Jimmy Smith Matching Up vs. Odell Beckham Jr.
The matchup of the day is certainly cornerback Jimmy Smith vs. All-Pro receiver Odell Beckham Jr. New York's third-year pass catcher has been in a bit of a slump this season, but he's still one of the most talented players in the league. Beckham has the ability to put up a huge game – he has topped 125 receiving yards 10 times in his career – and the expectation is that Smith will find himself lined up across from him for much of the day. It's unknown whether Smith will follow Beckham wherever he goes on the field, but the Ravens need their top corner to be at his best, regardless of whether he's shadowing him all game.
What Changes Will We See On Offense?
The big story of the week in Baltimore was the change at offensive coordinator. Marty Mornhinweg replaced Marc Trestman on Monday, and the players praised Morhinweg for the energy he brought to the practice field this week. The Ravens offense has been in a funk through the first five games, and players said it was clear something needed to change. The question now is how quickly Morhinweg can make his imprint on the group. He'll take over as the play caller, which will give him the chance to make an immediate difference. He also started to implement some tweaks to the system during the week of practice, which the Ravens hope pays dividends this week. Making an in-season coordinator change presents its challenges, but Morhinweg isn't going to use growing pains as an excuse. "I'm telling you now, our expectations are high – period, done," Morhinweg said.
Commitment To Ground Game
Part of the reason the Ravens made the change at offensive coordinator this week was that the offense simply didn't run the ball enough under Trestman. That point was illustrated last week against the Redskins, when running back Terrance West had just 11 carries despite averaging 8.6 yards per rush. Head Coach John Harbaugh acknowledged that the Ravens didn't run the ball enough against Washington, and the expectation is that Morhinweg will be more committed to the ground game in his play calling. The offense has found success running the ball the last two weeks, and Morhinweg certainly wants to continue that trend in the Meadowlands.
Impact Of Injuries
The Ravens are more banged up this week than they have been all season. Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. (ankle), right guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder), inside linebacker C.J. Mosley (thigh), outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil (foot) and right tackle Rick Wagner (thigh) are all in danger of missing the game. If that's the case, the Ravens would be significantly short-handed on the right side of their offensive line, and also without their biggest offensive playmaker. Mosley's injury is also critical because he's the play caller in the middle of the defense. He has played nearly every defensive snap since getting drafted in 2014, his absence would be a big loss. The Ravens have taken the "next man up" philosophy this week, and they will need their reserves to step up if they are able to pull off the upset.
Can Ravens Stay Hot Against Eli?
Giants quarterback Eli Manning has a pair of Super Bowl rings, but the 13-year veteran has never found much success when facing the Ravens. Manning's career passer rating against Baltimore is 51.0, his lowest against any team he's faced. The last time the Ravens faced Manning and the Giants was in 2012, and Baltimore's 33-14 win vaulted them onto their path to winning Super Bowl XLVII. The Ravens have the league's third-ranked defense this year, and their goal is to shut down Manning once again.