Alright, Detroit Lions fans, here we go again. The Detroit Lions vs. Baltimore Ravens Week 7 matchup is going to be a knock-down, drag-out fight. We already experienced the grit the Lions have in their domination of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6, and it doesn't get easier this week. It's time to dive into the numbers to try to make some sense of this heavyweight matchup.
Detroit Lions offense vs. Baltimore's defense
The Ravens come into this game sitting at 4-2 on the season and having traveled back home from their matchup with the Tennessee Titans in London last week. The Lions are 5-1 and boast one of the best defenses, that will be tested this weekend, and are coming off a huge win down in Tampa Bay. This matchup will be one of the tougher matchups for the hometown team and will be close throughout.
Lions' rushing attack vs. Ravens' run defense
Here's where it is going to get really tricky and Ben Johnson is going to have to be creative. The Lions are down to potentially their fourth running back if Craig Reynolds and Jamyr Gibbs are unable to go in Baltimore. David Montgomery will be out for a while, so it'll fall to someone currently not on their 53-man roster to carry the load. For their own efforts, the Ravens' defense only allows 97 yards on the ground per game but does allow four yards per carry. It will be tough sledding for the Lions on the ground this week, with the offensive line needing to ball out to get Jared Goff some help.
Lions' passing game vs. Ravens' secondary
If we thought this game might be like the Tampa Bay game where the Lions can be one-dimensional, we thought wrong. The Ravens' secondary is tough too, led by Kyle Hamilton. They surrender only 163.2 yards per game, which is good for second-best in the NFL. Something will have to give though because the Lions are putting up 259.5 yards per game through the air as Jared Goff continues to play elite football. Much like they did last week, and usually against an overly tough defense, the screen game and quick game are going to play a major factor this week.
Overall, this is a clash of the titans. It's the second-best defense according to DVOA squaring off against the fourth-best offense. Points will be a premium in this game, so ball security and staying on the field for the offense are going to be huge factors in their success.
Detroit Lions' defense vs. Baltimore's offense
The Lions' defense won them the game last week. Yes, the offense put the points on the board, but the defense made sure the Bucs didn't follow suit. They have a tall task this weekend with Lamar Jackson leading the Ravens' offense. Disciplined rushes and containment are going to be the keys for the front seven in order to slow down a rush-first offense.
Lions' run stoppers vs. the Ravens' ground game
The Ravens like to run the football. There's no question about that. They run the ball on 53% of their plays and gain roughly about 4.3 yards per carry. Gus Edwards has gotten the bulk of the carries for the Ravens as J.K. Dobbins dealt with an Achilles injury and hasn't played since the first week. The Lions defense is the best on per-game yardage allowed, coming in at 65 yards per game.
Lions secondary vs. the Ravens' passing attack
Now, this is the part where the Lions could take a bit of an advantage, especially if they set the tone right from the beginning of the game. Jackson has always been a legs-first quarterback and is near the bottom of the league in yards per game (24th) but he does take care of the football. The focus this week is going to be keeping Jackson in the pocket and having Tracy Walker and Kerby Joseph running the backend of the defense to keep the defense in the right alignment to slow down this Ravens' offense.
This game will be a tight one. You'll be on the edge of your seat for most of it with a knot in your stomach. It could be a loss on the schedule even if the Lions play great. It could be a win for the Lions even if the Ravens play great. There's going to be a mistake or turnover that swings this game one way or the other. However, the Lions will find a way to keep the train rolling and win by a field goal, 27-24.