The Baltimore Ravens return to M&T Bank Stadium after spending the last three weeks on the road to face the hot Detroit Lions in what’s expected to be one of the top matchups of Week 7.
The Ravens (4-2) went 2-1 during the road stretch, crushing the Browns in Cleveland and beating the Titans in London last Sunday. They’re surely more than happy to return home, as players and coaches will tell you about the benefits of home-field advantage.
That advantage will be tested against the best opponent they’ve faced all season, however. The Lions (5-1) are on a four-game winning streak under head coach Dan Campbell. They are one of the most balanced teams in the NFL — Detroit ranks in the top five in offensive and defensive defense-adjusted value over average — posing a great challenge for a Ravens team looking to boost its legitimacy as a contender in the AFC. The Lions’ skill players, with wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, tight end Sam LaPorta, running back Jahmyr Gibbs and quarterback Jared Goff, are one of the best groups the Ravens have faced.
Here’s our full preview of Sunday’s matchup.
Players to know
Goff has been on a tear. He was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week after going 30-of-44 for 353 yards with two touchdowns in a 20-6 victory over Tampa Bay. His passer rating was 107.5.
Goff has thrown for 1,618 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions. His completion rate of 69.5% and his passer rating of 105.1 are career highs.
The Lions right tackle was a Pro Bowl player in 2022. In 2023, he’s been even better.
The former No. 7 overall pick hasn’t allowed a sack or hit all season and has given up only three pressures, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s en route to another Pro Bowl nod and will create problems for Ravens pass rushers.
The rookie tight end from Iowa — a school that has produced several impressive players at the position in recent years — has had a hot start to his NFL career. Although LaPorta is dealing with a calf injury, he figures to suit up against the Ravens and continue to be one of the top offensive weapons for the Lions. LaPorta has 29 catches for 325 yards and three touchdowns.
What’s at stake
For the Lions: The Lions are cruising atop the NFC North. A loss wouldn’t hurt them terribly, but a win would show the league this team is for real.
For the Ravens: A win against a hot team like the Lions would quell a lot of questions and concerns about the Ravens’ offensive struggles.
What people are saying
“They’re executing at a high level. That starts with the quarterback — Jared’s doing a great job with it. It’s a system that he’s basically grown up in. That system is a system he learned right from the first year when he started off with McVay — coach Sean McVay. He just knows how to run those plays really well. I think [the] timing is really good. The receivers are on the same page — the backs and everything. They’ve been in it for a few years now, and they’re just executing at a high level.” — Ravens coach John Harbaugh
“I love the stories when teams have just been down for long, and they’re like: ‘No more. Enough is enough.’ And I think [head coach Dan Campbell] over there has done a great job. I think, [with] the players that they have surrounding them, they’ve created a great atmosphere, energy and team; they’re a great team. So it’s going to be a good game.” — Ravens receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
“They are dogs on that side. I told them today, ‘This is the best D-tackle group I’ve played with,’ and it makes my life a lot easier when you’ve got three guys that can go in there and just push the pocket and knock everybody back and shut the run down. It makes our lives easier on the edge [to where] you can do anything.” — Ravens outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney
By the numbers
Offensive DVOA: 22.4% (4th)
Defensive DVOA: -16.5% (3rd)
Special teams DVOA: -0.1% (19th)
Offensive DVOA: 8.1% (10th)
Defensive DVOA: -16.6% (2nd)
Special teams DVOA: 0.5% (15th)
On the air
Kickoff: 1 p.m. Sunday
Radio: 98 ROCK, WBAL 1090 AM, 101.5 FM