Week 15 Preview: Ravens vs. Lions

| December 13, 2013 | 0 Comments

photoBaltimore Ravens (7-6)

At

Detroit Lions (7-6)

Monday at 8:40pm, Ford Field, Detroit, MI

Line: Lions -5.5

The Ravens make their first appearance on Monday Night Football this year as they battle the Detroit Lions. This game is crucial for both teams in their quest to make the playoffs. It is also a matchup between two teams that have been wildly inconsistent all season. Whichever team has their “good” side show up will win the game, but with both of these teams this season you never what kind of performance you will get.

The Ravens are coming into the game with a three-game winning streak, with the last two of those games coming down to the final play, and all of their offensive weapons back. The Ravens seem to be peaking at the right time, however, this is their first road game in the last four weeks and they have only won once on the road this season. Ravens fans have to be skeptical about going into Detroit and coming out victorious.

Hopefully the Ravens continue their winning streak, but it is hard to know what to expect from this team.

Here is my take on the game:

Ravens offense vs. Lions defense

The Ravens offense certainly had a flair for the dramatic last week. The offense was pretty bad for first three quarters of the game (…and that was against one of the worst defenses in the league), granted the conditions probably played a factor in the offensive struggles.

This week the Ravens are facing one of the better defenses in the league. The Lions yield less than 100 yards per game on the ground so to think this is the week Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce get on track is probably incorrect. Despite their reputations of being dirty players, the Lions may have the best defensive line in football and they will be going against one of the worst offensive lines in football.

While the Lions have struggled against the pass this season, and while Flacco now has his full arsenal of pass catchers (the return of Pitta outweighs the loss of Stokley), it will be hard for the Ravens to move the ball if the offensive line can’t block the Lions defensive line. Some quick slants and bubble screens to Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones would be smart, because I have a feeling Flacco might not have more than a few seconds to throw the ball before he has a Detroit defender in his face. If he has time, Flacco can pick apart this secondary (the Lions rank 25th against the pass), but I just don’t know how much time he will be the given.

Advantage:  Lions

Lions offense vs. Ravens defense

I know Matt Elam was a first round draft pick and has played well for the most part, but someone needs to give him some advice: Do not call out the best receiver in football a few days before your team is to face him. I expected a 150+ yard game from Calvin Johnson before those comments and now I think he may have 200 yards and multiple touchdowns.

Not only will the Ravens defense need to find a way to slow down Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford, they will also need to worry about Reggie Bush who should play this week after missing last week. A healthy Bush plus ideal conditions inside the dome makes this Lions offense almost impossible to shut down for an entire game.

If the Ravens are going to have any chance of stopping the Lions offense they will need to generate a pass rush which has been almost nonexistent in the last two games. If they can’t get pressure on Stafford he will pick them apart and the Lions may score 40 points.

I don’t envy Dean Pees and the rest of the defensive coaching staff who have to try and put a game plan together against the Lions offense this week.

Advantage: Lions

Special Teams

I wish I could give some in-depth analysis here but there really isn’t much to say. Justin Tucker and Jacoby Jones might be the two best players at their respective special teams positions and are major weapons who can change a game. Those two are the reason the Ravens have a special teams advantage over just about everybody else and they will need to continue their stellar play if the Ravens are going to have a chance to win this game.

Field position will be key and if Jacoby Jones wants to take a return to the house, I am sure the Ravens wouldn’t mind too much.

Advantage: Ravens

Prediction

By no means are the Lions unbeatable (they have lost six times this season including at home to Tampa), but I just think this is a terrible matchup for the Ravens.

The Lions have lost three of their last four games but will be at home in primetime. Plus the Ravens have been awful away from home this season. I do think the Ravens are peaking at the right time and they will get into the playoffs but I do not see them coming out victorious in this game.

I see no way the defense holds down the Lions offense, so the Ravens offense will probably need to score in the 30s to win. I don’t think they will be able to do that unless they force a bunch of turnovers.

A loss is here will be bad but will not end the Ravens playoff hope. I want to say the Ravens will win but I just don’t see how.

Lions 30 Ravens 17

 

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About the Author:

I have spent my entire 30 years living in Maryland and I love everything about this city. Despite the bad reputation the city has, Baltimore will always be a special place to me and I love living here. There is nothing better then Sunday afternoons at M&T Bank Stadium and summer nights at Camden Yards when the Yard is packed. You can find me all over the city so don't hesitate to share your opinion of me good or bad. Who knows, if you see me out maybe I will buy you a Natty Boh. Lets go Ravens and Lets go O's!!! Follow me on Twitter at @MRomanell.
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