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Ravens: Crystal ball time

My prediction for today's showdown between the Ravens and the Colts is already in print, and it isn't a happy one. I fear the Colts will prevail by a score of 24-16, but the oddsmakers say the game will be closer. The last time I looked, the Ravens were only a 3 1/2-point underdog.

If it's any consolation, the line moved slightly toward the Ravens this weekend, probably when it became official that Colts safety Bob Sanders would be out for the third straight week following arthroscopic knee surgery, though that was no great surprise.

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For the Ravens to win, they have to exploit the Colts' mediocre defense against the run and keep Peyton Manning from having his way all day. The Colts merely have to reconstitute their offensive chemistry and put 20 points on the scoreboard against a Ravens secondary that again is decimated by injuries. That simple.

Big question: Can the Ravens maintain their defensive intensity after the team came up three points short in back-to-back bruising games against the Steelers and Titans?

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