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2017 Opponent Scouting Report: Week 16, Ravens Special Teams, A Prediction and Draft Watch

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Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Overview

On December 23, 2017, the Indianapolis Colts will travel to take on the Baltimore Ravens. In this Week 16 matchup, I sought to understand our opponent and get a better idea for what we are up against.

It’s surprising to me I’ve made it through Thursday before our Saturday game and I’ve yet to see anyone mention that the Irsay’s stole the Colts from the people of Baltimore. Further, I’ve yet to even see a single Baltimore fan say that while acknowledging that the city of Baltimore government actually was trying to steal the team from the Irsay’s. And while Robert Irsay, by every single account wasn’t a great person, he protected the company he rightfully owned and moved them to a city who was happy to have an NFL team.

Just to go one step further, not once have I seen any Baltimore fan mention the above while also being self-aware enough to realize that the only reason they have a team to root for is because they stole their franchise from Cleveland.

Here’s lookin’ at you, Baltimore.


Special Teams

Kicker: Justin Tucker

Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Tucker may be the best kicker in football. In his six-year career, he has never missed an extra-point attempt and is 90% on field goals for his career. Ultimately, I don’t think this game is going to come down to three points one way or the other, but if it did, watching Tucker and Adam Vinatieri battle it out would make for better football than we’re used to.

For the record, if the game is on the line, I’m taking Vinny every time.


Punter: Sam Koch

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Koch is 35 and is a really good punter. He has a 45-yard average this year, which is also his career average. If it feels like the Ravens have had the same punter for years, it’s because they have. Koch was drafted by Baltimore in the sixth round in 2006, and he’s been solid ever since.

It is likely that we’ll see Rigoberto Sanchez far more than Koch, but a guy can dream, right?


Returners: Chris Moore and Michael Campanaro

Chicago Bears v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Moore will handle kickoffs and Campanaro will have punt-return duty.

Moore isn’t overly impressive as a returner with a 22-yard per average. Campanaro, on the other hand, looks like a fantastic punt returner with a 12.5-yard average, which includes a 77-yard TD return against the Bears. Even without that return he still averages 9 yards per return, which is more than double what Quan Bray and Chester Rogers have combined to give our Colts this year.

Campanaro is likely to get a few chances to make a play on Saturday.


Final Thoughts for the Week

I had a friend in high school named Justin Tucker. We called him “Tuck.” Good dude. Played shortstop, and he and Jake Inman used to turn the most amazing double plays I’ve ever seen on a high school baseball game. That has nothing to do with the Ravens or the game this week, but those memories I have managed to hold on to will be far better than any memory this game could ever bring.

The Colts are not going to win this game. The Ravens are a game behind the Titans, and with the Titans facing possibly the most difficult two-game stretch of anyone this season, this is a must-win for the Ravens. It couldn’t matter less for the Colts.


Prediction

Ravens 24

Colts 16


Draft Watch

This segment will keep an eye on our draft positioning as the year progresses. No, I’m not suggesting that we throw the season or that we should all look forward to the draft. Rather, I hope that this will allow us all to be aware of next offseason and realize how much our 2018 outlook can change from week to week.

I would like to point out a really cool site that covers the NBA, NHL and NFL: Tankathon. It has a funny name but it serves a cool purpose, weeding out tie breakers to show who is slated to draft where.

2018 Colts Draft Position Post Week Three:

3rd Overall

  1. Cleveland Browns. This team might lose 16 games this year. No one is taking the top spot from them.
  2. New York Giants. Still a dumpster fire. They broke my heart last week losing the game in the fourth quarter. They’re gonna lose out.
  3. Indianapolis Colts. You guys should absolutely know about this one.
  4. Houston Texans. Rumors are swirling that the Texans are going to fire head coach Bill O’Brien. They aren’t going to win in Week 16 or Week 17. I don’t believe it will impact the top four picks, however.
  5. San Francisco 49ers. Starting Jimmy Garoppolo has resulted in a three-game win streak for the ‘Niners. They knocked off the Titans last week but will drop the next two.

At this point, I predict that the top five picks are set. Anything could happen, but if I had to place a bet, this will be unchanged come Black Monday.

Speaking of Black Monday; Colts fans, we are close to that fateful day. What a wonderful day it will be. This year has sucked but Colts fans get two Christmases this year, and not much could be better than that.

Merry Christmas, you filthy animals. Enjoy your holiday and try to keep your eggnog consumption to a reasonable level.