By Samuel Njoku
There’s your run of the mill must-win game, and then there’s what the Ravens face on Sunday. The Ravens (4-6) go into battle with the New York Jets (5-5) with major playoff implications involved. Looking at both of these teams’ current records, it’s hard to believe either can be in the playoff chase at all. But the AFC is rather weak this season and a lengthy winning streak can catapult either team to the postseason. One thing is clear: The Ravens can’t afford to lose.
Jets on Offense
The Jets offense has had some issues this season to say the least. Their quarterback situation is shaky with rookie Geno Smith under center. Last week, Smith finished the game completing 8-of-23 for no touchdowns and three interceptions. That’s not going to get it done on Sunday against a Ravens defense that can make even the best quarterback look average. If the Jets want any chance of winning this game, they need to keep the ball out of his hands. Chris Ivory ran for 98 yards and a score on 15 carries. If he can gain positive yardage on a consistent basis, it would go a long way for a Jets defense looking for any kind of consistency.
Santonio Holmes will look to get open when he goes against his former rivals. Holmes started his career with Pittsburgh where he saw Baltimore twice a year during some epic matchups.
Jets on Defense
New York gave up 37 points to the Buffalo Bills last week and will look to improve against a Ravens offense that has struggled all season. They’ll have to account for a running game that was rejuvenated last week when Baltimore battled against the Chicago Bears. The last thing the Jets want is for Ray Rice to go off inside M&T Bank Stadium. They’ll concentrate on crashing defenders at the line of scrimmage and force the Ravens offensive line to adjust on the fly. That’s something they’ve struggled mightily to do throughout the year.
Of course, everyone will be talking about the return of Ed Reed to Baltimore for the second time this season. Reed played against Baltimore during his time in Houston before he was released. He’ll get another crack at the team that he played most of his professional career with after losing his first time out with the Texans. Expect Joe Flacco to test Reed often as it appears that the future hall of famer is still dealing with some lingering injuries.
Ed Reed won’t be the only New York Jet making his return to his former team. Rex Ryan, who previously coached the Ravens defense, will be returning to M&T Bank stadium as well. Ryan has coached the New York Jets since 2009. He’s never defeated Baltimore during his head coaching tenure with New York. In fact, New York is currently (1-7) against Baltimore. There only win came in 1997.
For more Ravens news and updates, visit Ravens Central.
Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. Samuel Njoku is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.