Detroit Lions vs. Baltimore Ravens Preview and Pick – Point Spread

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Ravens vs. Detroit Lions Pick

Detroit Lions (2-10 3-8-1 ATS) vs. Baltimore Ravens (6-6 6-6 ATS) M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Week 14 NFL, MD 1 PM EST Sunday December 13, 2009 on FOX
by Jason Green at

Point Spread: Lions +13.5 / Ravens -13.5
Over/Under: 42.5

This Sunday afternoon the Baltimore Ravens host the Detroit Lions. After Monday night’s loss to the Packers the Ravens are now 6-6 and they have to finish well just to snag a Wild Card berth. Winning the AFC North is very unlikely, as they trail Cincinnati by 3 games in the division and they were swept by the Bengals this season. The schedule is on the side of the Ravens, as they do not play one team in their last 4 games that currently has a winning record, but their 2nd to last game is at Pittsburgh.

The Lions are headed towards another high draft pick and they have lost 2 in a row and have yet to win on the road this season (0-6). They are weak on both sides of the ball. Matthew Stafford was injured again in the Lions last loss so there is a good chance that he will not play in this game.

OK, to paint you a picture about this game let’s look at the stats: The Ravens offense is averaging more per game averages of total yards, passing yards, and rushing and their defense is giving up fewer per game averages of total yards, passing yards, and rushing yards. Add to the fact the game is in Baltimore and the Lions do not have their starting QB, so this game may get ugly, which the Lions are getting all too used to.

Last week the Lions lost to the Cincinnati Bengals 23-13 and the Baltimore Ravens lost to the Green Bay Packers 27-14.

In the Lions loss to the Lions the game was not really that close, as the Bengals had more passing and rushing yards in the game, but Cincinnati had 3 turnovers and they were penalized 9 times for 75 yards. Stafford had another bad game with 2 INT’s and only 1 TD with a miserable QB rating of only 41. The Bengals totally dominated the game in terms of time of possession (38:48 to 21:12). The Lions were underdogs by 13.5 points so they did cover the spread and the posted total of 42 was not surpassed.

In their loss to the Packers on Monday night both teams played a sloppy game, but especially the Ravens who committed 4 turnovers and were penalized 12 times for a whopping 135 yards. The Ravens did score 2 TD’s in the 2nd quarter, but they were blanked in the other 3 quarters. The Packers had more passing yards, more rushing yards, and dominated the game in terms of time of possession. The Ravens only had 185 total yards in the game and they only averaged 3.1 yards per rushing attempt. The Ravens were underdogs by 3.5 points so they did not cover and the posted total of 43 was not reached.

Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco has put up decent numbers this season and he should pad those numbers in this game playing against a Lions’ secondary that is giving up an average of 274.8 passing yards per game, which is the most in the league.

The Lions have been decent at stopping the run this season, allowing an average of 113.4 rushing yards per game, but they will give up big yards in this game to Ravens’ RB Ray Rice who is averaging a legit 4.8 yards per carry.

The Ravens’ defense ranks 10th in the league, but they are much better against the run than the pass. That may be a problem if Stafford were playing, but since backup Daunte Culpepper will get the start the Lions will not put up big numbers through the air. This season Culpepper only has a QB rating of 69.6 and has only hit on 56.9% of his passes.

One bright spot for the Lions is stellar WR Calvin Johnson, but he is banged up and who will get him the ball?

The Lions have given up 36 sacks this season so look for the Ravens to take Culpepper down a few times in this game, as the 11-year vet is not a spring chicken any more and not anywhere as nimble as he used to be in the pocket.

The Lions rushing attack, using that term very loosely, is led by RB Kevin Smith, who is only averaging 3.5 yards per carry. The Ravens’ D should stuff the run in this game, so do not count on the Lions moving the chains on the ground.

Jason’s Pick: The Lions have everything going against them in this game and they are facing a Ravens’ team that, pretty much, has to win. Look for the Ravens to come out strong and really take it to the Detroit defense, while the Lions’ offense will be held in check in this game. Take the Ravens to cover even though it is a big spread.