(Updated: 12:35 p.m.)
BALTIMORE — It will be a day unlike any other in the history of Baltimore sports as the Ravens not only host a playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium for the second straight year but the legendary Ray Lewis takes his final bow in front of the home fans.
The Ravens will meet the Indianapolis Colts for the third time ever in the postseason, with the former Baltimore franchise holding a 2-0 record. Of course, the subplots run deep in this one as former Ravens defensive coordinator and current Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano returns to Baltimore after beating leukemia. The Colts completed a remarkable turnaround from a 2-14 mark last season to an 11-5 record with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck to earn a wild-card spot.
The winner of this game travels to Denver next Saturday to take on the No. 1 seed Broncos.
Baltimore will be without starting left guard Jah Reid, who was listed as questionable with a toe injury. The second-year offensive lineman did very little during the portions of practice open to the media, leading us to believe the injury was a concern heading into the weekend.
Most would assume the Ravens would go with veteran Bobbie Williams at left guard in Reid’s place, but the 36-year-old has been ineffective in his first season in Baltimore. Another scenario would be to insert veteran Bryant McKinnie at left tackle, shift Michael Oher to the right side and move rookie Kelechi Osemele to left guard, but that would be a lot of shuffling to do for a group that hasn’t played together all season.
For what it’s worth, the Ravens’ starting offense used McKinnie at left tackle during pre-game warmups with Oher and Osemele moving to the aforementioned spots.
As expected, safety Bernard Pollard and wide receiver Tandon Doss are both active after being listed as questionable on the final injury report. Pollard missed the last three games of the regular season with a rib injury but has practiced the last two weeks.
And, of course, Ray Lewis is active and expected to start at inside linebacker next to Dannell Ellerbe. It will be Lewis’ first action since suffering a torn triceps against Dallas in Week 6.
Meanwhile, Indianapolis will also be without its starting left guard as Joe Reitz was ruled out Friday as he continues to recover from a concussion. Jeff Linkenbach would presumably start in his place on the Colts offensive line.
The Colts will also be without offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who is ill and was taken to the hospital. Quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen will handle the play-calling duties.
The Ravens will wear their purple jerseys with black pants while Indianapolis will be dressed in white tops and white pants.
Mike Carey will be the referee for this wild-card meeting.
Here are Sunday’s inactives …
G Jah Reid
S Omar Brown
CB Chris Johnson
LB Adrian Hamilton
OL Ramon Harewood
WR Deonte Thompson
DT Bryan Hall
WR Nathan Palmer
CB Teddy Williams
S Delano Howell
RB Delone Carter
DT Kellen Heard
G Joe Reitz
T Tony Hills
Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the day as Drew Forrester, Nestor Aparicio, and I bring live updates and analysis from M&T Bank Stadium.
(Updated: 12:35 p.m.)