Tribune Star Correspondent
The game -- Indianapolis Colts (11-5, 342 AFC South) at Baltimore Ravens (10-6, 4-2 AFC North), 1 p.m. (ET), M&T Bank Stadium (FieldTurf), Baltimore, MD, AFC Wild-Card Game.
Coverage -- CBS Sports (Jim Nantz, Phil Sims); Colts Radio Network (Bob Lamey, Will Wolford, Kevin Lee); Sirius NFL Radio (Channel 88, Dial Global Radio; Channel 92, Colts; Channel 86, Ravens); XM NFL Radio (Channel 88, Dial Global Radio; Channel 225, Colts; Channel 226, Ravens); Dial Global Radio (Ian Eagles, Trent Green, Laura Okmin).
The coaches -- Colts: Chuck Pagano (11-5, 1st year with Indianapolis). Ravens: Jim Harbaugh (54-26, 5th year with Baltimore).
The series -- 13th overall meeting. Colts lead overall series, 9-3. The Colts have won 7 of the 10 regular season matchups with Baltimore and are 2-0 against the Ravens in the post-season. The Colts have posted a 3-3 regular-season series record at M&T Bank Stadium. The Colts are 4-3 at M&T Bank Stadium including post-season games. The last time that the Colts and Ravens hooked up in a post-season game at M&T Bank Stadium (1/13/07), Indianapolis posted a 15-6 win as PK Adam Vinatieri booted five field goals as the Colts moved into the AFC championship game against New England. The Colts and Ravens last met in the post-season on Jan. 16, 2010 as Indianapolis came away with a 20-3 victory at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts have won four of their last five meetings with Baltimore, including post-season games.
Notes – Indy (11-5) posted a nine-game improvement from the 2011 season (2-14). That one-season turnaround is tied for the third-best in NFL history...The Colts are 3-5 in previous wild-card round playoff games...28 Colts are making their first-ever NFL post-season appearance...Indy is now the second NFL team to win 10 or more games after losing 14 or more the previous season...The Colts have notched their 12th 10 or more win season in the past 14 years, which is the most of any NFL team since 1999...Indy has posted a 151-73 record (.674) since 1999, which ranks second to the Patriots..Colts coach Chuck Pagano was a defensive assistant coach with Baltimore from 2008-2011. Pagano was the Ravens' defensive coordinator last season...Indy assistant coaches Marwan Maalouf, Roy Anderson and Jeff FitzGerald have all spent time on the Ravens' coaching staff...Colts players Cory Redding, Joe Reitz and Tom Zbikowski all played for Baltimore...Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell was an assistant with the Colts from 2002 to 2008 and was Indy's head coach from 2009-11...Baltimore WR Tandon Doss grew up in Indianapolis (Ben Davis High School) and attended Indiana University...Ravens S Bernard Pollard grew up in Fort Wayne, Ind., and attended Purdue University...The Colts have returned four interceptions for touchdowns this season, which is tied for the most in a season in franchise history...Indy has scored 38 points on their opening possession of games this seasson, which ranks tied for third in the AFC (Bengals, Texans). The Colts have also scored 37 points on the opening drives of second halves, which also ranks tied for third in the AFC (Broncos, Steelers)...Indy posted a 9-1 record in games decided by one-possession this season. The Colts won eight consecutive one-possession games...QB Andrew Luck has led the Colts on seven game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime this season. That's the most for an NFL rookie quarterback since the 1970 merger. Vince Young (2006) and Ben Roethlisberger (2004) each had five in their respective rookie seasons...Luck threw for the most passing yards (4,374) by a rookie quarterback in NFL history. He surpassed Cam Newton's record of 4,051 yards, which was set last season...Luck has completed 339-of-627 passes for 4,374 yards, 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions this season. He had a rookie year passer rating of 76.5...Luck set Colts franchises rookie marks for pass attempts, passer rating, completions, passing yards, 300-yard passing games (6) and lowest interceptions percentage (2.87)...Luck led the Colts to 11 wins this season, which gives him the most by a No. 1 overall pick in his rookie season in NFL history...The 11 wins are the second most among all rookie quarterbacks in NFL history behind Ben Roethlisberger (13, 2004)...Luck threw for 300 yards on six different occasions this year, giving him the most 300 yard passing games by a rookie quarterback in NFL history...WR Reggie Wayne registered his sixth season with at least 1,200 yards receiving and tied Marvin Harrison and Torry Holt for the thirdf most such seasons in NFL history...Wayne's 106 receptions this season are the second-most that he's recorded in a season (111, 2010)...Wayne's 1,355 receiving yards are tied for the second-most in a season during his 12-year career...In the past three seasons when the Colts have had a franchise quarterbacks behind center (2009, 2010 and 2012), Wayne has caught 317 passes for 3,974 yards and 21 TDs). He has averaged 106 receptions, 1,325 yards and seven TDs over those three seasons...Wayne has hauled in 53 passes for 597 yards and three TDs in 10 career games (regular season and postseason) against the Ravens...OLB Robert Mathis has registered 23 total tackles, five sacks and four forced fumbles in eight career games vs. the Ravens (regular season and playoffs)...OLB Dwight Freeney has notched 12 tackles and four sacks in eight career meetings with Baltimore...S Antoine Bethea has 30 tackles, five passes broken up, three interceptions and one forced fumble in six career games with the Ravens. Bethea had a goal line intercepion against Baltimore in the 1/13/07 AFC playoff games...PK Adam Vinatieri has connected on 15-of-15 field goal attempts and has made 17-of-17 PAT attempts career-wise against the Ravens. He has a series-best 51-yard field goal against Baltimore in the 1/13/07 AFC playoff game, hitting five-of-five field goal attempts in that game.
Did you know? – Inside the final two minutes of a half, rookie QB Andrew Luck has thrown for the most passing yards of any quarterback in the league this season (884).
Stat of the week -- Comparing rookie quarterbacks: 1956, Johnny Unitas, 110-198-1,498 yards, 9 TDs, 10 interceptions. 74.0 passer rating; 1998, Peyton Manning, 326-575-3,739 yards, 26 TDs, 28 interceptions, 71.2 passer rating. 2012, Andrew Luck 339-627-4,374 yards, 23 TDs, 18 interceptions, 76.5 passing rating.
The game plan -- Play loose. Have fun. Enjoy the experience.
With the Colts taking a young team lacking in wholesale playoff experience into its first post-season game, getting too uptight or excited can sink any chances of being successful.
Indianapolis wants to continue to run the football well enough in order to provide some offensive balance. If the run game is working, the rest of the Colts’ arsenal can be used.
Also, take advantage of their opportunities in the red zone. Don’t trade touchdowns for field goals. Finally, don’t let the crowd at M&T Bank Stadium get to you. Tune them out if you can.
Defensively, Indianapolis has to continue playing takeaway. The Colts have done a much better job of forcing turnovers over the last half of the season.
Indy’s defense has bent at times during its run of wins, but they’ve also been able to come up with a crucial stop or turnover. Keep doing that this week.
Key matchups -- Colts QB Andrew Luck vs. Ravens S Ed Reed. The rookie faces the grizzled veteran. Reed is probably the best free safety in the NFL today in terms of being a ballhawk. He has been as good this season as he’s been throughout his decorated Ravens career. Reed, by the way, has 61 career interceptions.
Ravens QB Joe Flacco vs. the Colts’ pass defense. Flacco has completed 40 passes of 25 yards or more this season, setting a franchise record in the process. He has completed 317-of-531 passes for 3,817 yards, 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Indy, though, have picked off 12 passes this season, returning four for touchdowns.
Colts WR Reggie Wayne vs. Ravens CBs Corey Graham/Cary Williams. Wayne has played well against Baltimore in the past. The Ravens cornerbacks have each picked off four passes this season, with both of them returning interceptions for touchdowns.