Baltimore Ravens (7-6)
Schedule so far
Week 1 - at Broncos - lost, 49-27
Week 2 - vs. Browns - won, 14-6
Week 3 - vs. Texans - won, 30-9
Week 4 - at Bills - lost, 23-20
Week 5 - at Dolphins - won, 26-23
Week 6 - vs. Packers - lost, 19-17
Week 7 - at Steelers - lost, 19-16
Week 9 - at Browns - lost, 24-18
Week 10 - vs. Bengals - won, 20-17 (OT)
Week 11 - at Bears - lost, 23-20 (OT)
Week 12 - vs. Jets - won, 19-3
Week 13 - vs. Steelers - won, 22-20
Week 14 - vs. Vikings - won, 29-26
Reason for optimism
The Ravens have had a lot of trouble scoring points this season. They have scored more than 29 points in only one game in 2013, whereas the Lions have done it five times this year. Also, the Ravens have failed to score more than 20 points in eight games this season. The Lions, for reference, have only been held below 20 points once all year. Overall, Baltimore is 24th in the NFL in points per game, while the Lions are sixth. Perhaps the Baltimore offense is just what the doctor ordered for the Detroit defense.
Reason for pessimism
Despite their offensive struggles, the Ravens are 7-6, just like the Lions. Baltimore has won three straight games, and opponents are averaging only 20.1 points per game against the Ravens, good for eighth in the NFL. (The Lions, by comparison, are giving up an average of 24.7 points per game, putting them at 18th in the NFL.) Clearly, the Ravens' strength is on defense, so the Lions can't afford to be careless with the ball and give away chances at scoring in this game.
Storyline to watch
The Lions and Ravens are both fighting for a playoff spot. Detroit is trying to hang on to its lead in the NFC North, whereas Baltimore is trying to hang on to the No. 6 seed in the AFC. Considering the Ravens finish 2013 with the Patriots and Bengals, they really need a win to help their chances of making the playoffs and having an opportunity to actually defend their championship.
For more on the Ravens, check out Baltimore Beat Down.