1:00 ET @ M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland
The Baltimore Ravens come into this game finding themselves at 6-6 and needing to win four straight games to have a chance at the playoffs. After dropping to the Packers on Monday night, the Ravens have failed to win back-to-back games for the third straight time. They haven't won back-to-back contests since weeks two and three. With the Ravens' playoff starting this week, they have an easy test - the Detroit Lions. The Steelers lost for the 5th straight game on Thursday night giving Baltimore a good opportunity.
The Lions come in 2-27 in their last 29 games. They come in 0-18 in their last 18 road games with their last road win coming against the Bears in week eight of 2007. In fact, since the start of the 2002 season, the Lions are 8-53 in road games. Right now, they are just looking to play spoiler for playoff hopeful teams. They want to start with that in Baltimore.
Baltimore Ravens vs. injuries
On Saturday morning, the Ravens' injury report was full. Some of the most notable being Mark Clayton, Ed Reed, and two others listed as doubtful with Jarret Johnson, Terrell Suggs, and Jared Gaither listed as questionable.
If Suggs and Johnson are unable to play, there is literally no pass rush coming from Baltimore. That could be an issue that could propel the Lions to an upset.
If Clayton is unable to play, its not that big of a deal. Kelley Washington would move over to the 2nd spot. With Washington being solid all year, Flacco will be fine with that.
Terrell Suggs vs. The Baltimore District Courts
Terrell Suggs allegedly held a bottle of bleach over top his ex-girlfriend, Candace Williams, and threatened to pour it on her.
Ms. Williams was granted a restraining order and now is suing Suggs for custody of the kids and... get this... 70 million dollars. SEVENTY MILLION! Suggs' current contract that he signed in early 2009 is only worth 63 million!
If Suggs did what he did, it is indeed horrible. But Ms. Williams is CRAZY if she thinks she can get 70 million just from a threat.
As Ravens fans, we just have to hope that this will not effect is on the field play at all because he is desperately needed for the remainder of the year.
Players to Watch:
Joe Flacco - Quarterback - Baltimore Ravens
Joe Flacco is slipping and slipping fast.
As the Baltimore Sun showed in their Thursday issue, Flacco is experiencing a sort of a sophomore slump within a sophomore slump.
Jamison Hensley writes,
"This year, he put up Pro Bowl numbers in his first seven games, completing 66 percent of his passes and averaging 264.1 passing yards per game. He threw 12 touchdown passes and five interceptions.
Flacco's downward spiral has occurred over his past five games, in which his completion rate has dipped to 58.9 percent and his passing yards per game have dropped to 206.4. He has thrown two touchdown passes and six interceptions."
In the last five games, you can pull out two of those interceptions that may have cost Baltimore the game. You have the one in the redzone late against the Colts and the one late against the Packers just last Monday.
Sunday's game against the Lions needs to be a kick start for Joe Flacco. Detroit is dead last against the pass with 275 yards allowed per game.
Flacco is key to a Ravens playoff run and a good 300 yard game against the Lions this week will start a roll for Joe.
Ray Rice - Running Back - Baltimore Ravens
Rice has been running all over opposing defenses, slicing and dicing his way through their linemen. However, last week against the Packers, he broke his 8 game streak of at least 100 yards from scrimmage. You can't really blame him though, the offensive line for Baltimore sucked and the Packers defense is one of the best in the NFL.
Just like Flacco, now is the time for Rice to bounce back and set the tone for what appears to be seven straight wins if Baltimore wants to make the Super Bowl.
Detroit is 19th against the rush and allows 113.4 yards per game.
Seeing as how the Lions are last against the pass, the Ravens will probably go back to their week one and two roots and air it out for big scores. Look for Rice to be a favorite target of Joe the Show.
Daunte Culpepper - Quarterback - Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford will not play this Sunday and the Ravens are more than fine with that. Since September 2007, Baltimore is 7-2 against fill-in QB's.
I'll throw it over to Jamison Hensley once more.
"This trend for the Ravens began in September 2007, when the New York Jets had to start Kellen Clemens instead of Chad Pennington. The other backups were St. Louis' Gus Frerotte, Buffalo's Trent Edwards, Miami's Cleo Lemon, Pittsburgh's Charlie Batch, Houston's Sage Rosenfels, Cincinnati's Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kansas City's Brodie Croyle and Pittsburgh's Dennis Dixon.
Those nine backups have combined to throw for eight touchdowns and 15 interceptions against the Ravens. They have averaged 210 passing yards. Their completion rate is 53.3 percent. In the Ravens' seven wins against them, their average margin of victory is 15.4 points."
Baltimore has won five straight match-ups against fill-ins starting with Charlie Batch.
If the Lions want a chance to win, Daunte will have to channel his inner Trent Edwards or Cleo Lemons. Well... it may just be a better idea to channel his inner 2004.
Calvin Johnson - Wide Receiver - Detroit Lions
The success of the Lions depends heavily on Calvin Johnson. He has an insane mismatch on any corner that decides to cover him and the Ravens are backed up on defense as well.
Calvin has 47 catches and 730 yards for 15.5 yards per catch. He also has four scores on a lowly Lions team.
Tom Zbikowski - Safety - Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens will be resting Ed Reed and rightfully so. Reed has nagging groin and foot injuries that also kept him out last week against the Packers. In a game like this, no need for Reed to play.
Last week, Big Z had an interception and four tackles.
The Ravens could win this one while resting some of their key players, like they are. My advice is to keep Suggs out along with Clayton and Reed. Let Joe Flacco air it out some as well and get his mojo back.
There isn't very much the Lions can do to stop the Ravens on offense or defense. Baltimore wins 37-10.
Just a few days after forcing and recovering a big fumble in overtime saving the Saints' perfect season, New Orleans cuts former Ravens' corner Chris McAlister.
Kicker Billy Cundiff is listed as probable for this week's game and the injury reports sites a concussion as the reason. Leads me to think... how in the world does he have a concussion?
In other Billy Cundiff news, his facebook group is only up to 455 members. Want to change that? Click here.