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The Detroit Lions host the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Dan Campbell’s Lions are looking for their first win, and the weirdly depleted Ravens present a better chance than initially expected for Detroit to break through into the win column.

The game is about more than wins and losses for these rebuilding Lions. There are a few key places on the field to focus upon for Detroit, areas that will play a big role in who ultimately picks up the victory.

Here are four key things I’ll be watching for in Sunday’s game.

The young secondary

(AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

With Jeff Okudah and Ifeatu Melifonwu both on injured reserve, the Lions have been forced into a patchwork quilt of inexperienced youngsters across the cornerback position. Daryl Worley offers some veteran presence, and the 26-year-old signed from the practice squad is playing to stay in the lineup permanently. Through the first two weeks, undrafted rookie AJ Parker sure looks like a keeper in the slot. Will we see more of Parker playing outside? Amani Oruwariye is performing among the very worst at his position across the league, unable to stay with his coverage marks and also blowing tackling opportunities. Then there’s Bobby Price and Jerry Jacobs, who were not ready for primetime in their relief appearances on Monday night. Detroit’s safeties haven’t been a help for the greenhorns, unfortunately. The good thing about the youngsters: they can grow quickly. They’ll need to if the Lions are going to win a game before long.

Will Jared Goff attack the Ravens woeful pass defense?

While the Lions have allowed the highest QB Rating to opposing quarterbacks through the first two weeks, the Ravens have had their own major issues in pass defense. Nobody has allowed more passing yards than the Ravens, who allow over 100 more yards per game in the air than the Lions do through two weeks. Baltimore’s defense has been gutted by the Raiders and Chiefs attacking down the field. More specifically, attacking with very good tight ends deeper than normal. In T.J. Hockenson, the Lions have the NFL’s leader in receptions for a tight end. In Kalif Raymond, the Lions do have a wideout with field-stretching speed. It’s on Goff to properly use them. He has done that only sporadically in his first two games as the Lions quarterback. Given the dilapidated state of the Baltimore defense — four key players up front out with COVID and another out with injury — Goff should have time behind the Lions’ solid offensive line to take shots. If not now, when?

The Jamie Collins replacement(s)

(AP Photo/Matt Durisko)

The Lions put an end to the Jamie Collins experience at off-ball linebacker after a miserable effort in the Week 2 loss to Green Bay. The fans’ cries to see more of rookie Derrick Barnes resonated with Campbell, and now Barnes will get his chance to play extensively. Against Lamar Jackson. The Ravens QB is fourth in the league in rushing through two weeks while also completing 66 percent of his passes despite throwing the ball more than a full yard deeper than his career average. Be careful what we wish for? That could be the case for Barnes, and also for Jalen Reeves-Maybin, who Campbell indicated will also play much more in place of Collins.

Rushing the passer

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions have registered just four sacks and 10 total QB hits in the first two weeks. One of those sacks came from safety Tracy Walker. The Detroit front seven simply has not produced enough pressure on the opposing quarterback despite blitzing at a higher rate than all but one other team. Against Jackson, hitting him and finishing pressures is critical. Creating an initial pressure only to see him escape is worse than not rushing him at all. With standout left tackle Ronnie Stanley out, the Lions pass rush will get chances. It’s imperative that Romeo Okwara, Trey Flowers, Levi Onwuzurike, Michael Brockers and friends finish what they start and start it early and often.

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