The Lions and Ravens have met two previous times in the preseason, both times at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. In their last preseason meeting in 2004, the Ravens came away with a 17-6 victory. They've met three times in the regular season with the home team winning each time. The Ravens won 48-3 back in their last regular-season meeting in 2009.
2011 REGULAR SEASON RANKINGS
|Points per game||29.6 (4)||23.6 (12)|
|Total yards per game||396.1 (5)||338.7 (15)|
|Rushing yards||95.2 (29)||124.8 (10)|
|Passing yards||300.9 (4)||213.9 (19)|
|Points allowed||21.4 (23)||16.6 (3)|
|Total yards allowed||367.6 (23)||288.9 (3)|
|Rushing yards allowed||128.1 (23)||92.6 (2)|
|Passing yards allowed||239.4 (22)||196.3 (4)|
|Turnover ratio||+11 (4)||+2 (11t)|
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Lacey was given first-team reps at right cornerback the last couple days of practice this week with rookie
Young didn't play against the Browns because he was back in California for the birth of his son. There's a lot of excitement brewing for the kind of season Young can have after watching the way he finished last season and the training camp he's had.
Avril got a full week of practice in and should make his preseason debut tonight. He is coming off an 11-sack performance in 2011 and has looked very disruptive in training camp so far.
Joe Flacco, QB:
The Ravens have tried to increase the tempo on offense this preseason by running more no-huddle. It seemed to have helped Flacco's tempo last week against the Falcons, when he completed 9 of 12 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown.
Ray Rice, RB:
The Lions allowed 128 rushing yards per game last year, which ranked in the bottom third of the league. Rice will be the first superstar running back they play this season because rookie Trent Richardson didn't play for the Browns last week. Rice led the NFL with 2,068 total yards from scrimmage last year.
Ray Lewis, LB:
Lewis enters his 17th season as the league's longest-tenured defensive player still playing with one team. There doesn't seem to be much evidence that he's slowing down, either. Lewis had 95 tackles, two sacks, an interception and two forced fumbles last year. He's the gold standard for middle linebackers in the NFL.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
Lions passing offense:
This should be a terrific matchup tonight. The Lions had the NFL's fourth-ranked offense last year. The Ravens ranked No. 4 against the pass. The Lions are looking to be crisper in the pass game this week after recording just 174 yards and a 48.5 completion percentage against the Browns.
The Lions are hoping to get all four quarterbacks into the game this week, but Stafford said Wednesday that he's expecting to play a little bit more, too.
Lions rushing offense:
The Lions will be without their top two backs tonight in
The Lions will be able to better tell where their depth stands at running back against the Ravens tonight. The Browns ranked 30th against the run in 2011. The Ravens were No. 2. The Ravens allowed 3.53 yards per rush last year, marking the 16th consecutive season they've allowed opponents less than a 4.0 average
Ravens passing offense:
The Lions allowed more than 300 yards passing against the Browns last week. Flacco posted his third straight season of at least 3,500 yards and 20 touchdowns last year. The Lions are still tying to find the right combinations in their secondary and are still without starting safety
The great equalizer for the Lions will be the ability to get after Flacco and the rest of the Ravens' quarterbacks with that stout pass rush. Getting Avril back should help and
Edge: Ravens (slightly)
Ravens rushing offense:
The Lions allowed more than 128 yards per game last year on the ground and the Ravens had a top 10 rushing offense. The numbers say the Ravens have the edge. Running back Ray Rice is one of the game's best and is expected to start tonight.
The Lions did a nice job against the Browns last week (120 rushing yards allowed). The Ravens only averaged 3.4 yards per rush last week against the Falcons, but they still have a slight edge over the Lions.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
Get it rolling:
The last time Baltimore native Jim Schwartz took a team back to his hometown they were throttled 48-3. These aren't the 2009 Lions, though, and Schwartz should have a better showing this time around.
"I'll say hi to a couple of people before the game or something like that but our focus is on the Ravens and nothing else," Schwartz said Wednesday.
"You know preseason games are very important to us but we're not flying any banners for preseason game wins or anything like that. It's a workday, nothing more."
Moore or less:
Make the progression:
Besides the running game and the play of backup quarterback
"Hopefully we play a lot better," Schwartz said Wednesday. "We need to play a lot better. We need to play with a little more sense of urgency."
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told the Baltimore Sun this week that his starters could play "as much as a half" tonight. That should tell Schwartz and Co. a lot about what they have with their first and second units. A dropped pass is all that stood in the way of the Ravens playing in the Super Bowl last year.