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50 Words or Less: Expect a Battle at M&T Bank Stadium

QB Lamar Jackson
QB Lamar Jackson

It's one of the best games in the NFL this week and it kicks off at 1 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Ravens (4-2) versus the Lions (5-1) is a marquee Week 7 matchup. Here are my thoughts entering the game, all in 50 words or less:

I like how this game is set up for the Ravens. After inconsistencies the past two weeks, they know they must be sharp to beat Detroit. They're at home, where they didn't play well last time. I sense that this is a statement week, and the Ravens love making them.

The Ravens defense heard all week about the might of the Lions offense. It's reminiscent of Week 4, when the Ravens were told all about the Browns' top-ranked defense. Roquan Smith set the tone that week and did so again this week, saying he's in the "show me business."

The Lions haven't played a close game since Week 2. They've won their past four games all by two touchdowns or more. With Lamar Jackson as the starter, the Ravens haven't lost by more than one score since Nov. 11, 2021. The Lions are going to be in a battle.

It feels right that Terrell Suggs is going into the Ring of Honor when the Ravens defense is again one of the best and tied for the league lead in sacks. The Ravens don't have a Suggs, but this year's unit is as fierce as some of Suggs' top outfits.

With Jackson as its starter, Baltimore is 15-1 against the NFC, including a 7-0 mark at home. Of course, history won't be making plays this Sunday, but it may speak to NFC teams' unfamiliarity with playing Jackson. Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell called Jackson a "nightmare" this week.

The Ravens cleaned up their drops issue in one week. This week, the focus is the red zone, and I wouldn't be surprised by a quick fix. Baltimore's red-zone issues haven't truly spanned even two games. They dropped multiple touchdowns in Pittsburgh. The Lions' red-zone defense is ranked No. 21.

Justin Tucker has tormented Lions fans in his past two trips to Detroit with game-winning 61- and 66-yard kicks. We'll see if the "Blue Wave" comes to M&T Bank Stadium, but wouldn't it be funny if Lions fans traveled all that way only to watch Tucker break their hearts again?

Jared Goff has been one of the NFL's best quarterbacks this season, but he's not a guy that works well off script. He knows where the ball is supposed to go and puts it there accurately. The Ravens' task is to make the picture cloudy, either via coverage or pressure.

David Montgomery has gotten off to a strong start this season with the Lions, but rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs, who will carry a heavy load Sunday with Montgomery out, concerns me more. The first-round rookie is a home-run hitter and that's what Baltimore's defense has been susceptible to.

The Ravens need to get Odell Beckham Jr. going, but Nelson Agholor has been a great low-key signing. He has the second-most yards of any Ravens receiver, outpacing OBJ and Rashod Bateman. The drop in Pittsburgh hurt, but Nelly has been a good addition who will make many more plays.

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