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.