The Baltimore Ravens (3-1) have won three in a row and will host the Indianapolis Colts (1-3), who got their first win of the season in Miami on Sunday. None of the last six meetings between these teams broke 40 combined points, and the Colts are 1-3 against the Ravens since the Peyton Manning era ended.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Baltimore Ravens
Monday, October 11, 2021 – 08:15 PM EDT at M&T Bank Stadium
The Ravens are a 7-point favorite at many of the top sportsbooks. Baltimore played three very close games before winning 23-7 in Denver with relative ease on Sunday. The Colts played the Rams tough but lost by multiple scores to the Seahawks and Titans before their 27-17 win in Miami. Colts coach Frank Reich lost his only matchup with John Harbaugh’s Ravens last year at home in a 24-10 game that saw a few wild turnovers.
Colts: Best Game Yet in Miami
Playing the Dolphins certainly helped, but the Colts did have their best game on both sides of the ball on Sunday. Carson Wentz ranked fifth in Week 4 with an 81.4 QBR and taking two sacks is an improvement for him. Jonathan Taylor rushed for 103 yards and finally scored his first touchdown of 2021. The defense allowed a season-low 17 points and 203 yards of offense.
It was the kind of steady, workmanlike win the Colts enjoyed several times in 2020 as a playoff team. But the Colts still have some big injuries, which isn’t something that Baltimore fans will want to hear as that team deals with its own serious injuries to starters.
Last year, the Colts really struggled to move the ball on the Ravens, but even the Baltimore offense was held to 17 points in that game. The Ravens added a big touchdown on a 65-yard fumble return after Taylor fumbled in the first quarter.
As a member of the Eagles, Wentz played the Ravens last October. He took six sacks, trailed by as many as 18 points, trailed 30-14 late in the game, and still came close to tying things up in a 30-28 loss after a two-point conversion failed. It was reminiscent of the game Wentz had against the Ravens as a 2016 rookie, a 27-26 loss where again he failed on a two-point conversion on the final play.
Even when Wentz plays poorly, covering a 7-point spread can be hard in this league. Wentz is 1-8 when he takes at least five sacks in a game, but only two of those nine games were losses by more than seven points. One was the season opener last year in Washington when he took a career-high eight sacks too.
Baltimore’s defense has held its last two opponents (Lions and Broncos) under 300 yards and 20 points.
Ravens: Passing Game Improvement?
For only the second time in his career, Lamar Jackson has passed for at least 235 yards in four straight games. He had his third 300-yard passing game in the NFL on Sunday, shredding a Denver defense that was ranked high statistically thanks to a bad schedule. Jackson also rushed on the game’s final play to controversially keep the team’s record streak alive of 100-yard rushing games.
Jackson is doing perhaps more than ever for the injured Ravens right now as he is on pace for over 4,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards. He has also taken to throwing deep as he leads the NFL in yards per completion (14.4) and an average depth of target (11.6).
The Colts have the second-worst pressure rate on defense this season and rarely blitz, so Jackson could have a lot of time to throw down the field again. Tight end Mark Andrews is probably due for his first touchdown of the season as he has 253 yards without one so far.
Marquise Brown and Sammy Watkins are also producing as the Ravens are actually on pace for three 1,000-yard receivers through four games. The Ravens will have to do a better job of figuring out this running back rotation and what to do with Ty’Son Williams, but chances are the unique Jackson will lead the team in rushing once again anyway.
Jackson is 27-2 as a starter when he attempts fewer than 28 passes in a game. Technically, he did not finish either loss due to injury. But if the Ravens are going to start beating teams by throwing nearly 40 times as they did in Denver, then there is no limit to this team’s potential.
Harbaugh is 37-39-1 ATS as a favorite of at least six points in his career. That record improves to 28-22 ATS against non-playoff teams, so if you feel confident that these Colts are not destined for the playoffs, then that’s a positive. Playing in the AFC South will keep their hopes alive at least.
Reich is 2-2 ATS as an underdog of at least seven points, but he did have that big 19-13 win in Kansas City in 2019. However, Wentz is 4-13 ATS against playoff teams since he tore his ACL in 2017. We cannot say with certainty that the Ravens are a playoff team in 2021, but they sure look like they’re going to be in the mix again. Wentz on the road against a good opponent is not something I like to put my trust in.
I like the Ravens to cover in this one for your NFL picks to end Week 5.
NFL Pick: (visit our Sportsbook Review)
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.