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2012 was supposed to be the year that Flacco, in a contract year, broke out, but the offense had become quite predictable and Rice wasn’t being utilized to his fullest (two 100 yard games vs 6 last year). Flacco has a solid 15-5 ratio (8.3 ypa) at home but just 7-5 ratio (5.9 ypa) on the road. Rice does have a solid amount of rec’s but that’s coming off checkdowns. Boldin remains a solid #2 type with Smith being a dangerous deep threat. BAL likes to use the 2 TE sets but they are much more conservative than NE’s in scheme. The OL is above average (#20 sacks, 4.7 ypc) which is a disappointment with the talent. 2002 was the last time BAL wasn’t in the top 10 for D for yardage but they remain top 10 in ypp. Injuries have hit every level here but they should have 9 of 11 opening day starters (CB Webb/LB McClain) here. The fact they have only given up a 14-13 ratio shows their quality of depth. Top 5 return units thanks to Jones work combined with a great year by Sam Koch has them atop our ST’s rankings.
Both teams have beat up defenses but BAL is at home taking on a thin IND team that is off back-to-back emotional games. Luck should connect for points with Wayne and weather isn’t expected to be a factor.
PHIL’S FORECAST: BALTIMORE 30 INDIANAPOLIS 20
This is the second game in NFL history with rookie QB’s at the helm (HOU/CIN last year). The Seahawks youth movement the last 2 years has helped end their road woes (4-4 this year) and they are +20 ypg (-1 TO’s) away this year. Against the common foes of DAL/STL/CAR/MIN they are +60 ypg (+2 TO’s) with a 3-1 record. WAS is -16 ypg at home (+6 TO’s) for a 4-3 mark after losing their first 2. Against the common foes they are 2-2 coming in at -31 ypg (+6 TO’s).
Moving to a rookie 3rd RD QB over the touted FA pickup was a surprise move by SEA but it has paid off. From the NE gm on, Wilson has avg’d 209 ypg (65%) with a stunning 21-4 ratio. Against top 10 D’s he has avg’d 180 ypg (60%) with a 12-4 ratio thanks to a stellar power run game behind Lynch who has ten 100 yd rushing efforts this year. Despite this being the first 16 game season for WR Rice, not having a 1,000 yd receiver is more a function of Wilson spreading the ball around and the success of Lynch. SEA has started 6 different OL combinations this year but LT Okung earned his Pro Bowl berth as he’s the only LT to not allow a sack this year.