The Baltimore Ravens (7-6) visit the Detroit Lions (7-6) for Monday Night Football on December 16th. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:40pm EST at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan on NBC.
Both teams have a 7-6 record, so all arrows point to Monday night’s game being a close one. But the Ravens need a win in order to better their playoff chances. Here’s a look at what the Ravens need to turn their attention towards in order to come out on top.
Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson is currently ranked second in the NFL in total receiving yards with 1,351, only 49 yards behind league leader Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns.
Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith will be matched up against the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver on Monday. But the Ravens will be expected to pull some help from the rest of the secondary when it comes to covering Johnson. Lardarius Webb and Corey Graham should see some matchups with Johnson, as well.
But Smith has made it clear that he is up for the challenge and Johnson has expressed his thoughts on Smith’s play, too.
“He is growing; he is aware of the game,” Johnson told reporters. “I don’t know if it’s his second or third year, but he is coming up.”
Without a doubt, the Ravens offensive line has been one of the worst aspects of the team’s play this year, but it has improved since the beginning of the season. The Lions’ pass rush is going to be a test of just how much the O-line has bettered.
Lions defensive tackler Ndamukong Suh is one of the best pass rushers in the league. In order to avoid getting sacked by the 307-pound defenseman, Flacco has to rely on his line to protect him and to give him enough time in the pocket.
Play like it’s a home game
The Ravens are 1-5 this season when playing on the road. Without a doubt, they have to walk away with a victory on the road if they want to make it to the postseason. The Ravens play away this week in Detroit, then head home to Baltimore for a tough match against the Patriots before hitting the road again to end the season against the division leading Cincinnati Bengals.
“We’ve got to learn how to win on the road to be a championship team,” Ravens safety James Ihedigbo said. “To be where we want to be, we have to win on the road.”