Keys for the Ravens
Playoff games often turn on one or two big plays, and special teams often find their way into that category. It might be a key field goal, fumble or kick return.
If that's the case in Sunday's Wild Card playoff game with the Colts, the Ravens could be in good shape as special teams have been one of their strong points all season long.
Justin Tucker finished sixth in the NFL in terms of accuracy in field goals. He made 30 of 33 kicks (90.9 percent), missing one in last Sunday's loss to the Bengals. Tucker's also been very solid with kickoffs, almost always putting them deep into the end zone and stopping the opposition from getting any type of return.
Tucker's also shown the ability to get kicks late and long, two things that often come up in playoff games. Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri has been down that road himself, twice making last-second kicks that gave the Patriots victories in the Super Bowl several years ago.
Tucker looks to be that kind of kicker, and since playoff games often are close, good teams need a kicker who can make a field goal in the closing seconds.
Punter Sam Koch has been solid all season -- and throughout his career -- with pinning teams deep with good and well-placed punts. He had problems with that last week in the loss to the Bengals, but that's been a rarity.
This year, the Ravens have gotten an extra special teams weapon in kick returner Jacoby Jones.
Jones earned a Pro Bowl spot thanks to his two kickoff returns for touchdowns plus one punt return touchdown. He's been good abouit getting some kind of return on punts and kicks to help the offense start with better field position. That can prove crucial in close games, something that playoff contests usually wind up as.