We spoke with Demond and Deshawn from the blog 18 to 88 back in October before the earlier meeting between these two teams. They are back again and they are not optimistic for the Ravens!

Here are my answers for them.

Are you disappointed to see the Pats out of the playoffs? what concerns do you have after watching the Ravens wild card game?

I’m only disappointed the Pats are done because I thought they would push the Chargers. I’ve been convinced the Jets were the biggest frauds in football for months. I honestly believe the Chargers will roll them by 30 points. I expected the Chargers to beat the Pats, but thought maybe it would be a closer game. Other than that, I’m thrilled the Pats are done. I hate them.

As for concerns, I wanted to play the Jets rather than the Ravens because I’m convinced the Jets are awful. The Ravens aren’t a bad matchup for the Colts, because they won’t be able to run and hide from Indy. Let’s take the worst case scenario for a Colts’ fan: Ravens jump off to a big lead like they did last week. The Colts have an offensive gear the Pats don’t without Welker, and would be able to come back (whereas NE just rolled over). Since 2005, no team has beaten any two of the Big Four in the same post season (Indy, NE, Pitt, and San Diego). That doesn’t bode well for the Ravens.

So, are you worried that the Indianapolis Football Club will be rusty?

No, no, no. A thousand times no. The rust angle is far and away the dumbest, most overplayed issue in the NFL. It’s something invented by sports writers who are too lazy to watch game film to figure out the real reason a team struggled. Indy was crazy banged up at the end of the year. I expect them to come out sharp and fast. It will be one of the few times this entire season the actually starting lineup will all be together in the same game. Watch out.

The ‘rust’ issue springs from one game: 2005 verses the Steelers. The Colts shut down WAAAY early that season, playing the offense only four series in the last two games. On top of that, Dungy’s son committed suicide, and the Steelers came out with a brilliant game plan for blitzing Manning. The second two factors had much more to do with the loss than rust did. This season, the Colts starters actually played a lot against the Jets and Bills, much more than in 2005. The offense looked good and had touchdown drives in both games, posting 23 points in just under a full game of work against good defenses (they only scored 3 points in those games in 2005).

Baltimore could win on Saturday night, but don’t look for rust to save you. It won’t be a factor. That’s just for radio hacks and newspaper clowns.

A few weeks back in Baltimore, Indy squeaked by to keep their streak alive. Looking back, was the lack of offensive production due to the defense of B’more or the struggles of #18?

It had more to do with Tom Santi fumbling at the goal line. Santi is the third string TE. If he just goes down after catching the ball, he picks up the first down, and the Colts probably score 24 points in that game and this isn’t a discussion. At the time, I wondered if Manning was hurt going into that game because the interception to Ed Reed was an awful throw that had he put in the right spot (over Wayne’s left shoulder to the outside instead of having the ball drift inside where Reed was), Reed couldn’t have come close to it and would have been a TD. Manning’s numbers were solid that game other than that really bad pick. I wouldn’t say the Baltimore defense was particularly good that day.

Talk about the Colts Defense-Ravens Offense matchups. Where do you see the biggest advantage for disadvantage for the Colts?

The big problem in the first game was Mark Clayton, but at the time, #1 CB Kelvin Hayden was hurt. Clayton abused the fourth string corner Tim Jennings. Jennings won’t be on the field Saturday night, so I’m not worried at all about a repeat of that game. Obviously Ray Rice is the key. He’s an incredible player, easily the most underrated player in the NFL right now. 2000 yards from scrimmage, 72 catches…sick numbers. The Colts have to keep him from making big plays. As for the Colts biggest advantage, it’s always Freeney and Mathis. The two haven’t been healthy at the same time since well, before the Ravens game.

Give me your game prediction….
Indy 24 Baltimore 10.

The Colts D is much better than it was the last time these two teams played because it’s finally healthier. This time, Santi doesn’t fumble, and the Colts get to 24 points. I can’t see the Ravens scoring if they can’t throw, and I don’t see Manning making the kind of mistakes that Brady made last week (holding the ball too long start with).