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Ravens Must Ground High-Flying Calvin Johnson To Beat Lions

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By Samuel Njoku

The Baltimore Ravens are coming off a huge win against the Minnesota Vikings and are currently riding a three-game win streak. As the Ravens enter Week 15 of the NFL season, any room for error continues to shrink as every win counts. The next challenge for Baltimore comes against the Detroit Lions who are also fighting for a playoff spot. It’ll take everything the Ravens have to beat the Lions in Detroit on Monday Night Football.

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 28:  Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions celebrates after scoring on a 20 yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford #9 during the third quarter of the game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on November 28, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan.  The Lions defeated the Packers 40-10.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions celebrates after scoring on a 20 yard touchdown pass (Credit, Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Lions on Offense

The Ravens had to deal with one of the best running backs in the history of the NFL in Adrian Peterson on Sunday. This week, they’ll have their hands full against one of the best wide receivers in Calvin Johnson. The Ravens were built to stop the run, but there aren’t many teams built to stop Calvin Johnson. Expect the Lions to take a page from the Vikings playbook and attack the Ravens secondary with screens and deep passes down the field. The Ravens will have to do their best to get in the face of Lions QB Matthew Stafford. The Ravens played last week without Elvis Dumervil. Because of his absence, Baltimore wasn’t able to get much pressure on the quarterback. Baltimore will need to do a better job of that if they stand any chance of slowing down this prolific passing attack.

The Lions may be without one of their most dynamic play-makers in Reggie Bush for this game. The running back aggravated his calf during warm ups on Sunday and didn’t play. His status is day-to-day. If he’s unable to play, the Lions become one-dimensional which could make things easier for the Ravens.

Lions on Defense

Similar to Baltimore, the Lions defense didn’t have their best outing on Sunday. The Philadelphia Eagles made the Lions defense look bad and may give the Ravens some things to look at for their upcoming game. But at their best, the Lions can be very stout on defense. Their defensive front is one of the best in the league in stopping the run. Ray Rice ran the ball with some success against the Minnesota Vikings. It will be difficult for him to duplicate that success with Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in the middle.

The Lions are slightly more concerned with stopping Joe Flacco and his vertical passing attack. Detroit’s secondary has played poorly over the past few weeks. To put it in perspective, three of the past five quarterbacks Detroit has faced have posted their season high QB ratings against them. That’s good news for Joe Flacco and bad news for the Lions defense. With Flacco starting to get things going, the Lions will do everything in their power to make him as uncomfortable as possible inside the pocket.

Lions Coaching

Jim Schwartz has been the Detroit Lions head coach since 2009. He’s 29-47 as head coach in that time span. Schwartz was actually born and raised right outside Baltimore in Halethorpe, Maryland. He attended High School at Mount Saint Joseph High and even was a graduate assistant at the University of Maryland in 1989.

The Lions are 1-2 against the Ravens. Coach Schwartz lost his only meeting against the Ravens 19-10.

For more Ravens news and updates, visit Ravens Central.

Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. Samuel Njoku is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.

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