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NFL Betting: Ravens vs. Lions Preview

Posted by Stan Jenkins on 12/15/2013 11:35:30 AM
NFL Betting: Ravens vs. Lions Preview

The Baltimore Ravens just played one of the craziest games in NFL history this past weekend against the Minnesota Vikings. The Detroit Lions played one of the more bizarre games of the 2013 season. How will each team manage to rebound this week with so much at stake on both sides? This is going to be a fascinating Monday Night Football matchup… and a very important one as well. Baltimore and Detroit are both fighting for their playoff lives, and this time, they won’t be playing in snow.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Detroit Lions

Odds: Lions -7

Total: 48

The Baltimore Ravens trailed the Minnesota Vikings by a 12-7 score just before the two-minute mark of Sunday’s game in Baltimore. A low-scoring contest featured two offenses that were having a very tough time moving the ball. The Ravens have dealt with injuries and other losses (due to player transactions) this season that have depleted their core group of wide receivers. Quarterback Joe Flacco was failing for the first 57 minutes of Sunday’s game, and so it was reasonable to think that the Ravens weren’t going to be able to find a way to beat Minnesota on a day they had to come through. With the Miami Dolphins winning on the road in Pittsburgh against the Steelers, the Ravens had to keep pace in order to stay in front in the race for the AFC’s sixth and final playoff spot. Trailing 12-7, Baltimore needed a jump start on offense.

Flacco came through. He hit tight end Dennis Pitta on a short touchdown pass at the end of a sustained drive to give Baltimore the lead. A successful two-point pass made the score 15-12 for the Ravens. However, when Minnesota scored just 38 seconds later on a 41-yard touchdown run with 1:27 left, the odds were substantially tilted against Baltimore. Could this struggling offense really score a second time in the final 2:05 to win a game?

The offense didn’t have to worry. Jacoby Jones returned the ensuing Minnesota kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown. The Ravens seemed all set to win. Yet, Minnesota struck like lightning on a 79-yard touchdown pass with 45 ticks left on the clock to retake the lead, 26-22. Surely the Ravens were done, then.

They weren’t.

Flacco led a furious drive down the field and managed to put his team in position to win. Then, with four seconds to go, Flacco found Marlon Brown on a nine-yard touchdown pass that won the game, 29-26. The first 57 minutes and 54 seconds produced 19 total points. The final 2:06 witnessed 36 points. The Ravens and Vikings played in snow, and the conditions did all sorts of crazy things to the final outcome.

The same is true for Baltimore’s opponent on Monday. Detroit returned two kicks for touchdowns in thick snow against Philadelphia, but the Lions’ rush defense couldn’t handle the conditions in a 34-20 loss to the Eagles.

Prediction

Neither team can be easily evaluated or trusted after a pair of snow games. Yet, Detroit – playing at home and at night – should probably be able to win due to a clear advantage in terms of skill position talent. Baltimore should be able to cover the spread, though.

Pick: Ravens +7

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