The Giants will head to Baltimore on Sunday to take on the Ravens, who are tied with the Miami at 9-5 for the final AFC playoff spot. The Ravens have outscored their opponents by 116 points this season, which is better than every team in the NFL besides the Kansas City Chiefs (+125). Baltimore's five losses have come against the Steelers (twice), Chiefs, Titans, and Patriots. Aside from a 14-point setback to the Chiefs, each of the other four losses were by one score and by a combined 21 points. The Ravens have won their last three games by a combined 48 points. Baltimore is +4 in turnover ratio this season, which is tied for 10th in the NFL.
When the Ravens have the ball…
Here are the basic NFL rankings for their offense:
347 yards per game: 21st in the NFL
5.68 yards per play: 15th in the NFL
174 pass yards per game: 31st in the NFL
6.75 pass yards per play: 20th in the NFL
173.9 rush yards per game: 1st in the NFL
5.25 rush yards per play: 1st in the NFL
28.8 points per game: 6th in the NFL
* Much like the Browns, the Ravens rely on their unique running game to move the football. They are the league's top rushing attack, but do not have a Top 10 rusher. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is 12th in the NFL with 828 rushing yards. Gus Edwards is ranked 29th with 578 and J.K. Dobbins is 30th with 568. Baltimore leads the league in rush frequency (54%) and on first-and-10 (65%).
* The Ravens' running attack is dangerous, in part, because of the uncertainty created by the threat of Lamar Jackson keeping the ball and running it on read-option plays. Only Nick Chubb and Derrick Henry have more 20+ yard runs than Jackson, and he is tied for the league lead with two 40-yard runs. He can score a touchdown with his legs from anywhere on the field. He is a physical runner who often opts not to slide and is fully capable of breaking tackles.
* Gus Edwards is their second-leading rusher and has seven runs of 20+ yards. He is their big, powerful back at 6'1 and 238 pounds. Edwards averages 3.2 yards after contact per carry, which is tied for 12th in the league.
* Dobbins is 5'10 and 212 pounds and splits his time as Baltimore's early-down and primary third-down back. He is tied for 16th in the league in forced missed tackles per rushing attempt. He leads Baltimore's backs with 18 catches for 120 yards. Dobbins has taken on an increased role, mostly at the expense of veteran Mark Ingram, as the season has gone on. No team has more than the Ravens' 23 rushes of 20+ yards.
* Baltimore will use either Edwards and Dobbins in the red zone – each has six rushing touchdowns. Baltimore scores touchdowns on 64% of their red zone appearances, which ranks 12th in the NFL. Lamar Jackson leads the team and is tied for 14th in the NFL with seven rushing touchdowns.
* The Ravens rank fifth in the league in terms of using two-back formations. Patrick Ricard is an old-school, traditional lead blocking fullback who plays more than 20 offensive snaps per game. His size is what makes him unique. He plays fullback at 6'3 and 311 pounds, with the ability to line up on the line of scrimmage or even in the slot.
* Baltimore runs the sixth-highest percentage of its plays from under center. Their 33% play-action pass rate is also the sixth-highest in the league, and they use it to pull up the linebackers and and dump passes over their heads to the tight ends and receivers.
* Despite Jackson's reputation, he does most of his damage in the passing game from the confines of the pocket, where he has a 95.4 quarterback rating, has completed 66.5% of his passes, and thrown for 15 touchdowns. Pro Football Focus has him graded as a better passer from the pocket than when he scrambles. Despite Jackson's respectable 64.8% completion rate, PFF ranks him 25th of 41 qualifying quarterbacks - with only 58% of his passes considered accurate.
* Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is their big-play wide receiver. He leads the team with 14.3 yards per catch, 49 receptions, and 703 receiving yards. He trails only tight end Mark Andrews (seven) with five receiving touchdowns. Browns' 14.1-yard average depth of target leads the team, as does his 17 pass plays that gain 15+ yards. At only 5'9 and 170 pounds, Brown is a true speedster with game-changing ability. He has lined up in the slot less than 20% of the time and is mostly a perimeter player.
* Willie Snead, Miley Boykin, Dez Bryant and Devin Duvernay make up the rest of the receiving corps. Bryant is used as a big red zone target, while Duvernay has sprinter's speed.
* Marc Andrews is Jackson's go-to target when he needs a tough catch in the middle of the field. He has 48 catches or 598 yards. He leads the team in catches that have gone for first downs with 34.
* If there is a weakness in the passing game, it is the Ravens' inability to complete passes down the field. They rank last in pass plays gaining 15+ yards and 28th in completion of 20+ yards. On passes that travel more than 20 yards in the air, the Ravens only have a quarterback rating of 68.9. They also struggle gaining yards after catch. Only one team has fewer than their 1,046 yards after the catch this season.
* The Ravens make up for their lack of explosive passing plays by being dominant on third down. They rank fifth in the NFL in converting 45.8% of their third-down opportunities, including 72% of their third downs of fewer than four yards (ranking secoond).
* Only Jalen Hurts has a longer average time to throw than Jackson's 3.12 seconds. It partially explains their opponents' 35.4% pressure rate. Orlando Brown had to move to left tackle after franchise tackle Ronnie Stanley was lost for the season. Former Giants guard D.J. Fluker has played right tackle in Brown's place, where he can be susceptible to speed rushers. Fluker has allowed a team-high 23 pressures despite playing less than half the pass-blocking snaps of Bradley Bozeman and Brown, who have allowed 22 pressures each. Patrick Mekari starts at center with Bozeman and Ben Powers at guard.
Keys for the Giants' defense
1. Prevent explosive run plays
2. Keep the Ravens in third-and-long
3. Don't let Lamar Jackson wreck the game
When the Giants have the ball…
Here are some basic rankings for the Ravens defense:
344 yards allowed per game: 9th in the NFL
5.24 yards allowed per play: 7th in the NFL
110 rush yards allowed per game: 10th in the NFL
4.38 rush yards allowed per play: 17th in the NFL
234 pass yards allowed per play: 14th in the NFL
6.13 pass yards allowed per play: 4th in the NFL
20.5 points allowed per game: 5th in the NFL
* The Ravens' defense is an aggressive and physical unit which is always on the attack. Their 46% blitz rate is the highest in the NFL. They will blitz players from all over the formation, including linebackers cornerbacks, and safeties. Opposing quarterbacks have a 96.6 quarterback rating (19th) against Baltimore's blitz. Even though they blitz often, the Ravens have only managed a 31% pressure rate, which ranks 20th. Teams are getting the ball out before their quarterbacks can be impacted by opposing rushers. Baltimore's 33 sacks are tied for 15th.
* Baltimore's pass rush-by-committee sports five players with at least 23 pressures, four with at least eight quarterback hits, and 10 defenders with two sacks or more. Matthew Judon leads the team with five sacks, 20 quarterbacks hits, and 41 total pressures. He lines up over the right tackle about 75% of the time. At 6'3 and 261 pounds, Judon has impressive get-off and strength as a power rusher.
* Yannick Ngakoue was acquired by the Ravens in Week 8 and has played his best football in the last three weeks, tallying 15 pressures and two of his three sacks. He will line up mostly over the opponent's left tackle as a traditional speed-rusher. Edge rushers Pernell McPhee and Tyus Bowser will also rotate in as pass rushers and have two sacks each.
* Calais Campbell, who missed last week's game due to injury, is the team's best interior rusher. He has 23 total pressures, 10 quarterback hits, and four sacks. His combination of power and short-area quickness is still elite. He can wreck a game with his interior pass rush. He is also adept at getting his hands up in the passing lane, with six passes defended.
* Rookie inside linebacker Patrick Queen is an athletic player that flies all over the field and can run sideline to sideline. He is a bit smaller at only 6'1 and 227 pounds and has been an effective blitzer with three sacks and eight quarterback hits. He leads the Ravens in tackles with 97 and has a team-high eight tackles for loss.
* The Ravens have run "Cover 0" (man-to-man with no deep safety) on nearly 12% of their defensive plays more than all but one team in the league. They run "Cover 1" on nearly 33% of their coverage snaps. Despite the aggressive posture, the Ravens have excelled at preventing big plays by the opposition. Only 11% of their opponent's pass plays have gone for 15+ yards, which is the second-lowest rate in the NFL. The Ravens also rank third in the NFL allowing only 36 passes of 20+ yards.
* Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters and Jimmy Smith are the primary cornerbacks. Humphrey starts outside with Peters, but moves inside when Smith comes on the field in sub-packages. Humphrey and Peters each have eight passes defended. Humphrey has allowed 62 catches on 97 targets for 587 yards and three touhdowns. Humphrey is a physical player and is third on the team with 75 tackles. He will blitz out of the slot position, which accounts for his 2.5 sacks. Peters excels at anticipating throws and is tied for the team lead with three interceptions. His risks can sometimes catch up with him, as he has allowed five touchdowns and 49 receptions for 631 yards on 82 targets. Smith plays the tightest coverage of all three, only allowing 17 catches for 131 yards and no touchdowns. Both Peters and Smith missed last week's game due to injury and were replaced by third year cornerback Anthony Averett and 37year-old Tramon Williams.
* Safeties DeShon Elliott and Chuck Clark rarely leave the field and have been reliable contributors all season long. Clark plays closer to the line of scrimmage more frequently and is second on the team with 88 tackles. He also has 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, three quarterback hits and three tackles for losses. Elliott has 2.5 sacks and three tackles for losses to go along with four passes defended. He spends most of his snaps as the team's deep safety.
* The Ravens have one of the best third-down defenses in the league, holding teams to a 37% conversion rate, which is tied for fourth in the NFL. Their success on third down begins on first down, where they hold opponent to five yards per play (sixth). They are not nearly as stingy in the red zone, allowing opponents to score 66% of the time (24th).
* Baltimore's defenders are constantly attacking the football. They are second to only to the Panthers with 12 fumble recoveries this season.
Keys for the Giants' offense
1. Handle the Ravens' blitz
2. Protect the football from opportunistic defenders, especially on strip attempts.
3. Get blockers to the second level on Patrick Queen to succeed in the run game
The kicking game
*Baltimore's special teams are especially dangerous. Justin Tucker has one of the strongest and most accurate legs in the NFL. He has only missed three field goals this season, with two of those coming from 50+ yards. He has a long of 55 yards.
* Punter Sam Koch has a 42.9-yard net average and opponents have only 76 yards on 16 punt returns.
* Rookie receiver Devin Duvernay was a former track star at Texas and had a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown earlier this season. Fellow rookie James Proche averages 8.6 yards per punt return.