NFL Playoffs Pick
Date/Time: Sunday, Jan.6, 1 p.m. (ET)
NFL Odds from VietBet
Point Spread: Baltimore -6.5
It has been a magical ride this season for Indianapolis with an impressive 11-5 record both straight-up and against the spread after winning just two games last year. It comes into this matchup with only one loss in its last six games both SU and ATS so momentum is clearly on its side. The Colts went an even 4-4 SU and ATS on the road this season and the total has stayed UNDER in their last three games.
Much of the inspiration and drive for the Colts’ success this season has been provided by head coach Chuck Pagano’s valiant fight against cancer. He returned to the sidelines last Sunday to coach the team to a 28-16 victory over Houston and will be at the helm for as long as his team stays alive in the playoffs. Another contributing factor has been the play of rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, who has done an admirable job at filling the shoes of the departed Peyton Manning. Luck’s overall numbers do not make him an MVP candidate but his ability to run the offense and generate big plays have him high on the list as offensive rookie of the year.
Baltimore limps into the playoffs with just one win in its last five games to fall to 10-6 SU overall. The record was good enough to win the AFC North but the recent slide cost the team an almost guaranteed first-round bye. The Ravens also went 1-4 ATS down the stretch to finish 6-9-1 ATS overall. They did go 6-2 SU at home this season but they were just 3-5 ATS. The total has stayed UNDER in four of their last seven games.
All the pressure in the world will be on Joe Flacco come Sunday afternoon after a less than stellar performance down the stretch. For the season, he has thrown for 3,817 yards and 22 touchdowns but completed just 59.7 percent of his passes, which is the second-worst percentage of his career. Baltimore’s banged-up defense will also be under the gun after giving-up an average of 25 points a game during the final five-game run. It could receive a huge boost if Ray Lewis can return to the lineup, but as of now he still remains questionable.
Everything appears to favor Indianapolis in this matchup, but this fairly young team with a rookie quarterback could actually be in over its head. The Ravens are still a very well-coached team that has shown the ability to go deep in the playoffs year after year. While their current form leaves much to be desired, count on John Harbaugh having his team ready against one that is just happy to be there. Baltimore 23 Indianapolis 13