Baltimore arrives in town with a woefully inadequate offense that is averaging 21.4 points per game at 3.0 yards per rush play, 6.1 yards per pass attempt and 4.8 yards per play this season. Overall, the Ravens are 1.1 yards per rush play, 0.4 yards per pass play and 0.6 yards per play worse than average offensively, which is not good enough to exploit the inadequacies of Detroit’s stop unit.
Detroit Defense vs. Baltimore Offense:
- +1.3 yards per rush play advantage
- +0.1 yards per pass attempt advantage
- +0.4 yards per play advantage overall
Baltimore is extremely fortunate to even find itself in the AFC wildcard race after last week’s miraculous win over the Vikings wherein the Ravens were outgained 325 yards at 4.2 yards per play to 379 yards at 6.0 yards per play. The challenge for Baltimore’s overrated defense is to stop a Detroit attack that is averaging 31.7 points per game at home this season at 4.6 yards per rush play, 7.8 yards per pass attempt and 6.5 yards per play. Overall, the Lions are averaging 411 total yards per game at 6.0 yards per play against teams that combine to allow just 5.6 yards per play.
Detroit Offense vs. Baltimore Defense:
- -0.5 yards per rush play disadvantage
- +0.5 yards per pass attempt advantage
- +0.2 yards per play advantage overall
Neither team is going to have success running the ball so we can expect an aerial approach from both squads tonight. The concern for Baltimore fans is the fact that the Ravens are allowing 26.8 points per game on the road this season, including 7.5 yards per pass attempt, 5.7 yards per play and 12.9 yards per point. In other words, the Ravens’ defense is susceptible to giving up the big play and can be exploited through the air where opposing quarterbacks are completing 60.5% of their passes at home.
Motivation will not be an issue for Detroit, especially for wide receiver Calvin Johnson who was called “old” by Baltimore rookie safety Matt Elam. “He’s pretty old, so I don’t know how physical he’ll be,” Elam said. “He’s a big guy, but he’s older. I guess when they get older they’re not going to be as physical, you know what I’m saying? We’re going to have to be physical, make him uncomfortable.” Johnson wasted no time in responding to the rookie’s denigrating remarks. “Sometimes you just need to know when to keep your mouth shut, but you know, he’s a rookie, he’ll learn.”
The Lions control their own destiny in the NFC North and Ford Field will be boisterous as ever for tonight’s prime time contest. The favorites have dominated on Monday night recently, winning and covering each of the last four weeks (73% ATS this year overall), while the past three Monday contests have been decided by double-digits. The experts at Pro Edge lean with Detroit, but the point spread has become slightly inflated at this point as many off shore books currently have the Lions as 6.5-point favorites. We still like the Lions at -6.5 (or better) on Monday Night Football.