By Dan Leach
BALTIMORE RAVENS AT DETROIT LIONS – MONDAY 8:40 PM EST TV ESPN RADIO 97.1 THE TICKET (CURRENT LINE LIONS -6.5 TOTAL 50)
Well it all comes down to this! Yes, the Lions will still be alive for the division title in the North with a loss to the defending champs on MNF, but the question is how much can you truly trust Detroit if control of their own fate is taken out of their hands. The Lions are extremely talented, have a QB who is ready to make his playoff statement, and have shown at points this season that they have what it takes to do something they haven’t since 1991. They have best WR in football, a defense that aside from the secondary, can really put pressure on opposing QB’s and cause turnovers, but yet with all of that the Lions still find themselves in a position where they almost have to win or all the wheels likely will come off the proverbial bus.
They welcome in a Ravens team that has somehow, someway, found ways to win over the past two weeks and come in having won four of their last five overall. They haven’t won on the road though since almost a month before Halloween when they beat the Fins 26-23 in Miami. They are the defending champs for a reason though, as while their defense looks a lot different from last year and boasts a full-fledged idiot in rookie Safety Matt Elam, they still have a tremendous amount of talent on both sides of the ball. They also have a proven winner at QB in Joe Flacco who has been in these must-win type of games many times before. Lions QB Matt Stafford, who I feel has more natural ability then Flacco, hasn’t even come close to proving that on the big stage, but seems ready for his curtain call.
The Ford Field crowd will be insane as a “Blue Out” has been called for and the last time the Lions played on MNF back in 2011 against the Bears, the crowd was a major factor. Like it was exorcising years of futility on one amazing night in the D, causing multiple false start penalties and making Jay Cutler look like a sacred ghost with no way to get back to the afterlife. The Ravens and Lions are somewhat similar when it comes to turnovers,(Lions with 26 Ravens with 19), but the Ravens have only lost two fumbles and the Lions have coughed up 12. That is going to be a major factor as even with the surely insane crowd and energy, there is an exorbitant amount of pressure on the Lions.
This is the Lions chance to get a signature win when it matters most against a team that won it all last year and needs a win just as bad as they Detroit does. For a franchise that has been so starved for so long and has so many doubters in its own fan base and nationally. This is hands down one of the Lions most important regular season games in the three decades and can go a long way in proving this team, with all its talent and weapons, is ready to get to the next level and stop squandering so many opportunities to the true bewilderment of humanity.
(DTM PREDICTION BASED ON A 1-10 BLUE OUT SMURF BOWL COLLECTIBLE TOWEL SCALE)
7.8 SMURF TOWELS ON THE RAVENS +6.5
Can the Lions fight decades of disappointment and frustration and actually rise to the occasion on a night that could be one of the more memorable ones in recent Honolulu Blue and Silver History? Absolutely! To think that this game won’t be close though is like saying Marty Mornhinweg was a genius for taking the wind. There is so much on the line on Monday night I can’t even begin to explain it in actual words. This will feel like a playoff game, look like a playoff game, heck it basically is a playoff game. The Lions will RISE to the occasion though, Stafford will have one of his best games of the season and possibly as a Lion. Megatron will see the end zone at least one and the D will cause two key turnovers that will propel Detroit a step closer to its first division title since Bill Clinton’s first year as President.
LIONS 31 “QUOTE” THE RAVENS NEVER MORE’ 27
(FOLLOW DAN ON TWITTER @DTMLEACH)