Lions-Ravens Betting Preview: Detroit Remains Big Underdog As Teams Battle Injuries

Written By Drew Ellis on September 22, 2021

When it comes to this year’s football schedule, the NFL didn’t do the Detroit Lions any early favors. The same story holds for a Week 3 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.

Following a rough 35-17 loss on Monday night to the Green Bay Packers, Detroit is on a short week as it is set to face the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday.

Lamar Jackson and the Ravens had one of the biggest wins of Week 2 against the two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs and will look to ride that momentum against the struggling Lions.

Can a banged-up Detroit compete at home this Sunday?

Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions: NFL Week 3 Odds

Lions once again a big underdog

For the third time in three games, Detroit finds itself as more than a 1-score underdog heading into the weekend.

As of early Wednesday evening, the Lions are a 9-point underdog at home against the Ravens, which is actually their lowest spread of the season thus far if it holds.

Both teams actually come into the game at 1-1 against the spread this season, while over the over has hit in all contests involving the teams.

These two franchises have only met five times, with the Ravens winning four of the five meetings. Baltimore has won and covered in the past three encounters. The last meeting was in 2017, a 44-20 win at home for the Ravens.

How to watch: Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions

  • What: Baltimore Ravens (1-1) at Detroit Lions (0-2)
  • When: 1 p.m. Sunday
  • Where: Ford Field, Detroit
  • TV: CBS (Announcers: Greg Gumbel, Adam Archuleta, AJ Ross)
  • Radio: 97.1 FM in Detroit (Announcers: Dan Miller, Lomas Brown, T.J. Lang)
  • Satellite Radio:  SiriusXM Channel 226 (Lions); SiriusXM Channel 384 (Ravens)

Packers pull away in second half

It looked as if the Lions might actually shock the world on Monday night, as they held a 17-14 lead over Green Bay at halftime. Then the second half happened.

The Pack outscored Detroit 21-0 in the final two quarters and cruised to a cover.

Green Bay actually had fewer yards (323-344), but still looked like it could do what it wanted to the Detroit defense.

The Packers only punted once as Aaron Rodgers diced up the beat-up Detroit secondary. He was 22 of 25 passing for 255 yards and four scores. Running back Aaron Jones was a handful, scoring four times in the game, including three times by reception.

Already without Jeff Okudah for the rest of the season because of an Achilles injury, the Lions lost rookie corner Ifeatu Melifonwu (pictured at top) indefinitely with a quad injury. He was placed on the IR on Wednesday.

Jared Goff looked solid in the first half of Monday’s game, but then had two turnovers in the second half and couldn’t muster anymore offensive magic. He finished 26 of 36 passing for 246 yards with two scores.

Goff was also the leading rusher with 46 yards, while the team finished with 108.

One positive for Detroit has been rookie tackle Penei Sewell. He has yet to allow a sack through two starts at left tackle. With Taylor Decker out because of a finger injury, the Lions have an issue to address upon his return. Sewell struggled in the preseason at right tackle, but has been dominant at his collegiate position.

Injuries depleting already thin Lions roster vs. Ravens

The Lions couldn’t afford to be bitten by the injury bug in order to compete this year.

It appears they already have been swarmed.

Along with losing two starting corners, receiver Tyrell Williams remains in concussion protocol. He didn’t practice Wednesday.

Running back D’Andre Swift was limited in Wednesday’s practice with a groin injury that left him questionable for Monday’s game. Swift suited up and had eight carries for 37 yards while catching four passes for 41.

Defensively, Romeo Okwara (shoulder), Michael Brockers (shoulder) and Kevin Strong (concussion) were all also limited, while Trey Flowers (shoulder/knee) didn’t participate at all.

Linebacker Jaime Collins also sat out, but for non-injury reasons. ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter tweeted out Wednesday that the Lions are looking to trade Collins.

This isn’t a good sign for a defense that already ranks 31st in the NFL in points allowed as it is set to face the NFL’s third-best offense in terms of production (443.5 ypg).

Lions tasked with containing Jackson

Baltimore has been in two nail-biters to start the 2021 season.

The Ravens suffered a 33-27 overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 1 before bouncing back with a thrilling 36-35 win over the Chiefs this past Sunday.

Typically strong defensively, the Ravens rank dead last in passing defense (376 ypg) and 31st in total defense (448 ypg) currently.

That puts a lot of pressure on Lamar Jackson, the former NFL MVP.

Jackson has been his usual entertaining self. He has thrown for 474 yards and two scores while rushing for a team-high 193 yards and two touchdowns.

One concern for the Ravens and Jackson is turnovers, as he has four through two games.

Like Detroit, Baltimore has had its unbalanced share of injuries. Standout corner Marcus Peters and second-year running back J.K. Dobbins were lost before the season. Backup running back Gus Edwards then suffered a knee injury before the season opener.

Rookie Ty’Son Williams has impressed in the backfield through two games. He has 142 yards on just 22 carries, also adding in 45 receiving yards on six catches.

Another injury to pay attention to is left tackle Ronnie Stanley. He did not practice on Wednesday because of an ankle injury. He missed all of last week with the injury, which he suffered against Las Vegas.

Photo by Al Goldis/AP
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis has lived in Michigan his whole life, and has been writing professionally for the last 21 years. Ellis has covered anything from youth baseball in mid-Michigan, a top-25 college football program, and pro sports in the Detroit area. Always keeping busy, Ellis also has over 10 years of experience in covering sports betting, handling all major sports.

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