This NFC vs AFC clash features 2 teams desperately fighting for Wild Card spots in their respective conferences. The Detroit Lions are trying to chase down one of the NFC Wild Card spots and needs help from other teams ahead of them. The Baltimore Ravens are currently holding the last AFC Wild Card spot, but have several teams chasing after them. With each team needing this win, who will get the crucial Week 13 victory? Kickoff inside M&T Bank Stadium is at 1 PM ET.
These two teams have faced off only 4 times since the Ravens came into the league. Baltimore holds a 3-1 record against the Lions, including a win in their last encounter about 4 years ago.
Detroit (6-5) has a solid road record of 4-1 and needs to bounce back after their home loss to the Vikings last week. The loss basically eliminated them from a shot at the NFC North division and now they have to chase down the teams ahead of them for a chance at the NFC Wild Card spot. Detroit had won 3 straight games prior to their loss to Minnesota and need a win badly this week on the road.
Baltimore (6-5) is 3-2 at home and has won 3 out of their last 4 games. They are right in the thick of things for the AFC Wild Card, but have no realistic chance of catching the Steelers for the AFC North division title. Baltimore will be fighting it out with a handful of teams over the rest of the season for a chance to make the playoffs. Can the Ravens extend their winning streak to 3 games with a victory over the Lions this weekend?
The spread opened with Baltimore favored by 3. For most sports books, the spread has remained unchanged. The Over/Under opened at 41.5 points and has gone up to 43 total points.
Baltimore is catching fire at the right time. Once December hits, the real contenders will start making their move toward the playoffs and win some tough games throughout that push. This is an example of a tough game that Baltimore needs to win to really show the rest of the conference that they are a real contender.
The Ravens have beaten up on teams over the last 2 weeks that are seriously lacking in the QB department due to each team losing their starting QB for the season. On MNF, the Ravens beat up on a Houston Texans team that’s struggling to win with their backup QB Tom Savage. Two weeks ago, the Ravens shutdown the Packers and backup QB Brett Hundley. But, this week, they are going to have a tougher time with the QB as Matt Stafford comes to town.
Stafford is 5th in the league with 3,010 passing yards and 4th with 21 touchdown throws. He’s also been very careful with the ball as he’s only thrown 6 interceptions. Baltimore has prided itself on takeaways as they lead the NFL with 18 picks and are 2nd in the league at allowing only 17ppg. So, the battle between this Ravens defense and Stafford will ultimately decide the game.
If you look at Stafford’s counterpart, Ravens QB Joe Flacco, the Lions clearly have the advantage here. Flacco has had a horrible season as he’s thrown more picks than TD’s at 11-to-9. He’s hurt his team more than helped them this year and he will have a tough matchup against an aggressive Lions defense that has been prone to giving up passing yards as they allow 256 ypg. But, does anyone have faith in Flacco anymore? I certainly don’t.
Baltimore’s recent success can be directly attributed to their run game and their defense. But, that can only last so long. You need good QB play and they are not getting it. I think that will bite them in the feathers this week as the Lions get the win in Baltimore.
Detroit will have 10 days off since their last game, while the Ravens will only have 6 days rest. I see this helping the Lions as they will have regrouped and prepared hard for their road game at Baltimore. I think the Ravens are due for a slip up and this will be the week.
Stafford is averaging 273 passing ypg and the Ravens are only allowing 208 ypg. But, a lot of that can be attributed to playing against weak passing attacks like: Houston, GB, Ten, Miami, Chicago and Cleveland. Against teams that have great QB’s and solid passing attacks, Baltimore has struggled. For example, they lost to Pittsburgh and Minnesota who both have surging passing games and solid QB play. To further bolster my argument, Baltimore also beat Oakland when their starting QB Carr was out with a back injury.
I believe Stafford is going to head into Baltimore and pull off the upset. Over his last 5 games, Stafford has faced two of the league’s Top 5 defenses in Minnesota and Pittsburgh. In those games, Stafford threw for 673 yards, 2 TD’s and 1 pick. The Lions offense was able to total 771 yards and 38 points over those games.
If Detroit can have success against Minnesota and Pittsburgh then I believe they can do it against the Ravens. Stafford will make the plays late in the game to get the winning score as he throws for 275 yards, 3 TD’s and 1 interception. Lions beat the Ravens 24-23.
Baltimore is 2-3-1 ATS in their last 6 games, 2-4 ATS in their last 6 home games, and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games against NFC opponents. Detroit is 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games as an Underdog of 3 points or less.