Entering Week 6, Brian Daboll's young squad is one of only four in the NFC with one loss or fewer.
The Giants trailed the Packers in the second quarter, 17-3, and at halftime, 20-10. The 14-point deficit was the largest they have overcome to win a game in over three years. It was the second time this season they rallied to win after being down by at least 10 at the half (they trailed the Titans 13-0 at halftime in Week 1). It was also the second game the Giants have won this season when faced with a fourth quarter deficit (Week 1).
Whether it's mounting late comebacks during the game, or getting players who normally don't see a lot of playing time prepared to contribute throughout the week, Daboll has instilled a sense of toughness into this Giants team.
"We talk a lot about resiliency, and you need to have it in this league as a team, as a coach, as a player," Daboll said in his weekly 1-on-1 interview with Giants.com. You're constantly teaching different ways to overcome things, and I think that the guys that we have in our locker room do a good job of just controlling what they can, and sometimes it's not easy. It's hard for a player, or it's hard for a coach. Or it's hard for a team. But this is our industry, and you better find ways to be able to push through things because it will get tough. It's been tough. Things aren't going to be great all the time. So, we have to trust the things we believe in."
The Giants and Ravens have played just seven times since their first meeting in 1997, with the Ravens leading the all-time series 5-2. While Baltimore took home the victory in the last game between the two franchises back in 2020, the Giants have won each of the last two meetings in East Rutherford. In 2016, Eli Manning threw for over 400 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Giants to a 27-23 win. Eight years prior to that, a staunch defensive effort helped the Giants pick up a 30-10 win over the Ravens at Giants Stadium.
Out: CB Cor'Dale Flott (calf), WR Kenny Golladay (knee), S Tony Jefferson (foot), S Jason Pinnock (ankle), WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring)
Doubtful: OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf)
Questionable: TE Tanner Hudson (illness), WR Wan'Dale Robinson (knee), DL Leonard Williams (knee)
Out: WR Rashod Bateman (foot), G Ben Cleveland (foot), OLB Justin Houston (groin)
Doubtful: RB Justice Hill (hamstring)
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.
WINK FACING FORMER TEAM
As Daboll has noted numerous times over the last few months, NFL players and coaches tend to skip around to several teams throughout their careers. Due to this, facing off against a former team at some point is all but inevitable. Such is the case in Week 6, as defensive coordinator Wink Martindale will go up against his former team for the first time.
Martindale spent 10 seasons in Baltimore, six as linebackers coach and the last four as defensive coordinator, before joining Daboll's staff in the same role. While he did acknowledge that going up against your old team does add a little "competitive spirit" to the game, he reiterated to the media that Sunday's game is just another week on the schedule.
"I think Dabs alluded to this earlier," Martindale said. "In coaching, we're gypsies anyway. Now I happened to be there for 10 years, which is a long time. I was also in Oakland, and I was also in Denver. For coaches, that's just the way our profession is. Is there a little competitive spirit in you when you go play a team you used to work for? Sure, there is. I'm not going to deny that. Everybody knows that.
"But as far as circling the game and everything else, this is just the next game. We've had success approaching it that way. We empty the tank on Sunday and we fill it up the rest of the week. I just think that's how you have to approach it. What I tell the players all the time is, 'what I owe you during the game is my composure. That's where I show you my athleticism is keeping my composure, so you're always thinking about the next play'."
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.
REINFORCEMENTS ON THE WAY?
The Giants have been dealing with numerous injuries on both sides of the ball. Heading into this weekend's matchup against the Ravens, they are far from fully healthy, but reinforcements could be on the way.
Defensive lineman Leonard Williams has been perhaps the most important player on the Giants' defensive front since his arrival in 2019. Williams has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury in the Week 2 win, marking the first three games he has missed in his eight-year NFL career due to injury. But the talented lineman, who's been a limited participant at practice the last few days, has "had a good week," according to Daboll, and might make his return to the field on Sunday.
The Giants could be welcoming back an important piece on the offensive side of the ball, too. Rookie wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson has not suited up since Week 1, when he suffered a knee injury in Nashville. He caught just one pass for five yards in that game, but he could be making his return to the field this weekend. Robinson has been limited in practice all week, at least opening the possibility of the rookie suiting up against the Ravens, although Daboll would not commit to that on Friday.
"Making progress," Daboll said about the rookie receiver. "He'll come out here, he'll practice today and we'll see where we're at. Like normal Fridays, we'll talk about it after practice. I think he's making improvements."
Both Williams and Robinson were listed as questionable on the final injury report.
Daniel Jones has shown tremendous toughness through the first five games of the season. Less than one week after injuring his ankle, Jones was taking all of the Giants' offensive snaps in London. Jones throwing hand was seen bleeding throughout the game, but that did not slow down the young signal-caller. The fourth-year quarterback finished 21-of-27 (77.8 percent) for a season-high 217 yards. He earned a passer rating of 100.2, the second time he's crossed the 100.0 mark this season (115.9 passer rating in Week 1).
Jones also played a key role in the run game against the Packers. He rushed the ball 10 times, matching his season-high, for 37 yards. Jones has 230 rushing yards on the season, the third-highest among NFL quarterbacks (trailing Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts), with two rushing touchdowns. His 5.6 yards per attempt is tied with Cowboys running back Tony Pollard for the eighth-highest mark in the league.
"I think I've gotten to know him pretty well here these last few months," Brian Daboll said earlier this week about his QB. "He's a very mentally tough kid, I shouldn't say (kid) – young man. But he's also physically tough. And I got to see that here just throughout the week, getting prepared for this team that we had to play and their defense, which they have some pretty good guys up front. But he's really tough. He didn't want to miss any reps. We also had to try to get (quarterback) Davis (Webb) ready to go. So, again, each day he got a little bit better.
"He was pretty sore, I'd say, after the game. And then the next day, he's in here as long as he can be in here getting treatment. So, one, he cares about the team. And he did everything he could do to be as ready as he could. And I'd say that for the first five weeks that I've been with him for the regular season, I think he's exhibited his toughness – both mental and physical – every day I've been around him."
The Ravens enter this matchup with the league's worst passing defense, surrendering 290.2 passing yards per game. However, the unit is tied for the league lead with eight interceptions.
SLAYTON STEPPING UP
Darius Slayton and Jones got their NFL careers off on a strong note together. Both were draft picks in 2019, a season in which Slayton finished with 48 receptions for 740 yards and eight touchdowns. However, Slayton's numbers dropped last season, and through the first four weeks of this season, the young receiver had caught just one pass. But all of that changed in London.
Slayton broke out with six receptions for 79 yards on seven targets against the Packers, all of which led the team. Not only that, but he also earned an elite 89.6 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, the highest on the team and the third-highest among NFL wide receivers in Week 5. Jones had a 113.7 passer rating when targeting him in London and discussed his chemistry with Slayton this week.
"I thought he had a great game on Sunday," the quarterback said about Slayton. "I have a lot of trust and confidence in him. I've said it. We've been here since we were both rookies. I've played a lot of football with him and built up a lot of trust, a lot of chemistry over time. To see him go out there and have that good of a game was exciting and I was happy for him. We'll continue to try and get him the ball, but he was big time on Sunday."
"He's been a great teammate, even when he wasn't playing," Daboll added. "He's been good in the meetings. He's had a positive outlook when sometimes it's not easy to have a positive outlook. And I'm happy for him. I'm happy for the team that he performed well. I'm happy for him that he was ready to go and helped us win."
Baltimore has a talented pair of cornerbacks in Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. The two veteran corners each suffered season-ending injuries last season, but both were able to work their way back on the field this year. Humphrey and Peters have combined for three interceptions and six passes defensed through five games.
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."
Wink Martindale was with Jackson in Baltimore for the quarterback's first four seasons, where the two seemed to have developed a close relationship. Both the coordinator and quarterback gave each other a special shout out when talking to the media this week. During Martindale's session with reporters on Thursday, he referred to Jackson as one of the NFL's best players.
"Shoutout to Lamar. He gave me a shoutout, so I had to give a shoutout back to him," said the defensive coordinator. "My relationship with Lamar, I love the guy. I think that it's another great challenge. We went from Aaron Rodgers, league MVP, to now we're going to Lamar Jackson, league MVP back in '19. I was with him when he did that, and he is an unbelievable player. For anybody that wants to say anything, that he's not, ok. Because he's unbelievable and he's playing at an MVP caliber right now like he was back in '19."
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.).
SCOUTING RAVENS DEFENSE
It's been an up and down start to the season for the Baltimore defense. The unit comes into Week 6 ranking last in passing yards allowed at 290.2, while their nine passing touchdowns surrendered is tied for 25th in the league. However, the Ravens defense has recorded eight interceptions on the season, which is tied with the Steelers and Bills for the most in the NFL. Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka knows that protecting the football has to be one of the biggest priorities for the offense on Sunday.
"They have really good players in the backend, really good players in the front seven as well," Kafka said about the Ravens. "They generate pressure, they create pressure up front, and they have ball hawks in the back end that do a good job of tackling the football, stripping and punching at the ball. Those are points of emphasis for us this week."
While the Baltimore secondary is filled with talented players, a few stand out in particular. Safety Marcus Williams leads the team with three interceptions and five passes defensed, and also ranks second with total tackles (33) and has added a fumble recovery. But the two big names in the Ravens defensive backfield are at the cornerback position. Marlon Humphrey has been one of the top corners in the league for years, and has already picked off two passes this season. Then there's Marcus Peters, who returned to the field after missing all of last season with a torn ACL. Kafka's first season in Kansas City overlapped with Peters' final year there, so the offensive coordinator knows exactly what the veteran corner brings to the table.
"I was with Marcus Peters in Kansas City and know how talented he is," said Kafka. "Obviously, being there, playing against Baltimore and Wink and those guys and there's a lot of familiar faces. I know maybe the stats don't show it or whatever, but we've got to be prepared for a physical game and a game that these guys really come to play every single week. We got to put our best foot forward as far as being fundamentally sound and doing the things we want to do on offense. It's a big-time challenge at all levels, all three levels, really, of the defense."
*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.