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4 stories to watch when the New York Giants take on the Baltimore Ravens

New York Giants
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants will face the Baltimore Ravens in one of the most intriguing matchups of Week 6.

Both teams are very similar, especially offensively. Each relies heavily on the abilities of its quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Daniel Jones. And they’re both near the bottom in the passing attack, like The Ravens are ranked 22nd and The Giants are 31st.

The biggest difference between the two teams is that the Giants have the offensive player of the year through the first five weeks in Saquon Barkley, and Big Blue has Wink Martindale as their defensive coordinator.

Before coming to New York, Martindale spent the last ten seasons with the Ravens, first as their line coach from (2012-2017) and then as their defensive coordinator from (2018-2021).

This is by far the biggest story going into Sunday’s match.

A chess match between Martindale and the Ravens offense

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Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

Martindale’s arrival was one of the biggest additions to the Giants, as they are 12th in total defense while the Ravens are ranked 28th under new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald.

Having been with the Ravens for a decade, Martindale knows the Ravens’ tendencies and Lamar Jackson’s strengths and weaknesses. But the reverse is also true, as the Ravens, and offensive coordinator Greg Roman and Lamar Jackson are fully aware of Wink’s tendencies.

It will be a constant chess match when Baltimore’s offense and New York’s defense are on the court. In addition to frequent blitzing, some keys to watch will be whether Martindale has one of his defenders spying on the elusive Jackson and what play the Ravens already have in mind when Wink calls the zero blitz.

Whoever wins this chess match on Sunday will probably win.

Related: 2022 NFL defensive rankings: Week 6 matchup preview for NFL’s top defenses

Will Darius Slayton shine again?

NFL: International Series-New York Giants at Green Bay Packers
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Before last week’s 27-22 win over the Green Bay Packers, Slayton barely saw any playing time and had just one reception for 11 yards on the season. Due to injuries in the receiving corps, Slayton was thrust into a bigger role, and he delivered.

He gave life to the Giants’ passing game by catching six targets for 79 yards. His 79 receiving yards were the most by any Giant this season.

Receivers Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay will again be unable to play, again giving Slayton significant playing time. The Ravens’ pass defense has struggled all season, giving up 290.2 yards per game, which is last in the NFL.

The question now is, can the 25-year-old wide receiver have a repeat performance this week against a vulnerable Ravens secondary?

Related: 4 Reasons the New York Giants Are a Legitimate Playoff Contender, Not Just on a Hot streak

Will the shooter decide the outcome of the game?

NFL: International Series-New York Giants at Green Bay Packers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This game features two of the best kickers in the league in Graham Gano and Justin Tucker, who is arguably the best kicker of all time. Both kickers are both four-for-four on field goal attempts of 50 yards or more this season, and in Tucker’s case, he hasn’t missed a field goal all season.

Giants head coach Brian Daboll and Ravens head coach John Harbaugh are confident their kicker is in range when they get to the opposing 40-yard line. In what is expected to be a tight game, the game could come down to who has the ball last and puts their player in position to win the game.

EXCLUSIVE: Eli Manning praises Brian Daboll for New York Giants’ quick confidence boost and late-game execution

Will Big Blue bring players back from injury?

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Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

As we mentioned earlier, New York will be without the services of Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toni. But it’s possible Leonard Williams and rookie wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson could return for Sunday’s game.

Both players are listed as questionable, but there is optimism that both will be on the field on Sunday. Brian Daboll answered questions about the availability of both players on Friday.

“He’s making progress. He’ll come here, he’ll practice today, and we’ll see where we are. As usual on Fridays, we’ll talk about it after practice. I think he’s making progress.” Daboll on Robinson.

“I think Leonard had a good week, I think he took some good steps.” Daboll on Williams.

Robinson was slated to play a prominent role in the offense and was one of the top players during training camp, but he injured his knee early in the season opener against the Tennessee Titans. After not missing a game in his first eight seasons, Williams hasn’t played since spraining his knee in Week 2. His physical presence would go a long way in shutting down the Ravens and their seventh rushing attack.

If both players are able to return, it will be a huge boost for the team and increase the team’s chances of improving to 5-1.

Related: 3 Reasons The New York Giants Need To Re-Sign Saquon Barkley This Offseason

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