Baltimore Ravens: Week 5 Preview


Things look good at 3-1 for the Baltimore Ravens.

Joe Flacco, looking strong with a 68% completion rate, is clicking with his 10th-ranked offense. Steve Smith is currently the third-ranked receiver in the league. Most impressively, the team has been challenged with and survived a league wide controversy with one of its star players and seemingly did not miss a step when they ushered in a whole new running game.

On the defensive side of the ball, things are going equally well. Daryl Smith and CJ Mosley both sit very comfortably in the top 20 among the league in tackles. Even without the return of Lardarius Webb, which is still sorely needed, the defense ranks 19th and still keeps the Ravens competitive in games. After five weeks, defeating three stout teams is no fluke. Baltimore is good and consistently improving.

Still, now is not the time to sleep. The Baltimore Ravens have a tough schedule ahead. Sunday, they go on the road to play perhaps their toughest opponent yet, the Indianapolis Colts. This is the first of four road games in the next five weeks. Let’s break down this match up at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The injury-plagued Ravens defense will need a number of players to step up to slow down the Colts top-ranked offense. Pass rushing will be essential. Colts quarterback, Andrew Luck, has led Indianapolis to 40+ points in their last two games and is on pace to surpass 5,000 yards.

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To stop him, we need to see C.J. Mosley remains consistent in keeping the Colts one-dimensional. Terrell Suggs more than ever needs to return to 2011 form, as the veteran defensive leader is seeing a decline in production from where he was last year in his sixth pro bowl season. And Elvis Dumervil, it’s time you earn that five-year $35 million deal. Peter Boulware is arguably the greatest pass rusher in Ravens history, and if you’re going to wear his number, 58, you better look and play the part.

On the offensive side of the ball, Baltimore needs to stick to the formula that has served them well through the first quarter of the season.

Joe Flacco, please just stay the course. With the second-highest QBR in his career, the face of the franchise needs to simply stick to Gary Kubiak‘s plan to be successful.

The Ravens are currently sixth in the league with 395 yards a game and will need that production to outscore the Colts. The ground game averages 134 yards a game, so count on Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro to be involved early and often.

Steve Smith’s job is the same as it has been: keep doing what you’re doing. Continue to wow us with your stellar play that has you sitting near the top among the league’s receivers.

Baltimore is also one of 10 teams to commit three or fewer turnovers, which I believe will be the deciding factor in this game.

Overall, this is a very tough game that is well within the Baltimore Ravens’ ability to win. Ultimately, I see this potentially being a shootout with the Ravens upsetting the Colts 34-30.