TV Schedule: Monday, Dec. 16, 8:40 p.m. ET, ESPN
Stadium: Ford Field
Weather: High 19, Low 18
Line: Detroit (-6)
The Baltimore Ravens may have won the Super Bowl one season ago, but they are now fighting for their playoff lives after a 7-6 start to the season and it may take winning out to get them to the postseason. Baltimore is led by highly-paid quarterback Joe Flacco who has passed for 3,238 yards and 18 touchdowns for the 20th-ranked passing offense in the league. Torrey Smith is by far the favorite receiver, catching 55 passes for 963 yards and four touchdowns as the next closest receiver, Marlon Brown, has caught 36 passes for 412 yards and six touchdowns. Ray Rice is struggling in the run game this season, rushing for just 549 yards and four touchdowns on three yards per carry.
Being considered as one of the most inconsistent teams with the most talent, the Detroit Lions have yet to put together a serious stretch of wins that could catapult them into a playoff lock. They have had many chances to run away with the division, but they falter under the scope. Matthew Stafford leads the team with 3,973 yards and 27 touchdowns while hitting his favorite target in Calvin Johnson more often than not. Johnson has caught 75 passes for 1,348 yards and 12 touchdowns, however, the second-leading receiver, Kris Durham, has caught 35 passes for 471 yards and two scores. Reggie Bush has struggled to stay healthy, but when he is, he’s a force to be reckoned with, rushing for 854 yards and three touchdowns while catching 45 passes for 448 yards and two scores.
Defensively, the Ravens have been one of the best teams in the NFL this season. Baltimore ranks eighth in both points allowed and rushing yards allowed per game while also ranking ninth in total yards allowed. Detroit has not been nearly as impressive, ranking 17th in total yards allowed per game and 25th in passing yards allowed while excelling on run defense, ranking sixth in the league in rush yards allowed per game.
PREDICTION: Ravens 28, Lions 31
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.