NFL Football: Baltimore Ravens vs. Detroit Lions Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Sept. 26, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 1 p.m. ET, Sept. 26, 2021
Venue: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Where to watch: CBS

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Ravens -9; O/U 49.5; Ravens -475, Lions +350
BetMGM: Ravens -9; O/U 50; Ravens -455, Lions +350
Caesars: Ravens -8.5; O/U 49.5; Ravens -420, Lions +320

Season record
Ravens: 1-1
Lions: 0-2

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Ravens - Lions preview and analysis

Recent form
Ravens: won 36-35 vs. Chiefs in Week 2
Lions: lost 35-17 at Packers in Week 2

The abundance of Halloween decor in stores everywhere reminds us that it’s Edgar Allan Poe season and, in kind, could be the season of the Baltimore Ravens.

And boy, is this team ever the entertaining one.

The Ravens, by hook or by crook, found a way to knock off the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football in Week 2, avenging themselves from the bizarre Monday night game against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 1.

Baltimore’s reward for the win of the year to this point? A road contest with the lowly Detroit Lions. Sounds like a good time.

In what was expected to be a high-scoring game Sunday night with two questionable defenses, Lamar Jackson rose to the occasion with 346 total yards and three touchdowns to offset the two first-quarter interceptions he threw to Tyrann Mathieu.

Not only did the Ravens beat the Chiefs, but they recorded the first interception, and loss, in September in the already-illustrious career of Patrick Mahomes. Despite throwing for 343 yards and three touchdowns, the Ravens defense came through with Odafe Oweh forcing the game-deciding fumble with less than two minutes remaining.

Again, this is a defense that doesn’t have Marcus Peters anchoring the secondary, and a team as a whole that has nearly 20 players on injured reserve. John Harbuagh has this team well-coached and playing at an effective rate. They still need to figure out a reasonable rotation at running back, because it won’t make sense come January for Jackson to be carrying it at all times.

Ty’Son Williams (13 carries, 77 yards) had another solid game, and Latavius Murray had a touchdown in his second game with Baltimore. If Le’Veon Bell can be even what he remotely was in the past, he’s a competent third head of the three-headed dragon in the backfield. If only Gus Edwards were healthy.

Normally, a questionable Ravens defense would pose well for a Lions team that nearly pulled off a terrific comeback in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers. And for the first half on Monday Night Football against the Green Bay Packers, things looked even better for the Detroit offense.

Then the second half happened.

The Packers scored 21 unanswered points with Aaron Rodgers throwing two of his four touchdown passes in the third quarter for the 18-point win.

Quarterback Jared Goff started the game completing 13 of his first 14 passes, but couldn’t keep that same level of consistency in the second half. He threw two touchdowns but also had an interception with the Lions dropping to 0-2. Just when you thought the NFC North would be fun.

It wasn’t a dominant offensive outing by Rodgers and the Packers (323 total yards), but seeing how Detroit got gashed by the 49ers’ run game two weeks ago, it’s almost impossible for them to come back home and stop Jackson.


Curious to see how this plays out for the Ravens over the coming weeks. If they keep games close/find ways to win, Jackson’s MVP case could skyrocket once again. Detroit’s defense may not be ready to contain the former MVP, especially if his arm gets comfortable. Between Sammy Watkins and Hollywood Brown, receptions will be there if he has to stay in the pocket. Should be a comfortable win for Baltimore. Ravens by 17

Betting trends

The Ravens are 6-0 against the spread on the road after scoring 30 points or more the following game.

The over is 13-4 in the Lions’ last 17 home games the past three seasons.

Detroit is 1-13 straight up in its last 14 games as a home underdog.

Players to watch

Ravens: With all the weapons the Ravens have, you can never discount tight end Mark Andrews. This seems like a day for him to have a huge game; he had only five catches for 57 yards on Sunday night, but he caught all five targets his way. 

Lions: It could very well be a battle of tight ends. Goff has found some comfort with second-year tight end T.J. Hockenson. He’s averaging 81.5 yards per game through two games and has a touchdown in each game.

Statistical leaders

Passing: Lamar Jackson -- 474 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Lamar Jackson -- 193 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Marquise Brown -- 182 yards, 2 TD
Defense: Patrick Queen -- 17 tackles

Passing: Jared Goff -- 584 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Jamaal Williams -- 79 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: T.J. Hockenson -- 163 yards, 2 TD
Defense: Alex Anzalone -- 14 tackles

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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