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NFL week 15 preview: Detroit Lions v. Baltimore Ravens

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OK, folks. It is go time. There are three games left in the NFL season, and the Lions are still in the playoff race. Last week, Detroit lost at Philadelphia in a blizzard, dropping them to 7-6. They have to go, at least, 2-1 if they want to make the playoffs I reckon. Fortunately, they play their final three games indoors, including two at home. That starts this week, and to make things just that much more intense, the Lions are hosting Monday Night Football. This Monday, in primetime, the Lions take on the Baltimore Ravens. Detroit has the chance to score a key, crucial win, or they could find themselves suffering a massively disappointing loss in front of a national audience. Which, you know, would be a bummer.

The Baltimore Ravens are the defending champs, but they have not been all that good this year. In fact, they might not even make the playoffs. Their offense has struggled in particular. Their offensive line is bad, their running game has been atrocious, and Joe Flacco has played like, well, Joe Flacco throughout his entire career save for the playoffs last year.

The Lions have been strong against the run, aside from last week but that was a bizarre game, so this is a strength versus a weakness, so it's not like Detroit is going to keep Baltimore's offense in check by stopping the run. The Ravens are used to that. The key for Detroit will be getting after Flacco and stopping Torrey Smith. Chris Houston's status is up in the air, and if he can't play that would be concerning. Ziggy Ansah is also questionable, but it seems likely he will play.

For the Lions, it would be just nice if they can maybe avoid the turnovers. Maybe not fumble a million times. Reggie Bush did not play last week, but he should be able to play here, which is good. He brings something to this offense that Theo Riddick simply cannot. Baltimore's defense is good, however, better than Detroit's, and they are also good against the run. Of course, the Lions are glad to throw the ball around, and Calvin Johnson is still a person on the team.

If Houston and Bush can play, and if the Lions limit the turnovers, I think they will win. Baltimore is a decent team, but the Lions are probably better, and they are at home. Detroit has to win this game. They have to keep their playoff hopes alive. I think they will manage to do so. Final Prediction: Lions 27, Ravens 21

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