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Ravens-Lions: Matchups to Watch, Advantage, Prediction

Baltimore plays at Detroit in Week 3.

The Ravens play at the Detroit Lions in Week 3 and will be missing several key players. 

Here are the matchups to watch, along with who has the advantage and a prediction.

Offense

Passing Offense: Quarterback Lamar Jackson has thrown for 474 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions over two games. When the Ravens need a big play, Jackson has looked for Marquise Brown downfield and he's made the plays of a No. 1 wide receiver. Brown leads the Ravens in targets (16), receptions (12), yards (185) and touchdowns (2). Both players were listed as questionable but appear ready to play. Jackson also got tight end Mark Andrews more involved in the offense last week and he could play a big role in this game. Detroit has yet to get an interception over the first two games and is allowing 269 yards passing  per game. Defensive end Charles Harris had a sack and two quarterback hits last week against the Packers. The Lions, however, are shorthanded without cornerbacks Jeffrey Okudah,(Achilles tendon) and Ifeatu Melifonwu (quadriceps).

Advantage: Ravens

Rushing Offense: The Ravens lead the league with 220 rushing yards per game despite losing their two top running backs — J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. Jackson keeps teams off-balance with his feet and Ty’Son Williams is averaging 6.5 yards per carry as the starting running back. The Lions allow 113 yards per game and will struggle to contain the Ravens. Linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. is a solid tackler but Detroit is not strong upfront.

Advantage: Ravens

Defense

Passing Defense: Baltimore has struggled in the secondary and is allowing 376 passing yards per game, which ranks last in the NFL. Lions quarterback Jard Goff has thrown for 584 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. The Ravens will face one of the league's top tight ends for a third straight week in T.J. Hockenson, who 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. De'Andre Swift also has 12 catches for 106 yards. 

Advantage: Even

Rushing Defense: Baltimore has been stout against the run. However, 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, so they will be short-handed. 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. The Lions are led by Jamaal Williams, who has run for 79 yards, and Swift (76 yards). Even with the missing players, Baltimore should be able to contain the Lions.

Advantage: Ravens

Special Teams: Ravens kicker Kicker Justin Tucker has converted all three of his field-goal attempts. Devin Duvernay is averaging 16.6 yards on five punt returns. Punter Sam Koch has been solid again. Lions kicker Austin Seibert has made two of three field-goal attempts and Kalif Raymond is averaging 10 yards on punt returns.

Advantage: Ravens

Prediction

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 the missing players.

Ravens 37, Lions 20