ground attack, and they have a running back in Jonathan Taylor who would seem pretty capable of doing that. It's such a key to that running game, however, so his absence immediately gets you started thinking about alternative ways Indy will have to go about its business.
So it was kind of encouraging that against Miami last week, Taylor was able to piece together 103 yards rushing. We're not sure they could do that against Baltimore, They may have no choice but to try, because the Ravens pass rush is going to tee off on Wentz, who throws the ball 59% of the time.
And the recent potential weakness in the Baltimore secondary, as Marcus Peters, the former All-Pro cornerback, tore his ACL and is out for the year. If Indianapolis had more threatening options on the outside, there might be a lot more interesting things for us to talk about. But TY Hilton isn't around, so clearly the top option among wide receivers is Michael Pittman, who has caught 23 passes for 279 yards.
Baltimore is the team that has had more success in the early going in the red zone; the Colts will likely look for their tight ends down low; Mo Alie-Cox connected for two touchdowns with Wentz last week.
The Ravens have some OL injuries themselves, and that includes left tackle Ronnie Stanley. But they are well balanced on offense in a way few teams are. Jackson is actually able to stretch the defense by throwing it, and that is dangerous. He has 19 different pass plays of 20 or more yards. And think about this for a second - Jackson throws the ball an average of 11.6 yards beyond scrimmage per attempt (known as "Intended Air Yards"). Wentz averages just 6.7 yards. That's a big difference as far as threatening the other side.
And don't discount the special teams factor, as the Ravens have the futuire HOF kicker (Justin Tucker) who hit the 66-yard field goal a couple of weeks ago.
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