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Ravens vs. Giants scouting report for Week 16: Who has the edge?

RAVENS PASSING GAME: Quarterback Lamar Jackson produced one of his best passing games of the season (17 of 22, 243 yards, three touchdown passes) in the Ravens’ 40-14 blowout of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jackson stands 11th in ESPN’s QBR rankings, one spot behind Deshaun Watson and one ahead of Kyler Murray. Tight end Mark Andrews has been excellent since he returned from the reserve/COVID-19 list, with 10 catches on 11 targets for 144 yards. Marquise Brown bounced back from his three-drop game against the Cleveland Browns to catch six passes on seven targets for 98 yards against the Jaguars. Jackson also completed four passes for 61 yards to his running backs against Jacksonville, adding a fresh element to the passing game. The Ravens rank 31st in passing and 21st in yards per attempt.

GIANTS PASSING GAME: The Giants rank 29th in passing and 30th in yards per attempt and have struggled to convert on third down and in the red zone. Starting quarterback Daniel Jones did not play against the Browns in Week 15 because of a hamstring injury. Jones (nine interceptions, 10 fumbles in 12 games) makes too many mistakes, but he’s a more dynamic passer and runner than Colt McCoy, who started against the Browns. Darius Slayton (46 catches, 703 yards) has been the Giants’ most productive wide receiver, and Sterling Shepard (49 catches on 68 targets) is another sure-handed option.

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EDGE: Ravens

RAVENS RUNNING GAME: The Ravens lead the league in total yardage (172.7 per game) and yards per attempt (5.2). The Jaguars actually did a good job spying on Jackson, who leads the team with 828 rushing yards. Running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards have combined for 380 yards on 61 carries over the past three games, while veteran Mark Ingram II was a healthy scratch against the Jaguars.

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GIANTS RUNNING GAME: Wayne Gallman is no Saquon Barkley, but he’s played well as a fill-in, averaging 4.5 yards per carry and running for six touchdowns. If Jones plays and is healthy enough, he can be a significant threat (403 yards, 7.3 per-carry average in 12 starts). The Giants rank 16th in rushing and surpassed 100 yards in seven straight games from Week 6 to Week 13.

EDGE: Ravens

RAVENS RUSH DEFENSE: The Ravens held Jaguars running back James Robinson to 35 yards on 16 carries despite playing without defensive end Calais Campbell, who’s still battling the calf injury he suffered in Week 9. Nose tackle Brandon Williams (five tackles), defensive tackle Justin Madubuike and middle linebacker Patrick Queen (three tackles for loss) played well. The Ravens rank 10th in run defense and have allowed 4.4 yards per carry.

GIANTS RUSH DEFENSE: This is the Giants’ strength. They have a pair of run-stuffing monsters up front in 342-pound defensive end Dexter Lawrence and 302-pound defensive tackle Leonard Williams and one of the league’s most productive middle linebackers in Blake Martinez (128 tackles, eight for loss). They struggled to stop Murray and the Cardinals in a Week 14 loss, so that might bode poorly for their matchup with Jackson. But the Giants rank seventh in run defense and have held opponents to 3.9 yards per carry.

EDGE: Giants

RAVENS PASS DEFENSE: The Ravens’ pass rush woke up against the Jaguars with a combination of schemed blitzes and excellent individual performances from Yannick Ngakoue (two sacks, one forced fumble), Matthew Judon (sack for a safety, two quarterback hits) and Queen (sack, two quarterback hits). All the pressure helped keep the heat off an undermanned secondary that was playing without cornerbacks Marcus Peters (calf) and Jimmy Smith (shoulder, ribs). Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Peters was close to playing, so he could be back against the Giants. Anthony Averett performed well in his stead. Pro Bowl cornerback Marlon Humphrey will look to rebound after playing below his standards against the Jaguars.

GIANTS PASS DEFENSE: Lawrence and Williams (8½ sacks, 24 quarterback hits) are good in any situation, but the Giants have been more vulnerable against the pass than the run. Their best cornerback, James Bradberry, was on the reserve/COVID-19 list for the Browns game and without him, the Giants had little answer for Baker Mayfield (27 of 32, 297 yards, two touchdown passes). None of the team’s other cornerbacks have covered well this season. The Giants rank just 19th in blitz percentage, according to Pro Football Reference, but their pass-rush production has been above-average, a testament to the talent on their defensive front.

EDGE: Ravens

RAVENS SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Justin Tucker missed a 57-yard attempt against the Jaguars after he nailed a 55-yard game winner the previous week. Tucker has made 23 of 26 attempts on the season, with only one miss inside 50 yards. Punter Sam Koch ranks seventh in the league with a net average of 42.9 yards and has put 21 of 49 inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Rookie Devin Duvernay has consistently produced as a kickoff returner, averaging 28.4 yards on 19 runbacks.

GIANTS SPECIAL TEAMS: Veteran kicker Graham Gano has made 28 of 29 field-goal attempts, with his only miss coming from beyond 50 yards. Punter Riley Dixon’s net average of 39.1 yards isn’t impressive, but he has put 26 of 57 kicks inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. The Giants have a pair of productive returners in Jabrill Peppers (11.8 yards on punts) and Dion Lewis (23.2 yards on kickoffs).

EDGE: Ravens

RAVENS INTANGIBLES: The Ravens have averaged 40 points per game in winning their past three, and with Jackson nearing his 2019 Most Valuable Player form, they’re laser-focused on finishing out with two more victories over struggling opponents. Harbaugh’s teams have always excelled as heavy favorites; with their playoff hopes on the line, the Ravens won’t overlook the Giants.

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GIANTS INTANGIBLES: The Giants have lost two straight by a combined 33 points after they seemed to hold the inside track to a divisional title. They’ve played hard for first-year head coach Joe Judge, but their five victories have come by a combined 21 points. With the NFC East still undecided, they’ll come in with plenty of incentive.

EDGE: Ravens

PREDICTION: The Ravens won’t move the ball as easily against a talented Giants defensive front as they did against the Jaguars. But the Giants don’t convert on third down, and they don’t finish drives in the end zone. So they won’t keep up with Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, who know they must win out to have a good chance at the postseason. Ravens 30, Giants 13.

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