A little luck will make Frank Reich and the Indianapolis Colts a better team in 2018. A lot of Luck could make them a playoff contender. Playing for the first time since the end of the 2016 regular season, Andrew Luck looked strong in the preseason opener, leading the Colts to a win. With Luck sitting out the 2017 season with a shoulder injury, the Colts stumbled to a 4-12 record, just their third losing season since 1999 and the second-fewest wins in that stretch. Indy’s two wins in 2011 gave them the first overall pick in the 2012 draft, which they used to grab Luck. The comeback continues Monday against the Baltimore Ravens to conclude Week 2 of the preseason.
This duel in Week 2 of the preseason will go down Monday, August 20, 2018, at 8 p.m. ET at Lucas Oil Stadium. The game will air live on ESPN.
NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu
Baltimore Ravens +1
Indianapolis Colts -1
Few teams take the preseason as seriously as John Harbaugh and the Ravens, and that’s evidenced by their record. Baltimore won its 10th straight tune-up game by knocking off the Rams last week, improving to 9-1 ATS in those games. Despite that, the homestanding Colts opened as a 1-point favorite with the total at 41.
It’s time for the Ravens to get a look at an opponent’s group of starters, and that will happen on Monday night. It was hard to gauge the performance of the quarterbacks after going against a Rams team that sat nearly its entire No. 1 defense. Joe Flacco made his preseason debut and led the Ravens on a touchdown drive by completing 5 of 7 for 71 yards. Flacco’s only series ended with a 6-yard scoring pass.
The other QBs were just as lethal against the Rams JV team. Lamar Jackson succeeded Flacco and produced 10 points on this first two drives. Jackson played into the third quarter completing 7 of 18 for 119 yards. He also scampered for 21 yards on five carries. Robert Griffin finished the night by hitting 5 of 7 for 88 yards and a touchdown. John Harbaugh appears set on giving Jackson enough reps to take the primary backup job and the rotation should be challenged a bit more this week.
Welcome back, Andrew! After missing all of last season with a surgically repaired shoulder, Luck stepped onto the field in Seattle and looked like he never missed a snap. Overcoming the anxiety, Luck led two drives that resulted in field goals and completed 6 of 9 passes for 64 yards on the night. Reich said he wants to give Luck more reps after the QB was “exhausted” following his stint against Seattle.
Jacoby Brissett was next in line, ending his night with 35 yards on 6 of 8 passing. One of his three drives resulted in a field goal. Phillip Walker led the only touchdown drive of the night, throwing a scoring pass in the fourth quarter to ice the game.
Harbaugh and the Ravens like winning in the preseason. They enjoy it so much that they haven’t lost since 2015. In between the Ravens have won 10 straight exhibition matchups while going 9-1 ATS in that span. Overall, Harbaugh owns one of the best preseason records at 30-12.
Having been the offensive coordinator of the Super Bowl champion Eagles last season, Reich knows the value of having a quality backup quarterback. Four QBs played last week and the rotation could be similar. The rookie coach is establishing his own preseason style and it worked last week with the Colts winning outright on the road.
Free ATS Pick
They’ve played two preseason games, but Baltimore’s regulars haven’t gotten much work. A number of starters sat out the Hall of Fame game and the Ravens weren’t tested last week against the Rams. This will be the first real test for them in a game setting as they put a 10-game preseason winning streak on the line.
He doesn’t want to, but Reich will have to take a long look at inexperienced receivers to fill the roster behind T.Y. Hilton. The list of candidates became shorter when Deon Cain was lost for the year with a knee injury. Indy’s top two running backs won’t play as they deal with injury issues, so there’s a good chance the scoreboard doesn’t get overworked. And it’s hard to go against Harbaugh’s Ravens, who own one of the best records during the exhibition.
NFL Odds: Ravens 22, Colts 15
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