The Ravens are set for their second preseason game against the New York Jets at M&T Bank Stadium (8:00 pm ET).
BR.com offers a look at Baltimore's next opponent.
Total Offense– 16th Total Defense– 18th
Rush Offense –9thRush Defense –4th* *
Pass Offense –16thPass Defense –28th
Points Per Game –9thPoints Per Game –11th
Sizing Them Up
The Jets are attempting to reinvent themselves with the addition of new head coach Rex Ryan, who is best known in Baltimore are the Ravens' former defensive coordinator.
With Ryan came three former Ravens defenders, linebacker Bart Scott, safety Jim Leonhard and defensive tackle Marques Douglas. Ryan is setting up a team that is similar to the Ravens 2008 version, which was based on a stout defense and a prolific running game.
Ryan also brought along former Ravens outside linebackers coach Mike Pettine to be his defensive coordinator. Pettine and Ryan are breeding a versatile, attacking unit with Scott as the leader at inside linebacker.
The Jets have one of the NFL's best run stoppers in massive defensive tackle Kris Jenkins, and outside linebacker Calvin Pace brings the heat from the edge. Leonhard and Kerry Rhodes, a Pro Bowl alternate last year, form a playmaking safety tandem, while New York also boasts one of the game's best young cornerbacks in Darrelle Revis.
Offensively, the Jets are powered by the legs of Thomas Jones, who led the AFC with 1,312 rushing yards in 2008. He also scored 15 touchdowns. For a change of pace, New York puts the ball in the hands of the dynamic Leon Washington. Washington is coming off his first Pro Bowl year as a return specialist.
At quarterback, rookie Mark Sanchez will get the nod Monday night, while capable backup Kellen Clemens will come off the bench.
Ryan was pretty effusive in his praise for the Ravens' 2008 squad and thinks his team can get a lot out of this game.
"This one here, we can measure ourselves against this football team. Baltimore in my opinion, we were the second-best team in football last year because we got beat by Pittsburgh, they won the Super Bowl. I know the defense is outstanding and we know that their offense is really coming. There are a lot of playmakers over there on offense so this is going to be a great measuring [stick]."
Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post thinks that Sanchez can seize the Jets' starting job with a solid performance.
"Though Rex Ryan has not specifically handicapped the quarterback competition, it appears -- based on practice performances and the one preseason game last week against the Rams -- that Sanchez has a slight edge entering tonight's game."
"You're like, 'Wow, this is a preseason game,' but it's going to feel special, I know it is," Ryan said. "It's not just going to feel special to me. It's going to feel special for all our guys."
Offensive – Jones is the engine that drives this offense. Not only did he lead the conference in rushing, his 15 touchdowns -- including 13 on the ground -- and eight consecutive games with a score are all franchise records.
Defensive – Scott was brought in to be the point man for this defense. His swagger and boisterous personality will be missed in Baltimore, as will his playmaking ability. With the Ravens, he was sometimes asked to take on a lot of blocks to free up Ray Lewis, but he won't be in green and white.
Washington is one of the more versatile players in the league. He led the NFL in combined yards with 2,332 and scored nine touchdowns, averaging 25.6 yards per kick return (1,231 yards, 92-yard kick return for a touchdown at NE, 11/13/08) and 10.4 per punt return (303 yards). He also totaled 448 yards rushing (including touchdown runs of 11, 60, 61, 4, 47, and 10 yards) and 47 receptions for 355 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
Ravens S Ed Reed vs. Jets QB Mark Sanchez
Sanchez played well last week against the St. Louis Rams, completing three of his four passes, including a 48-yard connection. But, the Rams don't have any playmakers like Reed, who will make the rookie pay if he makes an errant throw.
Ravens C Matt Birk vs. Jets DT Kris Jenkins
The new Ravens center will get his first big test of the year opposite the massive Jenkins. Jenkins did not play against the Rams because of a calf injury, but could take the field Monday night. Birk did not have to see Washington's Albert Haynesworth, so Ravens fans will get a good look at the free agent signee against a Pro Bowler if Jenkins plays.
Scott on going back to Baltimore: "This will be my first time on the opposing sideline" in Baltimore. It was my first home. I played seven years and had seven great years. It will be exciting to go back there and really show myself well. I will see some familiar faces, but when the clock strikes, I have no friends."
Sanchez on what he thinks the Ravens' defense brings: "They've been known to do both to a rookie quarterback. They could either drop eight or bring a bunch of pressure. Who knows? Whatever they bring, we need to be ready. I know that Schotty [Brian Schottenheimer] will have a great game plan for us without obviously giving away too much. You've got to be conservative in the preseason and not show all of your stuff. We'll save some good stuff for the season.
There might be a little more to this game than some people in Baltimore are letting on.
Running back Willis McGahee said as much in a press conference on Saturday.
"To tell you the truth, I think it's going to be more than just bragging rights," McGahee hinted. "People want to go after each other this game just because you've got Rex on one end and coach [John] Harbaugh on the other. So, it's going to be quite interesting."
I'm sure there will be some woofing by Scott. The guy loves to talk trash and is looking to solidify himself as the "Man" in New York. I'm sure Ryan will throw some blitzes at the Ravens' quarterbacks. He can't help himself.
I hope at the end of the day, however, everybody can shake hands and say, "See you in the playoffs" with a smile.
Remember, it's a preseason game. Both teams are trying to learn more about themselves at this point. That handshake will only be made easier if the opponents keep the personal stuff out of the game.