Sunday's NFL Tip Sheet
January 5, 2013
**Colts at Ravens**
--As of Friday afternoon, most betting shops had Baltimore (10-6 straight up, 6-9-1 against the spread) installed as a seven-point favorite with a total of 47. Gamblers can back the Colts on the money line for a plus-250 return (risk $100 to win $250).
--This game took on added importance with Wednesday’s announcement from Ray Lewis that ‘this would be his last ride.’ Lewis, one of the NFL’s all-time greats with 12 Pro-Bowl selections, will be back in uniform for the first time since tearing his right triceps muscle in Week 6.
--John Harbaugh’s team limped down the stretch with four losses both SU and ATS in its last five games. However, last week’s 23-17 loss at Cincinnati shouldn’t be held against the Ravens, who rested most of their key starters in the last three quarters.
--Indianapolis (11-5 SU, 11-5 ATS) has enjoyed a storybook season. The organization made the painful decision to release franchise icon Peyton Manning following a 2-14 campaign that Manning spent on injured reserve with a neck injury. With the chance to take Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick, the Colts cleaned house for the most part. They brought in new head coach Chuck Pagano and long-time Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. In addition to Luck, Indy found a slew of draft-day games like TE Dwayne Allen, TE Coby Fleener, RB Vick Ballard, WR T.Y. Hilton and WR LaVon Brazill. Indy didn’t go with a complete youth movement, however, keeping around solid veterans like WR Reggie Wayne, DE Dwight Freeney and DE Robert Mathis.
--The result has been a nine-game turnaround for the Colts, who have been motivated by Pagano’s personal battle through leukemia after being diagnosed in September. The former Ravens defensive coordinator returned to the sidelines for the first time in last week’s 28-16 win over Houston as a 6 ½-point home underdog.
--Luck has had his ups and downs and his overall numbers aren’t overly impressive. The Stanford producing has only completed 54.1 percent of his passes and has been intercepted 18 times. However, he has five touchdowns without an interception in the last three games. Luck threw for 4,374 yards and 23 TD passes during the regular season. He also rushed for five scores.
--In Arians’s new offense, Wayne has been used much like Hines Ward was utilized in the same system in Pittsburgh. Wayne has produced 106 catches for 1,355 yards and five TDs. Hilton has a team-high eight TDs and 1,308 all-purpose yards.
--Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco threw for 3,817 yards with a 22/10 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He has 13 TD passes compared to four interceptions in the last nine games.
--Ray Rice is the Ravens’ best offensive weapon. The former Rutgers star rushed for 1,143 yards and nine TDs while also hauling in 61 receptions for 478 yards and one TD.
--The Ravens struggled to a 2-4 ATS record in six games as home favorites. With that said, they are 19-14-2 ATS in 35 games as home ‘chalk’ during John Harbaugh’s five-year tenure.
--Baltimore has won six of its eight home games but is just 3-5 versus the number. Meanwhile, Indy is 4-4 both SU and ATS on the road.
--The ‘under’ is 10-6 overall for the Colts, 4-4 in their road assignments. They have seen the ‘under’ cash in three consecutive games.
--The ‘over’ is 9-7 overall for the Ravens, 6-2 in their home games.
--Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Eastern on CBS.
**Seahawks at Redskins**
--As of Friday night, most spots had Seattle (11-5 SU, 11-5 ATS) listed as a three-point favorite with a total of 46 for ‘over/under’ wagers. Bettors can take the Redskins to win outright for a plus-130 payout (risk $100 to win $130).
--Washington (10-6 SU, 11-5 ATS) has won seven in a row both SU and ATS, including last week’s 28-18 win over Dallas to clinch the NFC East. The Redskins took the money as three-point favorites thanks to a one-yard TD plunge from Alfred Morris with 1:02 remaining. Robert Griffin III ran for 63 yards and one TD while completing 9-of-18 throws for 100 yards. Most important, RG3 didn’t commit a turnover and the ‘Skins won the takeaway battle 3-0.
--Seattle is on fire, winning five straight games and seven of its last eight. The Seahawks are getting it done with defense and running the football. They are tops in the NFL in scoring defense, giving up only 15.3 points per game. They are third in rushing behind 1,590 yards from Marshawn Lynch, who has 12 rushing TDs and a 5.0 yards-per-carry average.
--Like Washington, Seattle is in the playoffs with a rookie quarterback. Russell Wilson, the former minor-league baseball player who was a star at North Carolina St. and Wisconsin in college, has steadily improved all year. Wilson has connected on 64.1 percent of his passes for 3,118 yards with a 26/10 TD-INT ratio. He is also a threat with his legs, evidenced by 489 rushing yards and four scores.
--Wilson distributes the wealth with balance. Sidney Rice and Golden Tate have seven TD catches apiece and have combined for 95 receptions for more than 1,400 yards. Veteran TE Zach Miller has 38 grabs for 396 yards and three TDs.
--Robert Griffin III has lit a fuse within the Redskins organization, one that has suffered badly throughout Dan Snyder’s tumultuous reign as owner. RG3 has been dynamic from Week 1 when he led his team to a 40-32 win at New Orleans. For the year, Griffin completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 3,200 yards with a 20/5 TD-INT ratio. He has an 8/1 TD-INT ratio at home. RG3 has rushed for 815 yards and seven TDs.
--The presence of Griffin has helped open things up for Morris, who exploded for 1,610 rushing yards and 13 TDs during the regular season. Morris averages 4.8 YPC.
--Mike Shanahan’s squad has been an underdog nine times, compiling a 7-2 spread record with six outright victories. The ‘Skins are 2-1 both SU and ATS as home underdogs this season. On Shanahan’s watch the last three years, they are 8-7-2 as home ‘dogs.
--Seattle won outright in only three of its eight road assignments. The Seahawks went 1-3 both SU and ATS in their four games as road favorites. As road ‘chalk’ under Carroll in three seasons, they own a 1-4 spread record.
--The ‘over’ is 9-7 overall for Washington, but the ‘under’ is 5-3 in its home games. The ‘over’ is on a 3-1 run in the Redskins’ last four contests.
--The ‘over’ is on a 7-2 roll in Seattle’s last nine games. Nevertheless, totals have been a wash for the ‘Hawks both overall (8-8) and on the road (4-4).
--FOX will provide television coverage at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.