With only minutes left before the kickoff of the Monday Night Football showdown between the Baltimore Ravens and the Detroit Lions, one has to wonder what match-up will be the story of the evening. I believe the match-up to watch will be Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs against the offensive line of the Lions.
Baltimore boasts the 13th ranked pass rush in the NFL with 37 sacks. However, their production has slowed a bit since Week 5. The reason for the slip in sack production was because of the need to focus on the run-stop as they were gashed for a 100+ yard performance by Eddie Lacy. Now that the gaping holes in the defensive scheme have been addressed, it is time for the Ravens to get after the QB once again.
Matt Stafford has been kept clean for a majority of the season as he has only been sacked an NFL leading 15 times. The longer this strong-armed QB has in the pocket, the easier it is for him to hook up with his favorite target, Calvin Johnson AKA Megatron. Of course the team will still need to have a man set up to follow Reggie Bush all over the field, but the pass rush needs to be amped up in a way that will confuse and scare the Lions’ signal caller.
Detroit may be third in passing with 297.2 per game, but that is because they have faced mediocre pass rush this season as they have had a pretty fortuitous schedule. This is also because Detroit has invested in a stout line. They have a great mix of size and experience protecting their former No. 1 overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft. Tonight Baltimore will need to penetrate the great wall of Detroit, get into the backfield and rattle Stafford in order to effectively disrupt the Lions’ passing attack.