INDIANAPOLIS — If there was ever a perfect wild-card playoff matchup for the Indianapolis Colts, it was the Baltimore Ravens. Fifth-place seed Indianapolis (11-5) and fourth-placed seed Baltimore (10-6) will face off at M&T Bank Stadium at 1 p.m. Sunday (CBS Sports).
Yes, the Ravens have been one of the better teams in the AFC over the last few seasons. But Baltimore has struggled some over the last month of the regular-season, losing four of their last five games. Indianapolis, meanwhile, has posted victories in five of their last six..
What's also working in the Colts' favor is that first-year head coach Chuck Pagano knows the Ravens very well. Pagano was Baltimore's defensive coordinator last season and was a member of the Ravens' defensive coaching staff from 2008-11.
"Going back to Baltimore, obviously there’s some familiarity there. We had four great years there as a family. Top-notch organization, really good football club. It’ll be a great challenge. They’ve got a great team and they’ve got great players all over the place," Pagano acknowledged Sunday after the Colts' 28-16 win over Houston. "It’ll be a great test for us obviously."
One thing is certain. He knows the Ravens' personnel very well. Especially on defense. Pagano also knows Baltimore's offensive players from having to face them every day in practice. When asked Monday during his weekly day-after press conference if he planned to spend more time in meetings with the Colts' offense this week, the Indianapolis flashed a wry smile.
"There's a good chance that may happen," Pagano laughed. "There's going to be some things. I will be able to sit down and watch some tape with anybody on the offensive side of the ball, with the coaches.