Previewing Saturday’s game against the Ravens


The Lions will play their third consecutive AFC North opponent when they go to Baltimore for Saturday’s preseason game against the Ravens.

Detroit Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky (8) hasn’t played his best football during the first two preseason games. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Through the first two games, the Lions have looked really good and really bad. They made the Steelers look silly, but that was without Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger. Last week, the Lions’ starting offense moved the ball but failed to get in the end zone against the Bengals. The backups were thoroughly outplayed by Cincinnati as well. Lions backup quarterback, Dan Orlovski, made Bengals second-string quarterback, A.J. Dalton, look like Tom Brady. There have been some good takeaways on the defensive side of the ball, particularly Tahir Whitehead and Devin Taylor looking to be on the verge of becoming household names here in Detroit. Saturday’s third, and most important game of the preseason, will give fans a more accurate depiction of what to expect from the team’s starters.

Lions Preseason Game 3: At Baltimore Ravens

7:00 PM Saturday, August 27th

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) is expected to make his Preseason debut in Saturday’s game against the Lions. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports /

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is supposed to make his preseason debut against the Lions, which will give Detroit’s young, inexperienced secondary a good barometer of where they’re at. Flacco led his team to a Super Bowl Championship with current Lions head coach, Jim Caldwell, calling the plays for Baltimore in 2012. The Lions are hoping to get some key guys back soon, particularly Eric Ebron, DeAndre Levy and Ameer Abdullah. Realistically, we should expect to see Abdullah get a few carries but I would be surprised if Ebron or Levy actually get on the field. The Lions should have their full arsenal on offense, with the exception of Ebron.

The third preseason game is traditionally the one that coaches and players treat the most like an actual game. The first-string players generally play the entire first half, if not more, depending on each team’s situation. The goal is to get some production out of your starters and then hopefully get them out of the game healthy while the reserves battle out those final roster spots. Veterans are trying to show they can still play, young guys are trying to survive the next wave of cuts and fans, selfishly, want to see who may be worth a spot on their fantasy football teams.

Three things to Watch

  • Orlovski vs Ruddock – After many felt it was a reach to take Jake Rudock in the draft, seeing Dan Orvloski — an experienced NFL quarterback — throw two awful interceptions for touchdowns in the first two games, it’s clear the Lions need to move on. Rudock looked sharp in the Lions’ first game, but he threw a pretty bad interception last week against the Bengals. Overall, he’s playing better football than Orlovski, but will his lack of experience cause the coaches to play it safe? They feel more comfortable with Dan, despite how the rational viewer may feel.  For the record, I don’t consider having Orlovski as the number-two QB behind Stafford to be playing it safe. If Orlovski is going to be the backup, he better show he is capable Saturday night.
  • Young Defensive Backs – Alex Carter, last year’s third-round pick, needs to stand out and show why he deserves a roster spot. You would think a guy like Carter would be safe for another year at least, but Lawson and Diggs have both overachieved and could make Carter expendable. Rookie safety, Miles Killebrew could benefit from a good showing with starter Rafael Bush struggling thus far. Tavon Wilson has looked better than Bush, but most believe Killebrew has the most long-term upside.  Lawson seems to be doing okay in his new starting role, but these young guys really need this experience to get their mistakes out of the way before the games actually start counting.
  • 1st-Team Offensive Touchdown – The Lions were one of the most efficient teams in the red zone last season when it came to scoring touchdowns. So far this preseason, the starters have moved the ball well, but haven’t been able to score any touchdowns. Matthew Stafford has looked crisp and efficient with the ball so far. He hasn’t thrown an interception and has completed over 70% of his passes during his four total drives. They’ve been pretty vanilla in terms of play-calling but have flashed that big-play ability they hoped for when giving Marvin Jones $40-million. The running game hasn’t been too effective and Theo Riddick won’t be getting those same inside run calls when the regular season begins. Look for the team to get in the end zone at all costs.