The calm before the storm of Monday Night Football has taken hold in Michigan, where the desperate Detroit Lions badly need a win to stop the bleeding and keep their place atop the NFC North division.
Just as desperate are the Baltimore Ravens, who have won three games in a row to remain in the hunt for the AFC wild card. Both teams have their strengths and both teams plenty of weaknesses. Here's some weekend news prior to Monday's vitally important game.
- A big, quiet question in the minds of fans? What happens if the Lions lose Monday, fall into a tailspin and miss the playoffs? Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press has a theory, thinking that Jim Schwartz's fate should be general manager Martin Mayhew's call at season's end (playoff win or not), given Mayhew has done better putting together the roster over the past few years. —Detroit Free Press
- Speaking of the Lions finish, John Niyo of the Detroit News talked to veteran Reggie Bush, who opened up about hoping to be a force which leads Detroit over the top and into the playoffs. As Bush said, everything is right out in front of the young Lions, who simply have to rise to the challenge and apply pressure on the opposition. —-Detroit News
- The Lions' offensive line has played well in 2013, and the biggest reason has been the addition of several young players, all of whom have stepped up their game. One such player is Riley Reiff, who is excelling at tackle in an important year, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Reiff will face perhaps his toughest challenge in Terrell Suggs Monday night. —Detroit Free Press
- A major concern for Detroit on Monday is the fact that Baltimore's passing game ranks second in the league in passes over 40 yards. The Lions' defense has given up the second most 40 yard pass plays with 14, which isn't cause for comfort writes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. Add to that the fact that both Chris Houston and Darius Slay are severely hobbled with toe and knee injuries respectively and a recipe for disaster might have been found. —Detroit News
- Mikel Leshoure was nowhere to be seen last Sunday in conditions which would have seemed to favor him. Despite that, Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said Leshoure still has a bright future, given his hard work and approach. It's unclear whether or not that future will be realized in Detroit, though, where Joique Bell has assumed what would have been his role. —Mlive.com
- Finally, for all the struggles of the Lions' defense, the Ravens have quietly endured the same problem, especially in fourth quarters, says Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. The Ravens have the 21st ranked fourth quarter scoring defense, which is a big concern to head coach Jonh Harbaugh in advance of a game against Detroit's explosive offense. —Baltimore Sun
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