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Ravens-Lions Sunday primer

A get-well game? If not now, never.

Forget the forecast of rain. Unless there are 30 mph wind gusts, the Ravens' offense should get back on the fast track pretty quickly today against the Lions. Detroit brings the NFL's worst pass defense (274.8 yards per game, 28 touchdown passes allowed) and the league's worst scoring defense (giving up 29.8 points per game) to M&T Bank Stadium.

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That alone should lift Joe Flacco's confidence.

The Lions have a small handful of above-average players on their defense. What they don't have to any degree is speed. So maybe we'll finally see Demetrius Williams run some deep routes today. And that would help Derrick Mason on the intermediate patterns, and Todd Heap in the shorter ones. Indeed, if Mark Clayton is out with a hamstring, Williams should get his shot to make some plays. He's been waiting 12 games; he should be ready.

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All the Ravens should be ready. They are 2-6 against teams with a winning record this season. They are 4-0 against teams with a losing record. And here comes the 2-10 Lions, who haven't won on the road since Oct. 28, 2007. The Lions have lost 18 straight road games.

You want more? Today's starting Lions quarterback is Daunte Culpepper. He's 0-2 as a starter this season for Detroit, was 0-5 last year and is still looking for his first win quarterbacking the Lions.

After all of their near-misses, the Ravens just need to take care of business down the stretch to have a legitimate shot at the playoffs. None of the last four teams on their schedule has a winning record. The team directly in front of them -- 7-5 Jacksonville -- has to play Miami, Indianapolis and New England (on the road) in the next three weeks. It's not hard to imagine the Jaguars losing two of them.

For the Ravens to fail now would indicate a serious problem: in character, coaching or personnel -- or all of the above. Chicago and Jay Cutler await, but this week, it's all about getting back on track for the Ravens. The Lions need a rain-check.


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