If the NFL playoffs started today, both the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts would be in as each club owns a 5-2 record heading into Week 9. The Ravens currently stand above Indy and would be the fifth seed in the conference thanks to a better win percentage in the AFC. Of course, the Colts, the current No. 6 seed, could quickly change that by beating them at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday and owning what is could be a pivotal head-to-head tiebreaker with all of these playoff scenarios. 

On top of that slight edge in the current playoff picture, each team is looking to keep pace in their respective divisions. Indianapolis is currently tied with the Tennessee Titans atop the AFC South, while Baltimore finds itself two games behind the undefeated Steelers, who just beat them back in Week 8. While the Ravens are looking to bounce back from that loss last week, the Colts are riding into this game with some serious momentum after Philip Rivers threw for three touchdowns in their 41-21 win over Detroit. 

Given the talent on both rosters, this game is primed to be one of the better matchups on the Week 9 slate. With that in mind, here’s how you can watch Ian Eagle, Charles Davis, and Evan Washburn when they’re on the call for this AFC showdown on CBS. 

How to watch

Date: SundayNov. 8 | Time: 1 p.m. ET 
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, IN) 
TV: CBS | Stream: CBS All Access
Follow: CBS Sports App

Preview

Week 8 proved to be a much different experience for each of these starting quarterbacks. 

Against the Steelers, Lamar Jackson didn’t look like the reigning MVP of the NFL, turning the ball over four times (two fumbles, two interceptions). One of those turnovers (Jackson’s second throw of the day), was picked off by a Steelers defender and taken the house for six. One reason why Jackson may have struggled through the air was a lack of connection between him and second-year receiver Marquise Brown, who had just one reception in the loss to Pittsburgh. That poor chemistry has been a theme all season for the Jackson-Brown duo as he has yet to go over 100 yards receiving since doing so in the Week 1 opener. 

One bright spot to the offense, however, was rookie running back J.K. Dobbins, who filled in quite nicely for Mark Ingram, who missed last Sunday’s contest. He turned in a career-high 113 yards rushing on 7.5 yards per carry against a stout Steelers run defense. Given that success on the ground against such a formidable opponent, Baltimore will be looking for a repeat performance against a Colts defense that’s just behind Pittsburgh as the third-best unit in the NFL in DVOA. 

Meanwhile, Philip Rivers was all sorts of awesome against the Lions, throwing for 262 yards and three touchdowns while completing nearly 70% of his passes. Two of those touchdowns fell into the hands of running back Nyheim Hines (also had a rushing score) and the other went to tight end Jack Doyle. Over his last two games, Rivers has been heating up, averaging 316.5 passing yards per game and has a 6-1 TD-INT ratio. The Colts are also averaging 36 points per game over that stretch. If this is Rivers turning the corner in his first year with Indy, the Colts will be a team to watch in the second half of the season, especially with such a strong defense to complement the veteran quarterback. 

Prediction

This game is likely to come down to Baltimore’s front-seven vs. Philip Rivers. The Ravens come into Week 9 with the third-highest blitz rate (42%) in the NFL, but that could play into Rivers’ hands as he’s done quite well when pressured. Against the blitz this season, Rivers owns a 121.2 passer rating and has four touchdowns with no interceptions. Given that track record, he should continue to thrive when Baltimore empties the kitchen sink. 

Meanwhile, the Ravens will be operating without star offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury last week. With Stanley off the field, Ravens quarterbacks have been pressured nearly 7% more often, which is to be expected. While Jackson will likely be able to sneak his way out of some pressure, Stanley’s absence will play a factor and further gives the edge to Indianapolis. To see how the rest of our CBS Sports experts feel about this game, click here.  

Score: Indianapolis 23, Baltimore 17

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here