The Detroit Lions are getting some much needed help with a few key players returning from injury as they prepare for a tough road matchup against the 4-2 Baltimore Ravens. Safety Brian Branch and running back Jahmyr Gibbs will be ready to go as they both aren’t carrying any injury designation, while it appears that Josh Paschal is trending in the right direction and could make his first appearance since Week 1.
When asked for a health status update, Paschal replied: “Yeah, I’m full go. I’m ready to go.”
That leads us to Today’s Question of the Day...
Which player returning from injury will have the biggest impact for the Lions against the Ravens?
My answer: Brian Branch.
While getting Gibbs back is a huge relief for the offense, the Lions may still have a tough day on the ground against Baltimore’s seventh-ranked run defense. I’m expecting Gibbs to have a little more impact on Sunday in the passing game than the running game, but Gibbs should get plenty of opportunities in both phases due to how thin the Lions’ backfield is currently, so I wouldn’t rule out a big game for Gibbs.
Branch makes his return after recovering from a high ankle sprain that he suffered against Green Bay. His return couldn’t have come at a better time, because the Lions’ elite run defense will be facing their toughest test yet against the Ravens’ fourth-ranked rushing attack, and Branch has proven to be one of the best run defending DBs in the NFL in his short stint so far. In fact, according to PFF, Branch has the highest run stop percentage among all DBs, and his seven defensive stops in the run game—a stop being a tackle that constitutes a “loss” for the offense—is the most among all CBs despite missing two games.
The Ravens love to move their weapons around on offense, as Mark Andrews, Zay Flowers and Nelson Agholor have all received a good amount of reps in the slot this year. Those are the Ravens’ top three targeted players in the passing game, so you may be seeing a healthy dose of Brian Branch on your television screen come Sunday.
Your turn. Let us know what you think in the comments below.