5 Questions with Todd Karpovich of Raven Country

Todd Karpovich of SI Raven Country answers five questions regarding the Detroit Lions' Week 3 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.

Todd Karpovich covers the Baltimore Ravens for SI Raven Country. He answered five questions heading into the Ravens-Lions matchup at Ford Field on Sunday afternoon.

1.) What did the Sunday Night Football victory mean to the Ravens and Lamar Jackson?

Todd Karpovich: The Ravens had an emotional victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, but don’t expect them to have a letdown against the Lions.

Quarterback Lamar Jackson put on quite a show against the Chiefs and perhaps played one of the best games of his career.

Jackson threw two interceptions, including a pick-six to Tyrann Mathieu on the game's first possession, but he bounced back in a big way Jackson completed 18 of 26 passes for 239 yards with a touchdown. Jackson also ran for 107 yards with two scores.

On a 4th and 1 with a minute left, Jackson ran for the game-winning first down. It was an unbelievable performance.

Now, the goal is to keep maintain that momentum.

“I know for the fans, it was a great show," Jackson said. "We were going back and forth. It was looking crazy when, like I said, I threw two picks in the first quarter -- one for a pick-six. It was like, ‘Oh, they might lose again.’ But we held our own. We stayed focused. My team, like I said, they stayed with me, (and) we came out on top.

"I know it was a great game."

2.) The team appears to be entering Week 3 a little banged up. Can you provide us with the latest injury situation and who could miss the contest?

Karpovich: As if the injuries to the Ravens roster did not create enough challenges, Baltimore is now missing several players for this weekend's game against the Detroit Lions because of COVID-19.

All of these players will affect a defense that has already give up more than 400 yards in each of the last two games.

The Ravens placed outside linebacker Justin Houston, nose tackle Brandon Williams, defensive tackle Justin Madubuike and outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson on the reserve/COVID-19.

Ferguson is the player that reportedly tested positive, and if fully vaccinated, would need two negative tests 24 hours apart to return if he is asymptomatic. Ferguson is subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine if he is unvaccinated.

Baltimore will have to lean heavily on Calais Campbell, Justin Ellis, Broderick Washington and practice-squad player Kahlil McKenzie to help the defensive line with the run game and pass rush.

At outside linebacker, the Ravens still have Tyus Bowser, Odafe Oweh, Daelin Hayes, and possibly Chris Smith, who is on the practice squad. Pernell McPhee is dealing with a shoulder injury and it's uncertain if he can play

The Ravens also have a league-high 15 players on IR.

Lamar Jackson has dealt with a stomach bug this week but should be available to play. The Ravens might need to score a flurry of points to compensate for the losses on defense.

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3.) What are 1-2 matchups you are intrigued to watch?

Karpovich: The Ravens will face one of the league's top tight end for a third straight week against the Lions.

Baltimore already faced the Raiders' Darren Waller and Chiefs' Travis Kelce, now the Ravens get T.J. Hockenson in Week 3.

"He’s their best guy," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "He’s the guy they go to. Jared Goff is looking for him. They have plenty of good players over there, but he’s the straw that stirs the drink. He can make every kind of play. He runs every kind of route. They try to scheme him open every different kind of way they can, and he’s a guy we have to be very aware of.”

Hockenson leads the Lions in targets (19), receptions (16), yards (163) and touchdowns (2). He is elite at catching passes and getting open at all three levels of the passing game.

The Ravens have not had a whole lot of success against tight ends this season.

Waller caught a game-high 10 passes for 105 yards with a touchdown in the Ravens 33-27 overtime loss.

Kelce caught seven passes for 109 yards with a touchdown in Baltimore's 36-35 victory.

Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale shifted rookie linebacker Odafe Oweh onto coverage late in the game and the strategy worked.

Oweh, who was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Week, will have another key role this week.

4.) From an outside perspective, how do you view the Detroit Lions and head coach Dan Campbell?

Karpovich: Campbell is dealing with a new quarterback and a team in transition and they are looking at some younger players. The Lions have played hard but they have not been able to keep pace with their first two opponents. Campbell also has handled the disgruntled Jamie Collins situation fairly well.

I expect Detroit to play hard against the Ravens and they should be able to move the ball. However, the question is can they outscore Baltimore.

5.) Who wins this Week 3 matchup and why?

Karpovich: The Ravens have adapted to all of their injuries and are coming off a spirited 36-35 win over the Chiefs. Don't expect any letdown against the Lions. 

The Ravens know they have to stack some wins in the coming weeks. Baltimore is battle-tested after playing two tough games to start the season. The Lions played well in the second half against the 49ers but fell apart against the Packers. Look for the Ravens to wear them down even with their injury/COVID challenges.

Ravens 37, Lions 17