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5 Lions Players to Watch against Baltimore Ravens

Read more on the five Detroit Lions players to watch Sunday afternoon against the Baltimore Ravens.

When the Baltimore Ravens come to town, a tough brand of football is being brought with them, but who are the Detroit Lions players to watch this weekend?

Jared Goff

All eyes will be on quarterback Jared Goff after his Jekyll and Hyde performance on Monday Night Football.

Will we see the Goff of the first half who played with poise or will we that same look of frustration we saw in the second half?

Goff is a wildcard, but he is quickly becoming unpredictable. At times he looks great and other times he looks average or outright ineffective. 

Take the latter part of the San Francisco game when the Lions mounted that huge comeback. Why can’t Lions’ fans have that same consistent level of production all the time?

It is an early season game for Goff, but as a veteran, he is on a shorter leash. If he does not find a way to have a good game, this thing could get ugly for him quickly at 0-3.

Quintez Cephus

With an early season injury to Tyrell Williams, no wideout has really emerged as a legitimate looking target for Detroit's offense, except for Cephus. 

On Monday night, the second-year wideout still could only secure 4-of-7 passes, but he netted a big 46-yard reception early against Green Bay. He then capped it off with a five-yard touchdown grab. 

He needs to continue trending in this direction.

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Alex Anzalone

Defense, defense, defense is the battle cry, but as the second worst ranked defense in the league, that remains to be seen.

Two of the Lions players to watch and start writing letters of complaint to team management about are linebacker Alex Anzalone and safety Tracy Walker.

In three seasons of evaluating the Lions, Anzalone is among the lowest graded players I have evaluated. 

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I believed players like linebacker Jamie Collins and former safety Duron Harmon were ineffective, and then I saw Anzalone. 

The veteran linebacker struggled in week one against San Francisco. In week two against Green Bay, Anzalone's performance left a lot to be desired, just like Collins, who is soon to be off the Lions' roster all together.

The former Saints linebacker was slow, hesitant and passive looking. He even hesitated on a uncontested blitz when he had a free run at quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Anzalone got pushed around way too often, even at the goal line. He did a poor job fighting through blocks and often instead tried to play more passive angles.

Derrick Barnes

For some unknown reason Campbell refuses to outright replace Anzalone with rookie linebacker Derrick Barnes, who is the superior prospect at the position. 

Barnes will have his opportunity to play significantly more reps now that Collins is out of the picture. 

Against the Ravens, Barnes believes he is ready to perform, since he will be playing inside linebacker in the majority of the Lions' base defensive packages. 

“When they came to me and said it was my time to step up, just had to prepare mentally better. Not saying that I wasn’t when I wasn’t playing, but it’s just a different mindset that you bring to the table at that point," Barnes told reporters on Friday via the Free Press. "But throughout the week it’s just been getting in the film room a lot, asking questions, stuff I was doing even before this time has come. But it’s just a different approach to the game, I would say. A big role, especially being a rookie, but I’m ready for the task.”

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Tracy Walker

Walker was not much better than Anzalone. In my review, the young safety is just way too passive and hesitant against the run. 

It was challenging watching him slip on one Green Bay touchdown to running back Aaron Jones, and his struggles against opposing tight ends in coverage continue to haunt the defense. 

He also proceeded to drop a potential game-changing interception in the second half. 

Watching Detroit play defense with Anzalone and Walker out there is really like watching an NFL team play defense with 9 men on the field.

Either changes need to made, or those two need to make more impactful plays if the Lions have any chance against the high-flying Ravens.