Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano knows the Ravens defense about as well as anyone.
He coordinated the group in 2011 – the Ravens ranked third in the NFL with Pagano at the helm – before the Colts came calling with a head coaching offer. Many of the defensive pieces have changed since Pagano was in Baltimore, but he still sees the same kind of swarming unit when he turns on the Ravens' game tape.
"It just looks like a scary movie," Pagano said. "Scary Movie 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, whatever you want to call it."
Baltimore's defense has given opposing offenses nightmares this year.
The unit ranks second in the NFL in points allowed (15) per game, and is the top red-zone defense in the league. Offenses are coming away with touchdowns on just 27.3 percent of their trips inside the red zone against Baltimore.
"All I know is they are extremely well coached," Pagano said. "They're as tough as damn nails."
Facing the Colts will be the toughest test to date for the Ravens. The Colts are the NFL's top-ranked offensive team in yards (444) and points (34) per game. They have topped 40 points in back-to-back weeks.
"We're doing some good things, but you realize that the Ravens defense is a beast of its own," quarterback Andrew Luck said. "What a great front seven. Great guys that can cover in the secondary. Obviously with Terrell Suggs, and [Elvis] Dumervil, [Courtney] Upshaw and [Pernell] McPhee, they have a bunch of guys that can rush the passer. Haloti Ngata is a game wrecker. We know we're going to have our hands full."
In addition to the play in the red zone, a strength of the defense has been the way they've shut down opposing teams on the ground. Ngata and nose tackle Brandon Williams have been stout on the interior of the line, freeing up linebackers C.J. Mosley and Daryl Smith to make tackles in space.
The Ravens have the league's seventh-best run defense, giving up just 82.5 yards per game.
"You can't run the flippin ball on them," Pagano said. "Front to back, they have playmakers everywhere. They run to the ball, tackle well, cover well. Front to back, they have a bunch of game wreckers over there, and obviously a bunch of guys that we have a tremendous amount of respect for. We'll prepare accordingly."