TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: Baltimore Ravens At Detroit Lions

Baltimore Ravens
Detroit Lions
(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(credit: Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(credit: Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Quarterback
Winner The Ravens have not looked like the team that won the Super Bowl last year, as they are struggling to hold on to the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC. Joe Flacco is taking a lot of heat because he has thrown nearly as many interceptions (17) as touchdowns (18), but he knows what it takes to win important games and he has one of the best deep arms in the NFL.
Matthew Stafford has a lot of work to do after fumbling the ball five times in the Week 13 Snow Bowl loss at Philadelphia. He’s back in his comfort zone at Ford Field, where he will have perfect weather conditions to get the ball to Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush (calf), Kris Durham, Brandon Pettigrew and Nate Burleson. Stafford must avoid turnovers in this vital game.
Offense
The Ravens have struggled to run the ball and it could be problematic against the sixth-rated run defense of the Lions. Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce are averaging less than 3.0 yards per carry (combined), and that’s disastrous. Wide receiver Torrey Smith has caught 55 passes for 963 yards and four TDs, and he is a big-play maker. Marlon Brown has caught six TD passes and is a solid contributor.
Winner The Lions believe that Joique Bell will make a solid contribution on the ground even if the speedy Bush can’t play after tweaking his calf. Johnson will be back in his comfort zone at home and he has proven time and again that he can dominate there. Look for backup tight end Joseph Fauria to make plays in the red zone, while the Lions hope Burleson can take some of the heat off Johnson.
Defense
Winner The Ravens rank ninth in overall defense, but their losses in this area will likely come to the forefront in this game when they are asked to find a way to slow down Johnson’s production. Cornerbacks Lardarius Webb and Corey Graham are very competitive players but they don’t appear to be good enough to slow Johnson down. ILB Daryl Smith has a team-high 102 tackles and a remarkable 19 passes defensed.
The Lions have a lot of shortcomings on defense, but they generally do a good job against the interior run – although that was not the case in the snow at Philadelphia. If the Lions get their bearings at home, they can pressure Flacco with Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and Ziggy Ansah. Middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch leads the Lions with 107 tackles.
Special Teams
Winner The Ravens have a chance to tilt the game in their favor with their return teams. Both Tandon Doss and Jacoby Jones have reached the endzone, while their coverage teams have been solid. Head coach John Harbaugh has faith in PK Justin Tucker, who has made 29-of-31 FG attempts.
Jeremy Ross is an asset in the return game for the Lions. Ross has brought a punt and a kickoff back for touchdowns. Placekicker David Akers has had some struggles – 15-of-20 on FG attempts – but he is 2-of-2 on 50-plus yarders.

The Winner Is

(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Winner Baltimore Ravens
3 out of 4

Both teams need this game desperately, but the Ravens have a big advantage in the coaching matchup with Harbaugh over the mistake-prone Jim Schwartz. The Ravens find a way.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 20:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball during the second half of the game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 27:  Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the New York Jets looks to throw a pass against the New England Patriots in the game at MetLife Stadium on November 27, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Justin Heiman/Getty Images)
    Week 13 Tale Of The Tape: Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets

    The Colts are still alive for the playoffs while the Jets are just playing out the string.

  2. OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers looks to pass against the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game on November 27, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 27:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks runs for several yards on the quarterback keeper during the second quarter of an NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 27, 2016 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
    Week 13 Tale Of The Tape: Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks

    The Panthers travel to Seattle for a date with the Seahawks.

  3. TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 27:  Quarterback Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks for a receiver during the third quarter of an NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks on November 27, 2016 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 13:  Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers passes the ball during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Qualcomm Stadium on November 13, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
    Week 13 Tale Of The Tape: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Diego Chargers

    The Bucs are in second place in the NFC South and look to keep pace with the Falcons as they match-up with a tough Chargers team.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Baltimore

Track Weather On The Go With Our App!
Your Podcast Network Play.it
CBS All Access

Listen Live