In order to get a grasp on this primetime matchup, we’ve enlisted the help of those who know these teams the best.
Expert NFL bloggers Justin Silberman of Baltimore blog “The Purple Chaos” and Zac Snyder of Detroit blog “SideLion Report” strap on the pads and butt heads over which team not only wins but covers on Monday Night Football: Ravens or Lions?
WHY DETROIT WILL COVER
Zac Snyder is the editor for SideLion Report. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @SideLionReport.
Tightening up turnovers
Turnovers have been a huge problem for the Detroit Lions with at least three in five of the last six games. Turnovers weren't such a problem earlier in the season, so it would seem this streak of continually shooting themselves in the foot will have to end at some point.
That point could come against the Ravens who rank tied for 24th in the league with just 17 turnovers forced on the season. Fewer turnovers means more points for the Lions and the Ravens offense hasn't shown they have what it takes to keep up.
The Lions find themselves in a "backs against the wall" situation not unlike what they faced against the Packers Thanksgiving Day. The Lions entered that nationally televised game with all sorts of questions to answer, after losing to the Steelers and Bucs, and responded with their best performance of the year. The Lions have been an up-and-down team, but this week's appearance on Monday Night Football has the all the makings of an "up" game.
Most NFL games end with a final margin of a touchdown or less but that is a trend the Lions have largely bucked this year. In five of their seven wins on the year, the Lions have won by a touchdown or more.
WHY BALTIMORE WILL COVER
Justin Silberman writes for “The Purple Chaos”. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @ThePurpleChaos.
Lions are their own worst enemy
Although the Lions are tied for first place in the NFC North, they’ve played their worst football of the season over the last month. After starting the season 6-3, Detroit has dropped three of its last four games, thanks in part to turnovers. The Lions have 15 giveaways during the past four weeks and a turnover differential of minus-11 - the worst in the NFL.
Quarterback Joe Flacco’s favorite target, tight end Dennis Pitta, returned with a bang during the Ravens’ 29-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 14. Pitta, who dislocated his hip in late July, had six catches for 48 yards and delivered a touchdown in the red zone. In addition, on the Ravens’ game-winning drive, he drew an 18-yard pass interference penalty and hauled in an 18-yard pass to set up Flacco’s nine-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown.
Since missing two field goals against the Cleveland Browns in Week 2, kicker Justin Tucker has made 27 consecutive field goals - the longest active streak in the NFL. Overall, he’s 29-of-31, including four of five from 50-plus yards. Playing in a dome, Tucker should get plenty of opportunities to kick, especially if Baltimore’s offense can consistently move the ball against the Lions’ 17th-ranked defense.
Join the debate. Who covers the spread Monday night: Ravens or Lions?