It never gets any easier for the Detroit Lions, does it? After allowing 76 points over the last two weeks, the Lions head back home to welcome the Baltimore Ravens. yet another team that can put up a lot of points. With the defense the way it is, this could be the ugliest game yet for the Lions.
How ugly can it get? Let’s find out. We talked with Kyle Barber of Baltimore Beatdown to get the scoop on how good the Ravens are and if the Lions have any chance at all at beating this team. Here’s what he had to say.
1. The Ravens just came off a big win over the Chiefs last week. What is the ceiling for this team right now?
“Hard to put a ceiling on a team that just took down the Chiefs in primetime without 14 of their players. I think the Ravens are in control of their destiny right now, and the limits are only on their health moving forward. Going blow-for-blow with the Chiefs and coming out on top is no easy feat. For them to do so on a short week, with so many excuses available as to why they lost, spoke volumes on the team. That said, no, I don’t think they’re the favorite for the Super Bowl or anything, but they showed they can run with the best of them.”
2. What are the Ravens strengths?
“This is quite a broad question, but I’ll give you the low-down.
Is it corny to say resolve? It feels cheesy, or cliche, but it’s true. The Ravens lost their All-Pro left tackle, Ronnie Stanley, All-Pro cornerback, Marcus Peters, and a litany of other players, but they’re still fighting tooth and nail for every yard. They’ve not sat around and felt sorry for themselves. I think that’s something a team could easily become, after sustaining the amount of injuries as they had. After losing to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 1. They could’ve, either consciously or subconsciously, packed it in. It’s hard to not feel sorry for yourself sometimes.
On the field, the strengths include, well, Lamar Jackson. He has the most unique skill set when it comes to quarterbacks. No other player has done what he’s done, nor can it be replicated. It’s a really exciting thing to write about and cover.
Other strengths include the same physical brand of Ravens offense: running the football. Though Baltimore is now down to running backs Ty’Son Williams and a menagerie of veterans such as Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray (along with Le’Veon Bell on the practice squad), they’re still playing bully ball. However, that’s not the only thing they’re doing, with wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Marquise “Hollywood” Brown playing exceptionally well. Tight end Mark Andrews is still working on his annual breakout game but teams have been covering him with three players, according to Jackson.
On defense, the Ravens still boast one of the better secondaries in the NFL. Even with Peters out, they still have All-Pro Marlon Humphrey, and a pair of solid safeties with DeShon Elliott and Chuck Clark. Coverage has been challenging but I think that’s a bit due to being a victim of competing against Patrick Mahomes and Company, along with a Raiders squad who may have been a bit underrated entering the year.”
3. What are their weaknesses?
“Health, really. This team was Super Bowl bound entering the year. Now, they’re still a competitor but they went from possible favorite to possible contender.
I think the pass defense is something to worry about, especially against tight ends. Both Darren Waller and Travis Kelce went over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown in back-to-back weeks. Not ideal they’re playing T.J. Hockensen this week.
Something else they struggle with is four-man pressures. Even with big-time names like Calais Campbell and Justin Houston, the pressure plays have come from blitz concepts.”
4. Does Baltimore really have the best crab cakes? The world needs to know.
“Yes. Crabcakes and football. That’s what Maryland does.”
5. Who’s winning this thing?
“From what I’ve heard about the Lions, particularly on defense, I’m expecting the Ravens to bully the Lions with their run game and get out of Detroit with as little harm as possible. They’re a heavy favorite and I think they take care of business.”