The Indianapolis Colts have looked like the best team in the NFL over the past two weeks, winning by a combined 51 points. The defending AFC South champs will look to continue that success in Week 5 when they take on the Baltimore Ravens.
Each of the Colts’ last two games have been over by the end of the third quarter. In Week 3, they beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in a game that Indianapolis led 30-3 at the start of the fourth quarter. In their last win, the Colts finished three quarters with a 34-17 lead over the Tennessee Titans.
In his third season, Andrew Luck is making the case to be considered among the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. He’s thrown for at least 370 yards in three games, and leads the league in passing yards and touchdowns.
It hasn’t been all great for the Colts in 2014, who lost their first two games. Indianapolis was defeated by the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles, which has put them at 2-2 and in second place in the division.
On Sunday, the Colts have an opportunity to get their first win over a team with a winning record. The Ravens lost their season opener to the Cincinnati Bengals, but have gone on to win three straight games. In Week 4, they defeated the defending NFC South champion Carolina Panthers by 28 points.
While Luck is doing his best to enter the top tier of quarterbacks, Joe Flacco is trying to prove that he is worthy of the praise he was awarded after the Ravens won the 2013 Super Bowl. Following a championship and a new $120.6 million contract, Flacco’s 2013 season was the worst of his career. Through the first quarter of 2014, the signal caller has a career-high 63.4 completion percentage and a 7:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Steve Smith might be the biggest part of Flacco’s bounce-back season. In his first year with Baltimore, he ranks third in the NFL with 429 receiving yards.
On defense, the Ravens are dealing with injuries to a few veterans. Both Terrell Suggs and Chris Canty were held out of practice on Thursday, and their status for Week 5 is uncertain.
Indianapolis is dealing with an injury to one of their leading rushers. Ahmad Bradshaw missed practice on Wednesday with a foot injury, but he’s expected to play. Trent Richardson is the team’s top rusher with 203 yards.
The game is expected to be one of the most competitive and highest-scoring contests of Week 5, according to the betting odds at Las Vegas casinos. Only three games have a smaller point spread than the 3.5 points that the Colts are giving the Ravens, and the over/under of 48.5 points is tied for the second-highest on the schedule.
Prediction: The Colts and Ravens are two of the better teams in the AFC and this could be an early preview of a playoff matchup. Indianapolis has an explosive offense, but they’ll likely be slowed down by a Baltimore defense that ranks second in points allowed. The Ravens are much better at defending the run than they are the pass, which could give Indianapolis an edge, but there’s a good chance this game will come down to the final possession.
Predicted Score: Indianapolis 24, Baltimore 23