Baltimore Ravens vs. Detroit Lions Monday Night Football Picks

David Lawrence

Monday, December 16, 2013 2:31 PM GMT

The Baltimore Ravens and Detroit Lions square off in a Monday Night Football contest that has plenty of playoff implications. While both were waiting for their Monday contest, they saw a number of their playoff competitors climb the standings.

For Baltimore, they’re fighting for the sixth and final wild card spot in the AFC. With the Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers winning on Sunday, they need a victory to keep pace. As for the Lions, they woke up this morning to find themselves in second place after the Chicago Bears won on Sunday. The Green Bay Packers also won to put some additional heat on them. 

Both the Ravens and Lions need a win to keep their playoff standing in good shape. 

Baltimore Ravens vs. Detroit Lions

Odds: Lions -6

The Baltimore Ravens can win because… 

The Lions are in the midst of a collapse. Sure, most of us want to think Detroit is as good as they were during their 4-2 start but the reality is very different. We’re talking about a team that’s lost three of four and is coming apart at the seams. Detroit has blown multiple opportunities to take control of the NFC North and even though Green Bay and Chicago have played chunks of the season without their starting quarterbacks, the Lions still find themselves in second place. A couple more losses and the coaching staff is gone and big changes will be on the way. 

As for Baltimore, they’ve won four of their last five games with the only loss coming in overtime at Chicago. Naturally, some of the wins haven’t been pretty but this is a Ravens team that’s getting hot at the right time.

Tampa Bay beat Detroit at home just a few weeks ago. If the Ravens can force a few turnovers, which Detroit has been giving away plenty, then they’ll be able to win this game. 

NFL Picks: Ravens vs. Lions Betting the Spread

The Detroit Lions can win because… 

They’re going to win if they don’t turn over the ball. Simply put, that’s the only reason why the Lions are even in this precarious playoff position. 

Detroit has blown fourth quarter leads in three of their last four and have committed 15 turnovers in that span. If they merely play a clean game, they are likely to win. 

Last week, people who make their  NFL picks were likely burned badly when the Ravens – a popular bet – needed a miracle to beat the Minnesota Vikings at home. In the snow and cold, Matt Cassel had 265 yards and two touchdowns while Cordarelle Patterson stung the Ravens for five catches, 141 yards and a touchdown. The Lions tandem of Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson should be licking their chops – especially after Ravens safety Matt Elam called out Johnson earlier this week.

This game is all about turnovers. If the Lions minimize their mistakes, they’ll win and cover the NFL odds. If not, Baltimore is going to be in this and probably win this.

NFL Picks: Ravens vs. Lions Betting the Total

Outlook & NFL Football Betting Prediction: 

This is a battle of two teams with very different mental toughness. Clearly, these aren’t the Ravens from last year but they are rallying at the right time. As for Detroit, it’s the same old Lions who fold when the going gets tough. They are now 11-25 in the second halves of the season under Schwartz. 

Even so, Baltimore has been awful on the road this year while the Lions have been respectable at home. I expect Detroit to win but Baltimore to cover the spread in this one.

NFL Picks: Ravens +6 at Bookmaker