The Detroit Lions are moving on in to week 13 looking to rebound after a tough divisional loss against the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings now have a death grip on the NFC North, but there’s still plenty of football to play. The Lions are still in the thick of a heated NFC playoff race. This week will see the Lions heading to Baltimore to face an AFC playoff hopeful Baltimore Ravens. Going on the road to face a team with a tough defense is a daunting task. But it is one the Lions will look to overcome to continue with their plans to make the playoffs in 2017. Here are the things the Lions keys to victory in week 13 at Baltimore.
Week 13 Detroit Lions Keys to Victory
Get Ahead Early
Getting ahead early is something that can be said just about every week as a key task to win a game in the NFL; this week, however, the notion is especially true. The Ravens defense is very tough to score on. If the Lions want to set the tone in this game and play their game, they are going to have to come out early and get ahead. Don’t let the Ravens get set and comfortable in their game plan. The Lions will need to force the Ravens to play from behind as early as possible.
The Ravens do not have the offensive firepower needed to come back late in ball games. As a result, if the Lions can pick up an early lead, it will set them up for a solid position down the stretch of the game. To score, the Lions won’t be able to pick and choose or be greedy. They will need to take every opportunity presented because they won’t come often. If the Lions can jump out and have a good start quickly, there’s a solid shot that they come away with the win.
Contain Alex Collins
Alex Collins being the workhorse back in the backfield is no secret in Baltimore. While a mixture of Javorius Allen and Danny Woodhead will be seen on passing downs, the bulk of the carries will go to Collins. He has been effective when called upon, operating as one of the bigger offensive threats for the Ravens. If the Lions are hoping to win this one, allowing Collins to run free will not be a good recipe for success. A strong game for Collins will almost surely mean the Lions offense will not be able to get into a rhythm needed to win.
If the Lions can neutralize Collins, they should be able to have the game flow follow their schedule. Joe Flacco, alone, is not likely formidable enough to carry the load for the Ravens to take the game. Flacco needs plenty of help, and the bulk of that help has come from players like Collins. If Collins is kept quiet, look for the Lions to pick this pivotal game up.
Special Teams is one of the most thankless, yet important aspects of a football game. Nevertheless, in a game against an opponent who has offensive struggles, the field position battle is of utmost importance. Luckily for the Lions, they currently have one of the best punters in the NFL in Sam Martin.
Martin is one of the best in the business when it comes to pinning his opponents deep. The Ravens defense is one that will be tough to score on, and forces a lot of three-and-outs. Furthermore, Martin will likely have a busy day. Pinning the Ravens deep is something that will keep the momentum in the Lions favor. Martin won’t be able to do it all himself, as he will need his coverage team to make plays downfield and contain the Ravens returners.
On the other side of the coin, the Lions own returners will likely have a busy game as well, and will be called upon to keep the field position battle in the Lions favor. Field position is so important in the NFL, especially in ballgames that there may not be plenty of scoring.
Matt Prater is once again an important piece for the Lions in the upcoming matchup. The Lions redzone offense has plenty of issues, and that likely continues this week, so Prater will be busy. There’s no question he has been absolutely money this year, and he will need to be this weekend as well. Points will be premium, so take them when available.
The Lions are going to be facing a top-notch Ravens defense this week. If they want to win this game they will need to jump out to an early lead, force Flacco to have to throw the football, and win the field position battle. All three of these aspects create a recipe that will almost assuredly give the Lions the win this week. With Flacco playing from behind, the Lions should be able to force him into mistakes. Given last week’s loss, the Lions need this win. With a Lions win, playoff hopes are alive and well.