The Giants hope to extend their strong start to five wins in the first six games when they welcome the Baltimore Ravens to MetLife Stadium in Week 6.
Brian Daboll's squad traveled across the pond this past weekend to take on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in London. Despite facing a fourth-quarter deficit, the Giants were able to come back and defeat the Packers, 27-22.
The Ravens had an exciting game of their own as they went up against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday Night Football. After Joe Burrow drove the Bengals down the field to take the lead with less than two minutes remaining, Lamar Jackson was able to get the Ravens into position for a game-winning Justin Tucker field goal as time expired.
Here are five storylines to follow as the Giants (4-1) face the Ravens (3-2) in Week 6.
1. Staying consistent
Although the 4-1 start certainly has a lot of people excited, Brian Daboll is not allowing his team to get ahead of themselves. As the head coach has stated several times over the last five weeks, an NFL season has many ups and downs. The key is to stay level throughout the year and never get too high after a win or too low after a loss. Coming off last week's upset win over Green Bay, Daboll is hammering home that message to his players.
"I just think we stay consistent with how we approach things during the week, again regardless of result, whether you lose," Daboll said Monday on how he is keeping the team grounded after the Week 5 win. "Whether you have a losing record, whether you have a winning record, I don't think you can focus on your record. You have to focus on what you need to do to improve throughout the week and for the team that you're playing against and be as consistent as you can with that. And we've tried to do that as a coaching staff.
"I know the players have tried to do that. And that's how we'll approach it every week regardless of the outcome. What do we need to do to fix the things we want to fix and improve on? Build off the things that we've been doing well and be as prepared as we can going into the next game."
This weekend's matchup will serve as another tough challenge. The Ravens' two losses have come against the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills by a combined seven points. After going up against the back-to-back reigning league MVP last week, the Giants will face the 2019 MVP in Lamar Jackson, but more on that later.
View photos from practice as the Giants prepare for their Week 6 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.
2. Attacking the Ravens' defense
Baltimore's defense has had an up and down season. They held the New York Jets to just nine points in the season opener before allowing the Dolphins to score 42 points and the Patriots to score 26 in Weeks 2 and 3, respectively. The Ravens then limited the Buffalo Bills, one of the league's most potent offenses, to just 23 points in Week 4 and the Cincinnati Bengals to 17 points in Week 5. Overall, they rank 17th in points allowed at 23.4 and 28th in yards allowed at 398.2. However, they are tied for the league-lead with 11 turnovers.
The biggest weakness of Baltimore's defense has been in the passing game. The Ravens enter Week 6 giving up the most passing yards per game at 290.2, while their nine passing touchdowns allowed is tied for the seventh-most. But they have intercepted eight passes through five games, tied for the most in the NFL, while their 65.1 completion percentage allowed is middle of the pack.
Daniel Jones is coming off a very solid effort against the Packers. Jones completed 77.8 percent of his passes, his second-highest completion percentage of the season, for 217 yards and a 100.2 passer rating. While he did not throw any touchdown passes, he also did not have any turnovers, marking the third game this season in which he has not lost the football. The 217 passing yards was also his highest on the season. The fourth-year quarterback added 37 yards on 10 rushing attempts, an impressive feat considering he was only a week removed from an ankle injury. Jones now ranks third among NFL quarterbacks with 230 rushing yards this season, while his 5.6 yards per attempt is tied with Cowboys running back Tony Pollard for the eighth-best mark in the league.
The Baltimore rushing defense has been a little better, as they have given up 108.0 yards on the ground per game which ranks 12th. But a large part of that is due to the few number of times opponents have rushed against Baltimore; their 109 rushing attempts against is the third-fewest in the NFL. They are surrendering 5.0 yards per carry, which is the seventh-highest.
3. Wink facing his former team
Sunday's game will serve as the first time defensive coordinator Wink Martindale will face off against his former team. Martindale originally joined the Ravens in 2012 and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2018, a role he served for four seasons. During that time, the Ravens consistently had a top defense. From 2018-2020, Baltimore's defense ranked No. 1 in the NFL in yards (307.8) and points (18.2) allowed per game. They also led the league in number of players to record a sack (33) and second-half points allowed (401), while ranking No. 2 in fourth-down stops (41) and opponent QB rating (81.9).
Martindale has found success through the first five games with the Giants. His unit ranks ninth in points and 12th in yards allowed per game, despite dealing with a rash of injuries. The defense shut down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in the second half of last week's game, which led to the four-time MVP referring to Martindale as "a fantastic coach" earlier this week. It should not come as a surprise then that Daboll shared a similar sentiment about his defensive coordinator.
"He has a lot of experience, and he's been pretty successful in this league as a defensive coordinator," Daboll said about Martindale. "I think he does a great job communicating with the players. I think he does a great job of communicating with his staff. He's smart, and I just think he's very prepared. And he's composed on the sideline. As a playcaller that's done it for some time myself, that's not always the easiest thing to do when things aren't going great. But he's very composed.
"He's very good with the coaches and the players on the sideline and during the week. And he gives his players ownership to our defense, which is important, and also with the coaches as well. So, (I'm) happy he's part of our staff. I think he's a fantastic coach and an even better person."
4. Limiting Lamar, Baltimore run game
The Ravens offense fully revolves around the dual ability of quarterback Lamar Jackson. Let's start with his passing. Jackson has thrown 12 touchdown passes this season, the third-highest in the NFL and only three behind Patrick Mahomes for the league lead. He's averaging 213.4 yards per game, despite recording only 149 pass attempts on the season, only the 22nd-most among NFL quarterbacks. Jackson has a passer rating of 97.9 on the year and has thrown just five interceptions.
What makes Jackson truly stand out is his capabilities as a rusher. The 2019 league MVP already has two seasons with over 1,000 yards on the ground, and appears to be well on his way to a third. Jackson has rushed the ball 49 times for an impressive 374 yards and two touchdowns through five games. Similar to his two previous seasons topping the 1,000-yard mark, Jackson currently leads the league with his 7.6 yards per carry. He averaged 6.9 yards and 6.3 yards, respectively, in the previous two seasons in which he finished the season with the league's highest yards per attempt average. Jackson's 374 rushing yards is currently over 100 more than any other quarterback (Jalen Hurts is second with 269).
"I'd say another significant challenge just like it was last week," Daboll said before Wednesday's practice. "This guy's extremely talented in all facets. His winning percentage since he's been a starting quarterback is 75%, which is one of the tops. He plays with his arm and he plays with his legs. He's a dynamic player, he's one of the best in the league."
The Giants have done a good job of limiting quarterbacks on the ground in three of the five games. Tennessee's Ryan Tannehill, Dallas' Cooper Rush and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers combined for less than 10 rushing yards against the Big Blue defense. However, Carolina's Baker Mayfield and Chicago's Justin Fields were a lot more successful. Mayfield took six carries for 35 yards (5.8 avg.) while Fields gained 52 yards on seven attempts (7.4 avg.).
5. Injury updates; Leo "trending upward"
After dealing with a rash of injuries on both sides of the ball for most of the season, the Giants appear to be getting healthier. Starting up front, defensive lineman Leonard Williams has missed the last three games due to a knee injury. Williams was a limited participant at Wednesday's practice, but Daboll indicated that the lineman was heading in the right direction ahead of Sunday's game.
"Leo will be limited, yep. But trending upward," said the head coach. "A lot of those guys are getting better. So, we'll see.
Cornerback Adoree' Jackson was forced out of Sunday's game in London with knee and neck injuries. However, the veteran was able to get on the practice field Wednesday as a limited participant. Joining Jackson as limited participants were outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari and wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson. Ojulari missed Weeks 1, 2 and 5 with a calf injury, while Robinson has been out since the season opener with a knee injury. Additionally, the coach shared that quarterback Daniel Jones came out of Sunday's game well following his ankle injury suffered in Week 4, while Saquon Barkley, who briefly departed Sunday's game with a shoulder injury, will be okay.
Not everyone was able to get back on the field for the first practice of the week, though. Cornerback Cor'Dale Flott (calf) and wide receivers Kadarius Toney (hamstring) and Kenny Golladay (knee) did not participate in Wednesday's training session. Veteran safety Tony Jefferson (foot) also did not practice, along with safety Jason Pinnock (ankle).
*On Sunday, October 16, the Giants will be celebrating Latino Heritage Month in partnership with Ford and supported by Dunkin' and PNC Private Bank. Fans will be welcomed with several plaza festivities, including: Sampling of Latin cuisine, live DJ, Latin style dance exhibition, Super Bowl trophy on display (weather permitting), and more. The festivities will take place on the plaza between MetLife and Verizon gates.
For more details, visit: Giants.com/Los-Gigantes
View rare photos of the all-time history between the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens.