1. DE Dwight Freeney vs Ravens O-Line
Freeney had three sacks in four games when he was with the Seattle Seahawks this year. Can he bring that vaunted spin-move and production to Detroit? I have not heard just how many snaps he will take, but due to his assumed limited workload, he can at least go all out in those reps.
It will be fun to watch a future Hall of Fame player suit up for Detriot once again– like Allen Iverson with the Pistons, Mike Modano with the Red Wings, and the Tigers after acquiring David Price.
2. OT Taylor Decker vs LB\DE Terrell Suggs
Decker has had a hard time shaking off the rust this year after coming back from surgery. This week provides him with a little good news and a lot of bad news. The good news is he had another week of practice, strengthening, and film review to improve his game and learn from his mistakes– he allowed two sacks last week. The bad news is he faces his toughest test of the year in Suggs who is coming off of a two-sack game. One of those sacks lead to a fumble, an area Stafford is having his worst year as a pro in.
Suggs is having a great year with 9.5 sacks. He will be difficult to stop and the Lions may even need to double team him. Another issue is Swanson has been ruled out for this game which will likely make LG Glasgow slide over to C forcing Decker to have a new guard next to him. Hopefully, they can communicate and jell despite their limited practice snaps together.
3. QB Joe Flacco vs Lions DB
Flacco is on pace to have a historically bad year as he is averaging 8.2-yards per completion. HIs lowest to ever end a season was 8.3-yards. Going up against Slay and Quin, I don’t think that average will improve this week.
Flacco also has only a 74.2 QBR and has failed to reach even 200-yards in 7 of 11 games this year. He has even been under 150-yards four times. To add more perspective, Brett Hundley of Green Bay has as many 200-yard games in only seven starts and has a passer rating just one point below Flacco’s. With Flacco’s TD to Int ratio at 9-11, the Lions secondary should feast.
4. CB Darius Slay vs CB Jimmy Smith
Normally, I choose a head to head matchup, but this game has two sets of players that are both top five at their positions.
Baltimore doesn’t really have a top-notch receiver for Slay to cover and Smith will most likely be paired up with Marvin Jones. Come Monday, people will be talking about who is the better CB of the two. No matter which offense has the ball, there is a burgeoning CB you should be aware of on the opposite side of the field.
5. K Matt Prater vs K Justin Tucker
This is not so much a head to head either but it will be entertaining to watch. In my opinion, these are the No. 1 and No. 2 kickers in the NFL. Both have outstanding leg strength and with Baltimore having a great defense and the Ravens offense being easy to stall, we may see quite a few kicks from these guys.
In the pro bowl last year, Tucker released a video of him kicking a 75-yard field goal off a tee, the next day Prater goes out and one-ups him by blasting one from 76 yards out.