Both teams were solid during the 2011-12 season and are hoping to improve in certain areas for the upcoming campaign. These teams are both Super Bowl contenders, although they are long shots and have a lot of question marks that need to be answered before the regular season begins.
Let’s take a look at the impending matchup—including players to watch, key injuries and a prediction on the outcome.
Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Md.
When: Friday, August 17 at 8 p.m. ET
Listen: NFL Audio Pass
Betting Line: Ravens -3, Over/Under 39 (Via ScoresAndOdds.com)
What's At Stake?
While it’s the preseason and nothing is truly too pressing, a lot can be gleaned from this Week 2 game as to how these teams may fare during the regular campaign.
While the starters won’t be taxed too hard, most of them—on both sides—will certainly be going nearly full speed for at least a few possessions.
After that, the coaches will put in the backups and depth players for evaluation as they prepare to cut their rosters down to the league-mandated 53-man unit to open the season.
Finding some solid platoon guys and unearthing hidden gems is the main goal for each franchise in these games, so keep an eye out for potential stars on the Lions and Ravens to emerge in this contest.
Lions Key Injuries (according to CBSSports)
RB Mikel Leshoure—QST (Hamstring)
DB Louis Delmas—QST (Knee)
WR Titus Young—QST (Knee)
WR Ryan Broyles—QST (Knee)
Ravens Key Injuries (according to CBSSports)
RB Bernard Pierce—QST (Hamstring)
WR Torrey Smith—QST (Ankle)
TE Ed Dickson—DBT (Shoulder)
TE Dennis Pitta—DBT (Hand)
LB Terrell Suggs—OUT (Achilles)
What They're Saying
The staff over at the Detroit Free Press found that while the Ravens are in the running for a championship with Joe Flacco under center, the Lions have to be wary of backup QB Curtis Painter in this contest.
The Lions return to coach Jim Schwartz's stomping grounds for Game 2. The Ravens have a Super Bowl contender under John Harbaugh -- if quarterback Joe Flacco elevates his game. But the Lions likely will see more of backup Curtis Painter, who torched the Falcons for three second-half touchdown passes Thursday night.
Lions Player to Watch: Calvin Johnson
Megatron is going to absolutely light up the suspect Ravens secondary unless it finds a way to get its act together.
Julio Jones—a great wide receiver but nowhere near Calvin Johnson’s level yet—was able to torch the Baltimore defense for over 100 yards and a touchdown in just a quarter in Atlanta’s first preseason game.
Just imagine what Johnson will do against a group that is giving up that kind of production to a second-year player.
Ravens Player to Watch: Courtney Upshaw
With Suggs potentially out for the season, the former Alabama Crimson Tide standout could be in line for a starting job.
He’s got to prove he can make plays at the NFL level, but everything suggests that the second-round pick has the chops to compete—especially after being a major factor in Nick Saban’s top-notch defense.
If Upshaw makes a major impact against the Lions and gets to Matt Stafford a few times, expect him to be a shoo-in to start at linebacker in 2012.
Key Matchup: Ravens O-Line vs. Lions D-Line
The Lions have one of the most formidable lines in the league, led by superstar DT Ndamukong Suh. Their defensive line can simply get to the QB and cause chaos in the backfield, which is why it’s so important to figure out a way to contain it.
It’s going to be a tough job for the Ravens, who have been shifting players around the line and now start Michael Oher at right tackle and Bryant McKinnie at left. If they cannot figure out a way to protect Joe Flacco and open lanes for Ray Rice, it’ll be a long day in Baltimore.
Since it’s the preseason, anything could happen. Coaches care a lot more about evaluating players than game-planning for an opponent and trying to win the contest.
However, the Lions are traditionally a solid preseason team and have a bit more offensive firepower. If they get some mismatches in the first quarter, they will put up enough points to put the game out of reach.
Final Score: Lions 21, Ravens 17
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