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IT’S PREDICTION TIME: Ravens Control Destiny

Street Talk IT’S PREDICTION TIME: Ravens Control Destiny

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Ravens (+6 ½) at Lions

Over/Under at 50

One team’s loss is another team’s gain.

The Cincinnati Bengals, long believed to be a NOT-ready-for-prime-time team fueled criticisms that they and their quarterback aren’t built for the big stage, fell flat on their collective face in Pittsburgh last night while dropping to (9-5) on the season.

The loss left the door to the AFC North title wide open and for the Baltimore Ravens the path is clear – the game plan is simple…win out, win the division.

But while the path is clear it presents challenges and the terrain doesn’t exactly provide for a smooth ride beginning tonight in Detroit.

The Ravens have struggled on the road this season (1-5) but four of those setbacks were lost by a TOTAL of 15 points. On the road the Ravens seem to lose focus and that has been a pattern of the team after wins at home during the regular season. But with their backs to the wall, every game is a playoff game for John Harbaugh & Co. – a team that is battle-tested on the road during the playoffs where they’ve won more frequently than any team since the dawn of the new millennium.

Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco now has his go-to target TE Dennis Pitta available to him and Pitta’s presence alone loosens things up for Flacco’s other big-play potential targets Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones and developing rookie Marlon Brown who has 6 TD catches. The challenge Pitta presents helps to boost a previously sluggish running game that showed some life last week against the Vikings. Defensively the Ravens are as healthy as a team can be in Week 15 and they also have big play potential in the return game with Jones unless of course Mike Tomlin pays a visit to Ford Field on Monday Night.

That said, the Ravens offensive line has struggled this season, particularly the interior line where center Gino Gradkowski has struggled and backup RG AQ Shipley has at times been overwhelmed given his physical limitations. Regular Pro Bowler LG Marshal Yanda has not had the rock solid season that has been a staple of the Ravens offense. By kickoff Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley should be frothing at the mouth.

Defensively the Ravens have almost always been able to keep an opponent’s No. 1 receiver in check with effective bracket coverage. But in doing so it puts pressure on their linebackers to cover tight ends and running backs in the passing game and unfortunately the Lions have two threats in the forms of Brandon Pettigrew and Reggie Bush who could keep the chains moving and drives alive.

 

PREDICTION

Both teams need a win and this will be a closely fought game that should be a high scoring, seesaw affair. But in the end the home field advantage (aided in part by referee Carl Cheffers’ affinity for the host teams that win 73.6% of the time on Cheffers’ watch compared to a league average of 54.9%), the more explosive offensive weapons and a Ravens defense that has not been clutch in close games will pave the way to a Motor City win and force Ravens fans back to scoreboard watching during Week 16.

Last Game: 1-0 v. Winner, 0-1 v. Spread
Season Total: 7-6 v. Winner, 6-6-1 v. Spread

 

LIONS 31 RAVENS 27

What will happen tonight in Detroit?
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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin to being John Bonham. Follow Tony on Twitter @RussellStReport. More from Tony Lombardi
19 comments
Benjamin
Benjamin

Zero chance against a fired-up Megatron in a dome. Rember the last time someone talked trash about Calvin? He put up 329 yards in one game...

BmoreB
BmoreB

Last time we played in a dome things seemed to have turned out quite well. We got this ! P.S. Time to turn Megatron into a Megachump, at least for one night :)

joe d
joe d

I agree Tony, until the Ravens prove different I think they lose a close one tonight. I believe they are 0-8 against the NFC North on the road sine coming to Baltimore. Hopefully they are due but I doubt it. That being said, I think Miami loses to Buffalo next week and the Ravens knock off the Pats and we are back in the driver's seat.

Ravcolt
Ravcolt

The Ravens are, I believe, second in the NFL in completions over 20 yards. This must continue tonight. If Joe can cease under-throwing the deep ball we could win easily.

Bruce_Almty
Bruce_Almty

Ravens are not noted for taking advantage of a gift-horse and road wins are few and far between, but they have a team that can win. (clink n drink) here's hoping the Ravens bring their "A" game tonight.

dr kelley
dr kelley

How can you title an article "Ravens control destiny" and have the first line say "one team's loss is another team's gain"? If the Ravens actually controlled their own destiny, they wouldn't rely on other teams to handle business for them like they have all year.

Rumor Ray
Rumor Ray

The Ravens can win this game and they need to. Both teams need a W tonight, however I like the Ravens in this one. Will I be shocked if we lose this one? No, however I will be let down. I know the Ravens have the chance to win the next 3 games and win the AFC North again, however the fact is the Ravens are in the Hunt and we have to BOHLieve is can be done!

Joe W
Joe W

Something tells me Joe Flacco has a career-high game tonight. I like his chances in a dome against a defense that is ranked 26th in the league. I think this is Joe's night. He goes 250+ and 3 TD's as the Ravens win 27-23.

JerryB
JerryB

The key to the game will be pressuring Stafford because, as good as he is, he's prone to "turnovers" when....pressured! Ben Roethlisburger threw one TD pass last night when the Bengals resident DC genius decided to rush 2 and drop 9 in coverage, giving Ben all the time he needed to wait patiently for a receiver to get open in the end zone! Since ALL DC's study the same playbooks, Pees will probably try to defend the pass instead of pressuring the passer and, if that occurs, the Ravens will lose....big time! Hope I'm wrong.........

HollywoodHeiz
HollywoodHeiz

Front runners ::: The crowd of 45,873 was the smallest in the 13-year history of Heinz Field.

dumb
dumb

let's see how that works out tonight with Stafford on his back. and the cowboys defense is terrible. you should be ashamed of that comment.

Derek Arnold
Derek Arnold

They're 26th in passes over 20 (38). However, they're tied for 3rd in passes over 40 (13). Your point stands though - let's remember that they've played in some horrific conditions. Could be like taking the donut off the bat in the on-deck circle playing in the dome. Here's hoping.

Mac in Va
Mac in Va

I'll drink to that! There are probably more reasons to think we'll lose this one than win it. But I'm an unabashed and proud "homer" and I think Flacco, Jacoby and Tucker come through for the improbable Ravens win.

Tony Lombardi
Tony Lombardi

With the Bengals loss last night (Ravens' gain) the Ravens now control their own destiny. I guess they didn't teach deductive reasoning in Med School?

Big Perm
Big Perm

Simple. Because if the Ravens win out, then they win the division. That is what it means. This is possible because the bengals lost. Now it doesnt matter what any other teams do from here on out. We win our games, we win the AFC North again.

george
george

blah blah blah...

dumb
dumb

you guys are right, we seldom win road games. oh, except for Denver and New England last year...

JerryB
JerryB

Actually, "destiny" is pre-determined; ergo, it's beyond anyone's...control!

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