It's only the preseason, but Head Coach John Harbaugh believes the Detroit Lions will come into M&T Bank Stadium trying to make a statement in a nationally-televised game.
Well, the Ravens are looking to make a declaration of their own.
After getting off to a slow start in its preseason opener in Atlanta, Baltimore is looking for a better showing in front of home fans for the first time this season.
"We are ready to come back and redeem ourselves just a little bit," cornerback Lardarius Webb said.
Webb is specifically speaking for the starting secondary, which was burned by the Falcons. Webb said the Ravens were trying to jump routes, and will let the game come to them this time. He also gave credit to an explosive Falcons passing attack.
The secondary will have its hands full once again with quarterback Matthew Stafford and Pro Bowl wide receiver Calvin Johnson. The Lions had the No. 4 passing game in the league last year.
"Knowing the schedule that we have this year, all the quarterbacks that we have this year, this preseason test that we are getting can do nothing but help us get better, help us learn," Webb said. "We are ready."
Baltimore's first-team offense (three consecutive three-and-outs) and special teams unit (nearly allowed a touchdown), will also be in search of a bounce back.
The Ravens were a perfect 11-0 at home last year, including the preseason and playoffs. They won't have an easy time keeping that streak going versus Detroit.
"They are just a real physical, talented football team. It's going to be a big challenge for us," Harbaugh said. "I'm sure they'll still be trying to make their statement, and our guys will understand that."
3 Matchups To Watch
CB Cary Williams vs. WR Calvin JohnsonLardarius Webb could get this assignment considering he's the top cornerback, but the taller Williams seems to make more sense. Williams had a tough time with Atlanta's Julio Jones and gets an even more polished, big-bodied wideout this week in the man nicknamed "Megatron."
OTs Bryant McKinnie and Kelechi Osemele vs. DEs Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden BoschThe position under the microscope the most has been Baltimore's offensive tackles. Bryant McKinnie, rookie Kelechi Osemele and Michael Oher will get a stiff challenge from two of the top pass-rushing ends in the league. Avril is a franchise player who had 11 sacks last year. Vanden Bosch had eight sacks.
C Matt Birk vs. DT Ndamukong SuhThe veteran will square off against the talented youngster. Suh is one of the league's most physical and sometimes nasty players. Birk has seen plenty of that in his 15 years. He didn't play in the first preseason game, so it will be good to see if he's back up to speed after missing much of training camp (back).
Does the hurry-up offense take hold?The Ravens immediately came out with their no-huddle offense, but it took three consecutive three-and-outs for it to start working. It will be interesting to see if Baltimore goes with it again, and if it's more successful this time. The Ravens would like to get it on track so they feel more comfortable using it in the regular season.
How do the newcomers look?Two prominent draft picks should be making their game day debut in outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw and running back Bernard Pierce. Since both missed the first preseason game, expect them to see extended snaps the second time around as the team wants to get a feel for whether Upshaw can start and Pierce can handle the No. 2 running back job.
Will the backups keep dominating?The Ravens scored 24 straight points in the second half as the second- and third-team players overwhelmed the Atlanta Falcons. Several rookie free agents – wide receiver Deonte Thompson, running back Bobby Rainey and safety Omar Brown – particularly stood out. Was it a flash in the pan or an indication that these players are a must-keep.
What Have They Done Lately?
Harbaugh spoke of the Lions' personality, which stems from Maryland native and Head Coach Jim Schwartz. He has turned around Detroit's franchise, as it reached the playoffs for the first time since 1999 after going 10-6 last year.
Detroit features a high-octane offense, commanded by Stafford. It has a defense that has some major talent and expects to be improved this year. It also feasts on turnovers, finishing fourth in the league last year with a 11 ratio.
RavensTotal Defense - 288.9 (3)
Rush Defense - 92.6 (2)
Pass Defense - 196.3 (4)
Points Allowed Per Game - 16.6 (3)
Total Offense - 338.7 (15)
Rush Offense - 124.8 (10)
Pass Offense - 213.9 (19)
Points Scored Per Game - 23.6 (12)
Total Defense – 367.6 (23)
Rush Defense – 128.1 (23)
Pass Defense – 239.4 (22)
Points Allowed Per Game – 24.2 (23) Total Offense – 396.1 (5)
Rush Offense – 95.2 (29)
Pass Offense – 300.9 (4)
Points Scored Per Game – 29.6 (4)