Here at The Baltimore Wire, we are indeed wired up for the big showdown between the Baltimore Ravens and the Detroit Lions on Monday night – another game that will likely go down to the wire! Why’re we saying that? Well, that is the nature of the Ravens 2013 season.
This is a must-win game for both teams, as each come in at 7-6 and in a battle for final playoffs spots in their respective conferences.
Each team has also come off snow bowl games, with the Ravens winning in fabulous fashion 29-26 at home over the Vikings, while the Lions dropped a 34-20 contest in Philadelphia.
These would appear to be teams going in opposite directions, as the Ravens have won three consecutive games, while the Lions have dropped three of the past four. But the Ravens’ modest winning streak is all at home, whereas their road record is but 1-5.
The defenses are fairly similar, with an edge to the Ravens relative to defending the pass; but the Vikings have an offensive advantage at 410-310 yards per game.
|AP Pro32 ranking #14 … Last week #11||AP Pro32 ranking #12 … Last week #14|
|Pass offense: 3rd||297||Pass offense: 20th||228|
|Rush offense: 18th||113||Rush offense: 28th||82|
|Pass defense: 23rd||256||Pass defense: 12th||232|
|Rush defense: 6th||99||Rush defense: 8th||102|
It would appear that the contest may well come down to the passing game for each side. Detroit is 3rd in the league, but Joe Flacco has Dennis Pitta back, and with him (and the better play of the receiving corps) the air game for the Ravens is better than their current 20th-place ranking in the NFL. Lions defensive backs Chris Houston (toe) and Darius Slay (knee) are both doubtful for Monday’s game, though the Ravens’ line will have all they can do to keep Flacco free from the dominant defensive front featuring Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.
The Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson connection has accounted for 1,351yards this year. Added to this is another 1455 from Kris Dunham and running backs Joique Bell and Reggie Bush. Bush has run for 854 yards, though he is questionable Monday due to a muscle pull.
So all in all, this would look to shape up to be an aerial show, perhaps salted with some special teams runbacks from the Ravens’ Jacoby Jones and Jeremy Ross of the Lions. Jones’ two runbacks that tiptoed the left sideline the past two weeks are going to be the stuff of Ravens legend. But this past Sunday in Philadephia, Ross ran back a pair of touchdowns on a 98-yard kickoff return and a punt return of 58.
Ravens safety Matt Elam did a rookie thing this past week by referencing star receiver Calvin Johnson as “pretty old.” Johnson is 28, whereas Elam is 22. You know – remember how old 8th-graders looked when you were in 2nd Grade? I guess it is something like that?
Among responses from Johnson was this cool line,
“He plays back. I don’t see him every play unless I run past him.”
Among responses from John Harbaugh, “I think everybody’s old to Matt Elam. Matt’s pretty young, and hopefully he learns from his opportunity to speak to the media this week.”
Among responses from Joe Flacco, “”You just kind of look at him and say ‘Dude, what are you thinking? It’s Calvin Johnson.’”
To Matt Elam I say, “Dude, I understand that last Sunday was the first time you ever saw snow in your life and that you did not grow up playing in it like most of us did when we were kids. But you were horrible last week and looked like a stork on ice. Just quietly deflect passes and tackle people.”