Baltimore Ravens (3-3) at New York Jets (1-5)
SERIES HISTORY: 10th regular-season meeting. Ravens lead series, 8-1.
KEYS TO THE GAME: After a brutal run of injuries in 2015, the Ravens again find themselves shorthanded as they attempt to stop a three-game losing streak against a desperate opponent making a quarterback change while riding a four-game skid.
Quarterback Joe Flacco has a "right shoulder issue," according to coach Jim Harbaugh, who said it's "my belief he'll be out there." If not, it will be Ryan Mallett, who brings a similarly big arm with limited mobility. Either can challenge the Jets' beleaguered secondary in the vertical passing game. But then there is the makeshift offensive line, the ankle injury that sidelined Steve Smith Sr. last week and the 34 penalties the offense has committed through the first six games. It's a complicated mix, even against the Jets, who do boast a strong line that leads the way for a run defense allowing only 3.4 yards per carry.
That's the same mark for the Ravens' top-ranked run defense allowing an average of just 69.7 yards per game. As the Jets make the switch behind center to Geno Smith, getting production out of the gate from RB Matt Forte figures to be critical. Then again, there's a Baltimore pass defense that could be without its most feared pass rusher in Terrell Suggs (biceps) and is dealing with a slew of injuries in the secondary. The Jets are minus-11 in turnover differential, and Geno Smith's ability to hold onto the quarterback job likely hinges on at least not building that number.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Jets ILB David Harris/Erin Henderson vs. Ravens TE Dennis Pitta. Harris, who missed his first game since 2008 on Monday, was seen at practice Wednesday. Even though his coverage skills have slipped, the Jets will need Harris to try and contain Pitta, the most reliable option in the Ravens' short passing game. Harris is a better option than Henderson, whose missed open-field tackle on Cardinals RB David Johnson's 58-yard touchdown run Monday was the lowest light of a dim night for the Jets.
--Ravens secondary vs. Jets WR Brandon Marshall. Marshall has 27 catches for 433 yards and two touchdowns despite uneven quarterback play and little in the way of other proven playmakers in the passing game. The Ravens gave up 222 yards to Odell Beckham last week, and hope CB Jimmy Smith can play after leaving that game with a concussion. Baltimore's secondary is also dealing with injuries to Tavon Young (undisclosed), Jerraud Powers (groin) and Shareece Wright (hamstring). Their status is also uncertain. Baltimore could move safety Lardarius Webb back to his original position at corner for experience
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Ravens OLB Za'Darius Smith. Smith is expected to replace Terrell Suggs, who suffered a torn biceps against the Giants last Sunday. The 34-year-old Suggs is still playing at a high level (five sacks), so his absence qualifies as a break for the Jets, who need to keep a clean pocket for the turnover-prone Smith.
INJURY REPORT: Baltimore -- Out: LB Elvis Dumervil (foot), LB C.J. Mosley (thigh). Doubtful: S Kendrick Lewis (thigh), WR Steve Smith (ankle), LB Terrell Suggs (biceps), CB Shareece Wright (thigh), G Marshal Yanda (shoulder). Questionable: WR Kamar Aiken (thigh), QB Joe Flacco (right shoulder), WR Devin Hester (thigh), CB Jerraud Powers (thigh) CB Jimmy Smith (concussion), T Ronnie Stanley (foot). New York Jets -- Out: TE Braedon Bowman (knee), LB Darron Lee (ankle), T Brent Qvale (neck), TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ankle). Questionable: T Ryan Clady (shoulder), C Nick Mangold (knee), DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle).
FAST FACTS: The Ravens have forced 11 turnovers through six games after forcing a single-season franchise low 14 all of last season. ... Flacco has been sacked 11 times over the past three games.
PREDICTION: The Ravens have dropped three consecutive games and are dealing with key injuries on both sides of the ball. The Jets have dropped four straight and are making a desperate quarterback change. Coin flip to the Jets, who get a bit of a spark from the change under center while the Ravens try to cope with their latest slew of injuries.
OUR PICK: Jets, 20-16.