Have you ever run across a crime or accident scene where the police are waving you by with the words, “Nothing to see here.”
Tonight, the Baltimore Ravens host the Indianapolis Colts, and I feel it would be best if I took that officer's advice and just moved on to next week’s games. But, I’m intrigued by this matchup.
The Ravens are the better team and the Colts are coming off a road win.
But Baltimore was reduced in quality personnel during the preseason when all three of their top runningbacks were lost to injury. They lost their first season opener since 2016 in Las Vegas against the Raiders. They scored a fortunate win in second week action at home against the Kansas City Chiefs and didn’t cover the point spread and needed a 66-yard field goal on the game’s last play to edge the still winless Detroit Lions in third week action.
Last week, in Denver, they handed the Broncos their first loss of the season in convincing fashion, 23-7. So, how good is John Harbaugh’s team this year? Perhaps not as good as some think.
As for the Colts, no great shakes here. They lost at home on opening day to the Seattle Seahawks and then were competitive in a second week game in a perfect motivational spot but still lost the game while beating the point spread with a 27-24 setback to the Los Angeles Rams. In third week action, at Tennessee, the Colts were in a very good spot to close in on the division front runner with a win over the Titans.
Didn’t do it.
The Colts lost to the Titans both straight-up and against the point spread, 25-16. Indianapolis followed that loss with their only win of the year, a victory in Miami over a Dolphins team that hasn’t won since opening day.
So, the Colts are not the team some projected for great things this year and like the Ravens, suffered crippling injuries that have hurt them on both sides of the ball, but particularly on the offense. Key offensive linemen, including All Pro guard Quentin Nelson, are out with injuries. Nelson, the sixth overall pick in the 2018 draft, was injured in the preseason but worked to get back in the lineup for the season opener. Then hurt again, he has now been placed on the injured reserve list and is not available tonight.
That isn’t good news for Carson Wentz, the injury prone quarterback who is playing on two bad ankles and tonight has his top runningback, Jonathan Taylor, also questionable with an injury.
In other words, the teams that both the Colts and Ravens thought they were going to field this season have been reduced by a rash of injuries to key players.
Still, I pause, knowing the Ravens have not looked like a team overall this season that is likely to cover a more than touchdown point spread on the heels of their only convincing win of the season. But, take the Colts, and I’m backing a team that is also coming off a road win with an injury slowed quarterback without his top runner 100% and missing key components in his front line protection.
Okay, the cop is right, just move along, there is nothing to see here.