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Ravens-Lions instant analysis

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Ravens-Lions instant analysis

BALTIMORE -- The Ravens' first unit looked crisp, particularly running the hurry-up offense, but they couldn't get the ball in the end zone and the secondary gave up too many big plays in dropping their preseason home debut to the Detroit Lions 27-12.

Unlike in the opener vs. the Atlanta Falcons last week when the Ravens had three consecutive three-and-outs, quarterback Joe Flacco was more comfortable with better protection from an offensive line that featured Michael Oher starting for the second game in a row at left tackle ahead of Bryant McKinnie. Veteran center Matt Birk started instead of rookie Gino Gradkowski.

Flacco ran the hurry-up offense almost exclusively in the first quarter as the Ravens posted nine first downs, which was nine more than they had during the same span against the Falcons. Receiver Jacoby Jones had a 35-yard gain on a reverse that set up a 50-yard field goal by Justin Tucker and spotted them a 6-0 lead.

That wasn't nearly enough, however, to hold off Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and receiver Calvin Johnson, probably the best big-play, pitch-and-catch combo in the game. Baltimore is a middling team when comes to red zone offense, and settling for field goals will prove problematic in the long run against high-powered offenses such as Detroit.

In two preseason games, the first unit has scored just one touchdown. In fairness to Flacco, he didn't have deep threat Torrey Smith who was a late scratch because of a sprained ankle and replaced by LaQuan Williams.

But for the second week in a row, the secondary didn't perform to the elite level that has been projected. Rookie Jimmy Smith, in his first preseason action since a back injury earlier this month, had good coverage on Johnson, who adjusted to a short throw by Stafford to haul in an 18-yard touchdown catch as the Lions took a 7-6 lead they'd never relinquish. Earlier in that drive, Cary Williams was beaten on a 57-yard catch by Johnson. Williams also was victimized by Falcons receiver Julio Jones.

Smith was hit with an illegal contact penalty after being beaten by Johnson, giving Detroit an automatic first down and leading to a 24-yard strike from Stafford to Titus Young to make it 14-6. Young appeared to be stopped inside the five-yard line but he broke the tackle by safety Emanuel Cook.

Stafford completed 12 of 17 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns for a passer rating of 145.2. Johnson had five catches for 111 yards and one score. The Ravens also sabotaged themselves with six first-half penalties.

There's still a lot of work to be done.

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Ravens lower concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium ahead of 2018 season

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens lower concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium ahead of 2018 season

Enjoying a game at M&T Bank Stadium just became a little more affordable.

On Thursday, the Ravens introduced their new "Flock Friendly Fare," reducing the price of 21 of their most popular food and beverage items.  

The change comes as the organization focuses on revamping the fan experience in 2018. Fans will see an average of 33 percent in total savings and up to 53 percent savings on a single item.  

"As a lot of you probably know, after every game we survey fans to see how we're doing; what have we done well and what have we not done well. Over the years, one of the biggest criticisms we received was for the gameday concessions prices," Ravens President Dick Cass said on the team's website

Alcoholic beverages were all reduced by $1 with the addition of domestic 12 ounce beer for $5.

Chicken tenders with fries went from $11 to $7, while a slice of pizza went from $8.50 to $6. No single item will cost above $9.

On average, you will now be able to feed a family of four for $44 compared to $66.75 in years past. To see all of the reductions, click the arrow in the post below. 

In 2017, the Atlanta Falcons reduced their concession prices upon opening their brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Ravens, however, are expecting to lose $1.5 million in concession revenue due to the change. 

Introducing our new Flock Friendly Fare!

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Vegas odds against Lamar Jackson starting for Ravens in 2018

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AP Images

Vegas odds against Lamar Jackson starting for Ravens in 2018

Vegas has spoken and they are not optimistic about rookie Lamar Jackson starting under center for the Ravens in 2018.

Bovado, an online gambling site, has set the odds on how the top 2018 rookies will perform and they have Jackson getting 0.5 starts this season.

That number will come as a surprise considering the popular narrative that Lamar Jackson will be the Ravens' starter in no time. The team made it clear they are planning for life after Flacco when they traded back into the first-round of the 2018 draft to select the quarterback out of Louisville at No. 32

Flacco - who is entering his 11th season with the organization - is experiencing a decline in his performance of late, one that can not be put entirely on his shoulders as the team has failed in finding him valuable weapons to throw to. Nonetheless, Flacco's projected 2018 season is very much up in the air and it appears Vegas is betting on the one-time Super Bowl MVP to bounce back. 

However, the Ravens have failed to make the playoffs four of the last five seasons, and if that trend continues into 2018, the rookie could get his shot at flipping the script.

If you're a betting man, it could payoff to bet the over on Jackson. Low risk, seemingly high reward. 

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