Detroit Lions vs. Baltimore Ravens Point Spread – Pick

Detroit Lions (6-5 SU, 5-5-1 ATS) vs. Baltimore Ravens (6-5 SU, 5-5-1 ATS)
Week 13 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 1PM EST
Where: MT&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland
TV: Fox

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper,

Point Spread: DET +3/BAL -3
Over/Under Total: 40

The Detroit Lions come to MT&T Bank Stadium in week 13 for a Sunday matchup with the Baltimore Ravens. Detroit is coming off the long week, having last played on Thanksgiving when they lost at home to the red-hot Vikings, 30-23. The loss dropped them to 6-5 and they need to get rolling to make a postseason run. They come into Baltimore to face a Ravens team that is coming off a 23-16 win over the Texans on Monday Night Football. They are back over .500 at 6-5 and have come off the bye-week with two straight wins. Who can come out ahead in this pivotal matchup of 6-5 teams?

The Lions perhaps faltered at home on Thanksgiving, but a lot of teams aren’t doing that well lately against Minnesota, so they still have a lot to be proud of and a lot to play for. A recent 3-game win streak helped them right the ship and one should expect the Lions to react accordingly to the urgency this week. After falling behind 20-3 to the Vikings on Thursday, they battled back into the game at 27-23, but couldn’t mount a late rally against a tough Minnesota defense. Detroit QB Matthew Stafford was injured and hobbling around, but still managed 250 yards and 2 touchdowns, but they never could quite overcome a fast Vikings start. They hope for better this week.

Detroit’s offense has been seeing a nice surge lately. Even in defeat, the Lions were only the second team in Minnesota’s last 9 games to top 17 points. Stafford connected well with Marvin Jones, who became the first receiver to top 100 yards against the Vikes this season, as he also caught both of Stafford’s TD passes. A quieter Golden Tate has given way to more from Kenny Golladay, as the rookie wide receiver is becoming a bigger player in this offense. And while they don’t always fire, Ameer Abdullah, Theo Reddick and others have added some ground-production from time-to-time this season. Their 26.7 points a game actually puts them up among the best offenses in the league.

All in all, the Detroit defense is squarely below-average across most categories where stoutness in concerned. They can be exploited on the ground and through the air and we saw that in evidence on Thursday against Minnesota. But they do some things well. They have a plus-five in turnover ratio. They can make big plays and have scored five times this season. More from guys like Ziggy Ansah would help. And while Glover Quin, Tavon Wilson, and Darius Slay have made plays, they could cover a little better in the secondary at times. And with Wilson on IR after getting hurt on Thanksgiving, that creates more questions. With better health and youngsters becoming more consistent, this defense could eventually come around, but heading into week 13, they have been a weak-spot of the team.

It has been an up-and-down season for the Ravens. A 2-0 start offered promise, but four losses in their next five games sent them sprawling. And some of those losses were lopsided. But along the way, they have had some impressive moments, as well. They have three shutout wins on the season and when on, their defense can control games. We saw that on Monday. With an offense that has struggled to deliver, the defense was able to curtail the Houston offense, stifle them in the red-zone with some timely stops, while securing three turnovers. They look to apply that formula again at home on the short week against Detroit.


On offense, the Ravens struggle. Even in winning on MNF with 23 points, they had less than 300 yards of total offense and were held to 3-for-14 on third down conversions. They had no turnovers and the line was adept in keeping Joe Flacco out of harm’s way, so it was really just another case of Baltimore not being able to turn it loose on offense. Flacco hasn’t had his best year and the 141 yards he had passing on Monday was typical of the lack of production they get through the air. Mike Wallace leads all receivers with just 371 yards passing, as Baltimore enters this week as the league’s lowest-ranked passing offense. Alex Collins and Javorius Allen both rushed for touchdowns, but only had 75 total yards rushing. But they are a team that can still forge victory when the offense isn’t really cooperating.

The Baltimore defense is what will get them places this season if it’s in the cards. A lot of credit goes to the secondary, which has been one of the best in the league this season with Brandon Carr and Jimmy Smith at the corner and Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson at the safety spots. Against Houston on MNF, Jefferson and reserve corner Anthony Levine, Sr. both had picks. Terrell Suggs can still get after quarterbacks and had 2 sacks in his last game. In giving up only 17 points a game on average, they rank second in the league, quite a feat considering how little support they often get from the other side of the ball.

One should expect a solid effort this week from both teams. A 7-5 record is a lot better than 6-6, as these teams enter the final quarter of the season. These teams should play accordingly with a lot riding on this game. I see Detroit as being a more-complete team, though they certainly have their own drawbacks. I just see them as being a more-bankable proposition heading into this matchup. Baltimore has done well to get to this point, but it’s hard to not notice how none of the teams they’ve beaten were very good. I see the points maybe coming in handy for Detroit. I’m taking the Lions.

Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Detroit Lions plus 3 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Lions vs. Ravens game from the comfort of home by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you’ll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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