The Lions don’t have quite as daunting a task Sunday as they did last week, when they faced an angry Packers team on Monday Night Football at Lambeau Field, but they still will need a near-perfect game to win. The Ravens stress a defense like few other teams in the NFL. They are relentless running the football, have speed at receiver that must be accounted for, and Jackson is a magician with the ball in his hands.
Offensively, the Lions have the line to keep Baltimore’s blitz-happy defense at bay, and limit Jackson’s time on the field. But I’ve seen Goff hit the panic button one too many times to expect things to go smoothly. And in a game like this, one mistake is too many for the overmatched Lions to overcome. The pick: Ravens 34, Lions 24.
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The Ravens are excellent in the run game, leading the NFL with a 220-yard rushing average. I’m way too classy to make a joke about Lamar Jackson coming down with a reported “stomach bug” Wednesday after watching film of the Lions’ defense. The Ravens are also excellent at stopping the run, the one thing the Lions do reasonably well. The Lions’ only hope is to attack the Ravens’ weak pass defense. Rest up, T.J. Hockenson. The pick: Ravens 36, Lions 20.
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Yes, the Lions can run the ball. But this defense is weak and can’t stop anybody. Just keeping a team below 35 is a struggle. So expect to see the Lions try to run the ball. Fall behind big. And then have to try to pass their way out of it, which means interceptions and more trouble. The pick: Ravens 38, Lions 24.
Once again, the Lions will start well. Once again, their lack of talent catch up to them. Lamar Jackson should do on the ground what Aaron Rodgers did through the air and in the end it won’t look much different than the first two games. The pick: Ravens 34, Lions 23.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions predictions vs. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens: