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Facing Lions Brings Back Great Memories for Justin Tucker

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K Justin Tucker

The Lions have seen enough of Justin Tucker, but he's not upset about seeing them again on Sunday.

Tucker had one of the most extraordinary moments of his great career against the Lions in 2021 when he kicked an NFL-record 66-yard field goal as time expired to beat Detroit, 19-17. The epic kick bounced off the crossbar before it tumbled through the uprights, only adding to the drama.

In 2013, Tucker had another memorable game against Detroit, kicking six field goals and accounting for all of Baltimore's points in a 18-16 victory.

Those games were in Detroit at Ford Field, a domed stadium where kicking conditions are near perfect. On Sunday, the Ravens will host the Lions at M&T Bank Stadium, a challenging venue for kickers due to the unpredictable winds.

Tucker will be happy if his good karma against the Lions continues in Baltimore.

"It's probably coincidence that we've had some long kicks against this particular opponent," Tucker said. "But you could definitely say I love playing in Detroit."

Two years removed from his record-setting kick against the Lions, Tucker says fans still talk to him about it on a regular basis.

"Typically, my wife and I will be out to dinner, or I'll be walking through the grocery store, or going to get a cup of coffee and I'll inevitably run into Ravens fans, and it does tend to get brought up, like 100% of the time," Tucker said.

Tucker is coming off a game in which he kicked six field goals against the Titans in London, and as usual, the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history is entering Sunday's game in a groove. That could spell more Tucker trouble for the Lions.

"It's nice in a single game to get a good handful of opportunities to dial into technique and get comfortable," Tucker said. "There's such a thing as getting into a zone. Trying to find it is always a challenge. When you get a lot of opportunities and you have success, it's easier to keep the momentum going."

Asked if Tucker's Detroit dominance transfers to M&T Bank Stadium, Special Teams Coordinator Chris Horton smiled.

"I think anytime you put Justin out there, he's going to try to dominate the football game," Horton said. "If you let him line up and [you] say, 'Hey, you go out there. It's field goal time,' he's fired up, and he's going to be ready. Hopefully, that will stay at our house as well."

John Harbaugh Has High Praise for Dan Campbell

Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell is an early candidate for NFL Coach of the Year, having led the Lions to a 5-1 record. The Lions haven't made the playoffs since 2016, but Campbell has changed the culture of the organization with his leadership and enthusiasm in his first opportunity as a head coach.

The Lions finished 3-13-1 his first season, but climbed above .500 (9-8) with a strong finish in 2022 and have carried that momentum into this year.

Head Coach John Harbaugh has been impressed with Campbell's leadership.

"I have so much respect for Coach Campbell as a player, of course, but really as a coach," Harbaugh said. "What he's done as a coach and what he's all about, how he wants his teams to play are very clear cut, and I love the colorful way he explains it and expresses it. I think great coaches have a knack for doing that, as well. He has those guys playing at a really high level."

Harbaugh Leaves Door Open for Terrell Suggs to Address Team on Sunday

It's going to be an emotional Sunday for former Raven Terrell Suggs, who will be inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor presented by Meritage Jewelers.

Suggs was an emotional leader during his playing days and addressed the team on many occasions. If he feels the urge to speak prior to Sunday's game, Harbaugh will welcome that.

"I think if he shows up, and he has got a word, definitely," Harbaugh said. "We're kind of that way with everybody. With a legend like that – a guy that understands what it's all about – the guys would love to hear from him, I'd love to hear from him, and that'd be awesome if it works out."

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Ronnie Stanley Feels Better, 'But Nowhere Near Standard of Play'

Ronnie Stanley had his best game of the season in Week 6 and was the Ravens' second-highest graded offensive player according to Pro Football Focus (78.9), allowing just three hurries in 37 pass-blocking snaps.

The talented left tackle has two games under his belt after returning in Week 5 from a knee injury that forced him to miss three games. However, the former All-Pro feels his play can reach another level.

"I definitely feel like I'm getting better, but I'm still nowhere near to my standard of play," Stanley said. "Definitely improving, definitely plan on taking another step up this week."

Stanley faces a challenging matchup against Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, who leads Detroit with 4.5 sacks. The No. 2-overall pick in 2022 has lived up to expectations, and it will be Stanley's job to keep Hutchinson from being a disruptive force.

"He definitely never gives up on a play," Stanley said. "He just seems to be around the ball a lot."

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