Detroit Lions vs Baltimore Ravens
Sunday 3rd December (6:00pm UK Time)
- Winner: Ravens 7/10, Lions 6/5 (Ladbrokes)
Both these teams are battling for a wild card spot in their respective conferences, so this is an absolute must-win game. The Lions are currently 6-5, one game behind the hallowed sixth spot, although the Falcons, who currently occupy that position, have the tie-breaker, meaning if both teams finished on the same record then the Lions would miss out. The Ravens are more fortunate, sitting on the same 6-5 record but currently occupying sixth seed, meaning they would be in if the season stopped today.
The similarities don’t end there; both teams have a quarterback that is in the top few in the league for his position, but has just absolutely no supporting play elsewhere on the team to help him reach his full potential. No doubt this offseason it will be a priority for both to draft a strong running back to help move the sticks and get rid of the pressure that sits on Matthew Stafford or Joe Flacco’s arm.
The Lions should apologise to their fans for the number of comebacks the team has had to make to win games, and even looking at their losses, four out of the five this year have come in games that were decided by one score. Because this team has no legitimate running back to strike fear into the opponents’ front seven, they have to rely on the passing game. That doesn’t bode well considering the Ravens defence allows the second fewest passing yards in the league (189.9 yds/game).
The Ravens are one of those teams right now that you look at and think “how on earth are they 6-5 and in the playoffs?” because some of their play this year has been dreadful and some has been top notch. The defence has posted three shutouts this year- and the last team to do that (2003 Patriots) went on to win the Super Bowl. “Defence wins Championships” was coined for the 2000 Ravens, but that is just not going to happen for this team unless they can sort out their league low 164.3 passing yards per game.
Sports.net’s Top Tip
Lions by 1 - 6 Points
Philadelphia Eagles vs Seattle Seahawks
Monday 4th December (1:30am UK Time)
- Winner: Eagles 20/47, Seahawks 39/20 (Bet365)
This game is the definition of a top defence against a top offence, and its going to be fascinating to see which comes out on top. The Eagles sail into the game with one of the best passing offences in the league behind Carson Wentz’s league leading 28 passing touchdowns, whilst the Seahawks legion of boom has been the league’s best passing defence for the best part of the last decade.
Saying that, this year’s legion of boom is on its last legs. All-pro corner back Richard Sherman and safety Kam Chancellor have been ruled out for the rest of the year. The only remaining piece is safety Earl Thomas, although he has been battling his own hamstring injury that saw him sidelined earlier this year. Its going to be down to back-ups to show their worth in a game that will see them under a huge amount of pressure from the very first drive. The only saving grace is the Seahawks are playing at home, which has proved to be a huge advantage for them over the last few years due to the record-breaking crowd noise.
The Eagles are enjoying a fairy tale season, boasting a potential MVP at quarterback, a league-leading 10-1 record and a chance to secure their playoff spot this week. Either a win against the Seahawks or the Cowboys losing to the Redskins would mean that the Eagles are playing January football for the first time since 2013. The team will be filled with confidence due to the Seahawks injuries, but it still doesn’t mean they should take them lightly. The Eagles have only played one real powerhouse team this year, in week two against the Chiefs where they lost 27-20, so it will be interesting to see what happens when they face another potential playoff team in primetime football at an extremely hostile opposing ground.
Sports.net Top Tip
|To Make the First Score||
Odds are correct at the time of publishing, but may change in the run-up to the games.