Yes, Peyton Manning was voted the league MVP for the 4th time in his career, but that doesn't make him Superman. He may be the best quarterback of his generation, and he deserves all the accolades he receives, but no quarterback, or team is infallible. The Colts have shown that they don't do a good job of coming back after a playoff bye week, being 0-3 in that regard. If anyone thinks that this Saturday's game is a given for the Colts they may be in for a surprise.
The Baltimore Ravens are fresh off a trouncing of the New England Patriots, the team that couldn't be beaten on their home turf, the team that hadn't lost a home playoff game in nearly 30 years. But they couldn't handle what the Baltimore Ravens brought to the table. And that's with the leagues most respected coach Bill Belichick. Is Jim Caldwell considered better at making adjustments then Belichick is? I don't think so.
The Ravens beat themselves earlier in the season when they came up on the short side of a 17-15 contest where Manning was held to his second lowest point total of the season. The Ravens were a penalty generating machine during the middle of the season but have since seen the light. This time things might play out a little differently.
Consider the fact that the Patriots ranked 13th in rushing defense this season, and they couldn't stop the Ravens running game even when they knew they were going to run the ball. The Colts ranked 21st this year, and the odds of them shutting down the Ravens running game aren't worth considering. The Colts approach to defense is smaller guys who can cover a lot of ground. The Ravens offensive philosophy of running the ball is to get their big, strong linemen to smash through the opponents D-line. The biggest mistake the Ravens made when they faced the Colts earlier this season was not running the ball enough. But lately it seems that Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has come over to the dark side of smash mouth football. This doesn't bode well for Indianapolis.
It also doesn't bode well for the Colts that they were an undefeated team, one that hadn't incurred a loss until Caldwell and Colts GM Bill Polian decided to rest their starters. That left a sour taste in the mouths of most of the Colts players. After that decision they lost two straight games nullifying a chance for a place in history by eclipsing the mark of the 1972 Miami Dolphins for a truly undefeated season. Add to that the fact that the Colts are 0-3 after a playoff bye week and you have a recipe for a letdown.
The Colts have more to fear from the Ravens then the Ravens have to fear from them. This is going to be a game that tests both teams, but I think The Ravens will come out on top for no other reason then they aren't expected to. That's when the Ravens are at their best, when the odds are against them and no one gives them a chance. Are you listning Peyton Manning?