Game: Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens
Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Odds: Colts +7, Ravens -7
The Baltimore Ravens are no stranger to primetime games this season. Tonight’s matchup with the Colts will be the Ravens third primetime game of the season already. Baltimore lost its season opener on a Monday night in Las Vegas. They followed that up with a Sunday night win over the Chiefs.
Indianapolis won for the first time last week beating Miami as 2.5-point underdogs. The Colts are once again the underdog, but beating this Ravens team will be much more of a challenge than beat the Dolphins who had played a backup quarterback.
Baltimore is 3-1 and can’t afford many losses. They are in a battle in the very competitive AFC North. Both Cleveland and Cincinnati lost on Sunday dropping both teams to 3-2. Pittsburgh, which started the season 1-3, beat Denver and is now 2-3. The Ravens can claim control of the division lead with a victory tonight.
The Ravens do it with defense and the running game. It’s nothing new under head coach John Harbaugh. Over their last two games, Baltimore has allowed just 24 points. The Ravens rank seventh against the run allowing opponents just 85.8 yards per game.
Indianapolis is a team that likes to run the football, but the Colts haven’t had the same success that they’ve had in previous seasons. So far in 2021, Indy is averaging 112 rushing yards per game. That ranks 15th in the league. If the Colts want to have a shot at beating the Ravens, that number probably has to be higher and that will be hard to do against Baltimore’s defense.
Running the football is also a key for Baltimore, which has the third-best rushing attack in the NFL. The Ravens average 164.5 yards per game. The key, of course, is QB Lamar Jackson, the team’s leading rusher. Jackson averages 6.6 yards per carry and, as he goes, so goes the Baltimore offense.
With the ground game held to 102 yards last week at Denver, Jackson turned to the passing game and went 22-of-37 for 316 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t throw an interception and the result was a 23-7 victory over the Broncos. The defense played a big role in the win with five sacks of Denver quarterbacks Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater.
The Colts won last week with a balanced attack that saw RB Jonathan Taylor rush for 103 yards and a touchdown and QB Carson Wentz go 24-for-32 for 228 yards and two scores. If they can maintain that balance, they could keep this game close.
Indianapolis typically does well in primetime games. The Colts are 4-1 ATS in their last five such games. Indy is also 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games against the Ravens. Baltimore is 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games overall. The Under has cashed in each of the last eight games between these two teams. The Over is 4-1 in Baltimore’s last five primetime games. That includes both of their primetime appearances this season.