Can the New York Giants upset the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday? If they are going to pull that off, here are three keys.
Dealing with Lamar
Well, duh. The Giants have to find a way to prevent Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson from embarrassing them. Which, of course, is easier said than done.
Jackson is, of course, unique. He is a former MVP, and quite possibly the best athlete on every field he steps on. He leads NFL quarterbacks with 374 rushing yards. He has made a career of embarrassing and outrunning defenders.
Jackson can throw it, too. His passer rating is 97.8 and he has completed 63.8 percent of his passes.
“I love the guy,” said Giants defensive coordinator Wink martindale, Ravens’ Dc for the first four years of Jackson’s career. “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.”
Blitz Jackson you better get him to the ground, and that is no easy task. Let him escape, especially with the backs of defenders in the secondary turned, and that can be a disaster.
Will the ultra-aggressive Martindale dial back the pressure to keep eyes on Jackson? How will he handle the Baltimore run game?
“It’s going to be a tremendous challenge for the defense,” said safety Julian Love.W”e’re going to try to attack them the best we can, but in my eyes, he’s the best quarterback in the league. It’s going to take all of us to account for him and they have some serious weapons around him. It’s going to be a big matchup; it’s going to be a big game for us to be intentional about how we approach it.”
Do what they do best on offense
It is tempting to look at the fact that Baltimore is last in the league in passing yards allowed and think this is the week the Giants cut loose and aim for a 350- or 400-yard aerial assault on the Ravens.
Well, some big passing plays would — of course — be nice. And perhaps necessary to pull off another upset. Baltimore, though, is actually 10th in the league in Pass DVOA, per Football Outsiders. So, the yardage might be misleading.
The Giants need to be who they are. Run the football. Protect it. Use Daniel Jones’ legs. Try to prevent the game from becoming a shootout. Be creative when it’s appropriate.
There is a path for the Giants to win this game, even though I don’t believe they will.
Win the turnover battle. Don’t get burned by big plays on special teams. Make Jackson and the Ravens’ offense earn everything. Don’t commit costly, foolish penalties.