01/06/2013 12:28 PM
Phil Steele picks
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