Giants (4-1) Ravens (3-2)
Last Sunday night a 58-yard field goal gave
the Ravens a 3 point lead over the Cincinnati Bengals. They fell behind late in
the fourth quarter and this time, a 43-yard field goal on the final play of the
game gave them a 19-17 win.
The Giants were in London playing their early morning
Sunday game with the Green Bay Packers. They were the underdogs going in, but
overcame early struggles, and finished up with a 27-22 win.
The Ravens were in the
playoffs in three of the last four years, winning the AFC North division title
in two of them. They were off to a nice 8-3 start last year when they lost their
final six games. It didn't help that quarterback Lamar Jackson suffered a season
ending ankle injury during that stretch. Currently, they lead the division with
their 3-2 record, over the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, and the Pittsburgh
Quarterback Lamar Jackson is a dual threat. He has finished either first or second
in carries and rushing yards in all four seasons with the team. That includes
his 2018 rookie year, when he took over as a starter after Joe Flacco was injured,
and went on to lead the team to wins in six of the last seven games. Jackson was
inactive for five games due to an ankle injury, and still was the teams rushing
leader. Currently Jackson leads the team with 374 rushing yards on 49 carries,
giving him an average of 7.6 yards a carry.
Running backs Justice Hill and
J.K. Dobbins have a total of 47 carries for 233 yards.
If you consider that
Jackson has more rushing yards than his top two running backs combined, and that
as a quarterback he throws all the passes, he's as close to a one man team as
you could get. Jackson has completed 95 passes for 1067 yards, 12 touchdowns,
and 5 interceptions. Tight end Mark Andrews with 32 catches for 349 yards and
4 touchdowns, is currently the leading receiver, just as he was last year. Andrews
with 21 first down catches, has more than the top two wideouts, Rashod Bateman
and Devin Duvernay combined. They have 28 catches for 469 yards, 5 touchdowns,
and 16 first downs.
finished up last year ranking dead last in the NFL in passing defense (yards),
and in the bottom third in sacks and interceptions. Much of this was due to an
inordinate number of injuries. They also dropped in one major area. Points allowed
over the last four years had them in 2nd place, 3rd place, 2nd place, and then
19th place. All this could be one of the factors leading to Wink Martindale becoming
available for the Giants after being the defensive coordinator for the Ravens
for those years.
Once again, the Ravens were hit with injuries to the defensive
unit. After three weeks, nose tackle Michael Pierce, outside linebacker Steven
Means, and cornerback Kyle Fuller, were three defensive players to suffer season
ending injuries. Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser led the team in sacks last year,
but suffered a torn Achilles during the final game. He and rookie David Ojabo
returned to practice just this week for the first time this season.
Marcus Williams was placed on injured reserve this week. Linebacker Justin Houston
has missed a few games, and will still be out for this one. Jason Pierre-Paul,
a first-round pick for the Giants in 2010, spent the past four seasons with Tampa
Bay. Pierre-Paul was limited to 2.5 sacks in 12 games, the first time since 2015
that he did not have at least 7 sacks. He underwent shoulder surgery in February,
and recently signed a one year contract with the Ravens. In two games Pierre-Paul
has a sack, a quarterback hit, a tackle for loss, and two passes defensed.
The Ravens know all about
Sauqon Barkley, who has 533 yards rushing to rank second in the league, and 676
yards from scrimmage, putting him on top in the NFL. What about Daniel Jones and
the running game, and what will he be able to do in that area this week? Coming
off an injury, last Sunday Jones ran just once in the first half for 3 yards,
but in the second, he trusted his legs more, and ran 9 times for 34 yards. As
for passing, Jones threw for only 217 yards, but that was his season high, and
he completed over 77 percent of his passes with no turnovers.
The Giants are
playing smart, using their tight ends for added pass protection. Jones hasn't
had a lot to work with, as the availability of his key wide receivers has been
lacking. Tight ends and running backs have accounted for about 40 percent of his
completions. Last week Darius Slayton came up big in London, catching six of seven
passes for 79 yards. Rookie receiver Wan'Dale Robinson looks to be back this week,
and with the Ravens being weak with their pass defense, it couldn't come at a
It would seem pretty straight forward
for a defense to plan against the Ravens. Don't let Lamar Jackson run, and limit
completions to tight end Mark Andrews. Last week the Cincinnati Bengals held Jackson
to his second lowest rushing yards and completion percentage, but 8 of his 19
completions went to Andrews for 89 yards, and the only touchdown they scored in
the game. The Giants secondary will have to be on their toes, especially safety
Xavier McKinney. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has faced Baltimore quarterback
Jackson numerous times in practice over four years, as well as a number of players
and the formations the Ravens like to use.
That could go a long way for the
Giants, and Martindale knows one of his favorite ploys, using the blitz, won't
be as effective against Jackson, who has the most touchdown passes, and highest
passer rating, among quarterbacks against the blitz. Jackson has thrown 12 touchdowns,
and 7 of them have been against the blitz. He has thrown 5 interceptions, and
only three other starting quarterbacks have thrown more than that. Can the Giants
get their first one of the season? Defensive lineman Leonard Williams, has been
out the last few games, and is listed as questionable for this one, but his potential
return could be a big one for the Giants in this game.
Once again the Giants are the underdogs, up
against Baltimore. The Ravens two losses have come against the Miami Dolphins
(3-2) and the Buffalo Bills (4-1), by a combined total of just seven points. There
are a lot of factors in play for both the Giants and Ravens as far as health issues
are concerned, and that could make the difference for the Giants pulling off another
NFC East Games
Thursday at 8:15pm Commanders (1-4) at Bears (2-3).
| Commanders 12 - Bears 7.
Sunday at 1:00pm Ravens (3-2) at Giants (4-1).
at 8:20pm Cowboys (4-1) at Eagles (5-0).
The Eagles are the only NFC East
team favored to win in these games.
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23 Giants at Jaguars
Oct 30 Giants at Seattle