Monday night will be a night to remember as the 7-6 Baltimore Ravens will walk into Ford Field to play the 7-6 Detroit Lions. The Lions have plenty to play for, as do the Ravens as both have playoff hopes on the line. This will be a game played mostly through the air, but won in the trenches. With that said, can the Ravens’ O-Line keep Joe Flacco upright to get the ball off?
While the Lions come into this game with only 27 sacks on the season (30th in league), they have been catching fire in the last three games as they have had 11 sacks over that span. The Ravens will need to be on the lookout for Ezekiel Ansah and Ndamukong Suh, as they lead the group with 12.5 sacks collectively.
The Ravens haven’t been the best at protecting Flacco as they are ranked sixth in the league, letting Flacco get sacked 41 times. He has also been hit 70 times, which also explains his career-high 17 interceptions on the season. He cannot be accurate when being rattled by defenders.
Former Ravens player Troy Smith once said “pressure bust pipes or pressure will make diamonds”. There are two types of pressure. There is pocket pressure and pressure of the game on the line; Baltimore would prefer not to have either, but when the game is on the line, pocket integrity can’t be an issue.
If A.Q. Shipley, Gino Gradkowski and Michael Oher can keep Flacco out of the clutches of Suh and Ansah, he could possibly have a big day against this porous Lions’ secondary. I called out only three linemen because Marshall Yanda and Eugene Monroe have done their job. It is the other three starters who fail to pass protect long enough for Flacco to get the rock off.
Baltimore needs Juan Castillo to coach these boys up so the Ravens can keep their playoff hopes alive.