Ex-Ravens DC Won’t Pull Any Punches In Week 6 Matchup With Giants

Ex-Ravens Defensive Coordinator Don 'Wink' Martindale.

Getty Ex-Ravens Defensive Coordinator Don 'Wink' Martindale will face his friends and former teammates for the first time as member of another coaching staff since 2010.

When the Baltimore Ravens (3-2) offense takes the field against the New York Giants (4-1) defense in Week 6, it will mark the first time that they will be facing off against a unit coached by Don ‘Wink’ Martindale in a none practice setting since he was the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos in 2010.

The Ravens and Broncos played in Week 5 of that season and racked up 233 yards and scored four touchdowns on the ground on 47 carries in a commanding 31-17 win. Martindale was fired in the ensuing offseason and after a year off, he joined John Harbaugh’s coaching staff and spent the next decade in Baltimore, including the last four as the defensive play-caller from 2018-2021.

After mutually parting ways this past offseason, the Ravens and Martindale will be facing off in an interconference matchup on Sunday, October 16, 2022, at MetLife Stadium. Kickoff is slated to be at 1 p.m. Eastern and the game will be broadcasted on CBS. It features several more intriguing storylines and pivotal matchups outside of the Martindale “revenge” angle.

Top Storylines

Lamar Jackson vs. Wink’s Exotic Blitzes

Martindale got the most extensive and extended look of any defensive coordinator in the league the past few years when it comes to going up against the former unanimous league MVP who is among the current frontrunners once again. They went against each other in every practice for Jackson’s first four years in the league including the last three as the full-time starter.

During his time in Baltimore, Martindale was renowned for creative blitzes and pressure packages and the relentless rate at which he deployed them, sometimes to his own and more importantly the team’s detriment. He doesn’t appear to have changed up his aggressive approach and isn’t shying away from his blitz-heavy philosophy at the start of his tenure with the Giants where he says he feels “reenergized”. According to Pro Football Reference, he has dialed up the second most blitzes in the league at 77, only trailing the Arizona Cardinals by one, and his unit’s 43.3 blitz percentage is the highest in the entire NFL.

While that tenacious attack has helped propel the Giants to a surprisingly impressive start to the season and sealed their upset win over the Green Bay Packers in Week 5, they will be facing a new and improved Jackson in terms of handling and throwing against the blitz. After ranking among the worst in the league in 12 games last season, the Ravens’ star signal-caller has been the best and most efficient passer against the blitzes through five games. According to NFL Stats, Jackson’s 124 passer rating against the blitz is the highest in the league.

Pitting strength against strength usually makes for a fascinating matchup but when one party’s strength is carving up the other’s, it could wind up being a bloodbath for the latter and a glorious triumph for the former which would be Jackson in this instance.

Bottling Up Barkley Is Key To Victory

The Giants’ entire offense revolves around and flows through their dynamic running back, Saquon Barkley, who leads the league in scrimmage yards through five weeks with 676. Earlier in the week, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh proclaimed the former No. 2 overall pick “public enemy No. 1” for the defense this week. Giants head coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka devise and dial up a myriad of plays that get the ball in Barkley’s hands in a plethora of ways including lining him up in the slot, out wide, inline like a tight end, and even in shotgun as a wildcat quarterback.

“Saquon Barkley is definitely the main guy,” Harbaugh said in a press conference on October 12, 2022. “You can tell; they try to get him the ball every way they can. He’s in the backfield, he’s out of the backfield, he’s a wide receiver, he’s in screens, he’s in every kind of screen there is, he has about every run. Oh, and then he plays quarterback, too. So, he’s pretty impressive.”

Limiting him both as a runner and pass catcher will essentially shut down New York’s offense and force them to play a more balanced if not pass-happy which will be difficult to do considering they will be without their top two wide receivers this week due to injuries and going up against the All-Pro cornerback tandem of Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey.

Three-Time Pro Bowler Faces Former Team For Fifth Time

Ravens’ veteran edge defender Jason Pierre-Paul spent the first eight years of his career with the Giants after getting selected in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft at No. 15 overall out of South Florida. He earned the first two career Pro Bowl nods of his career and a First-Team All-Pro selection with them before being traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2018 offseason. Since then he has played them the past four seasons and will do so again for the fifth straight year with his third team.

“Was a Giant and loved it there. Great organization,” Pierre-Paul told reporters in the locker room on October 13, 2022. “But in a game like this, I’m just playing football and enjoying football.”

The 13th-year veteran has gone 2-2 against New York, winning the past two after dropping the first couple. He will be playing in his third game with the Ravens this week since signing with the team on September 22, 2022, and already looks right at home and an absolute steal coming off his best game of the season thus far where he recorded a sack, two pass deflections, and a tackle for loss in a Week 5 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

“I think I’m progressing pretty well. Still learning the plays, but I’m getting everything down pat,” Pierre-Paul said.

History of Matchup

The Ravens lead the all-time series between the two teams 5-2 including playoffs and have won three of the last five meetings dating back to 2004. Their last matchup was a resounding 27-13 win for the Ravens in Week 16 of the 2020 season on December 27, 2020. Jackson is a perfect 12-0 against NFC opponents in his career and swept the whole NFC East that same season he bested the Giants for the first time.

Final Injury Report

The Ravens will be without starting wide receiver Rashod Bateman for the second straight week and starting outside linebacker Justin Houston for the third game in a row after ruling both out on the final injury report on Friday. Bateman has been battling a foot injury that has kept him from practicing since he suffered it late in their Week 4 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Houston has been dealing with a groin injury he suffered in a Week 3 win over the New England Patriots. They also ruled out backup offensive guard Ben Cleveland for the second week in a row with a foot injury and running back Justice Hill is listed as doubtful to play despite being a limited participant in practice on Thursday and Friday.

Even though the Ravens will be without a pair of starters, they are still the healthier team heading into this matchup by far. The Giants will be without their top two wide receivers after ruling both Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney out with lower extremity injuries that held them both out of practice all week. They also ruled out former Ravens safety Tony Jefferson with a foot injury that prevented him from practicing and one of their starting outside linebackers, Azeez Ojulari, is listed as doubtful to play with a calf that limited him all week.

Matchups to Watch

Greg Roman v Wink Martindale

The two former colleagues battled wits and strategies in practice from the time Roman was hired as the run game coordinator and tight ends coach in 2018 until Martindale was relieved of his duties after mutually parting ways with the team this past offseason. Now they will have their first chance to do so in a live setting without any of the limited contact rules that come with NFL practices.

Roman has unlocked his fabled vault this year with the creative answers and counters he has had not only for blitzes and pressures but also with the ways in which he has expanded the “portfolio” of players like wide receiver Devin Duvernay to play in more multifaceted roles. As impressive as Jackson has been against the blitz, Roman has been equally so scheming against by providing hot routes and easy outlets or check-down options for him to take after diagnosing or reacting to where the pressure is coming from.

Patrick Queen v Saquon Barkley

The Ravens’ third-year inside linebacker will be one of the primary players responsible for keeping the Pro Bowl running back in check or at least prevent him from creating big plays. His ability to cover Barkley coming out of the backfield or split out as a receiver in the slot or out wide as well as being able to bring him down in the open field will be crucial this week. He has made tremendous strides in coverage this season and is in the right place to make plays on the ball more consistently than he was in his first two years in the league.

Ravens Front Seven vs. QB Run Game

After allowing an opposing quarterback to record a rushing touchdown in each of their last three games, the Ravens’ defense will need to do their best to limit one of the more underrated dual-threat signal callers in the game. They are fully aware and aren’t sleeping on Daniel Jones’ rushing ability in the slightest. He is the Giants’ second-leading rusher behind Barkley and leads the team in yards per carry with 5.6.

“The quarterback does a really good job running, so they put a lot of pressure on us,” defensive end Calais Campbell said in a press conference on October 12, 2022. “We have to be very, very stout in the run game and in our gameplan, making sure that [there are] 11 hats to the ball.”

Ravens Pass Rush v Giants’ O-Line

The ability to generate pressure will be key this week for Pierre-Paul and Co. against a New York blocking unit that has allowed the eighth most sacks in the league through five weeks with 15. Odafe Oweh has come on strong in recent weeks and interior pressure from the likes of Justin Madubuike, Travis Jones, and Campbell who also line up on the edge at times will be vital in making Jones’ life miserable as a passer as well as a runner eliminating rush lanes for scramble opportunities. Pierre-Paul has recorded 2.5 sacks and three quarterback hits in three games against the Giants and his motor will likely be running even hotter this week than it has the past two weeks.

Ravens Secondary v Daniel Jones

First-year defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald will almost assuredly load the box more this week than he did against the Bengals last game because the Giants don’t nearly the amount of dangerous down-the-field weapons. Jones can expect plenty of single-high coverage with his lackluster bunch of wide receivers going up against the likes of Peters and Humphrey on regular basis. It is essentially the polar opposite of the gameplan they deployed in Week 5 and will actually dare New York to try to beat them through the air after holding the likes of Joe Burrow and Josh Allen to under 220 passing yards and one touchdown to one interception in back-to-back weeks. The absence of veteran free safety Marcus Williams may not be felt as obviously this week as it will moving forward as it looks like an ideal scenario for Geno Stone to make his second-career start.


While the Giants have been able to defy long odds and surprise a lot of their doubters by being a well-coached and crisp-executing team, this has the potential to be the week they come crashing back down to earth in a humbling lopsided affair. Martindale will fail miserably in his attempt to confuse and confound Jackson as the most dangerous dual-threat quarterback carves up his blitz packages to the tune of 300-plus yards passing with a near-perfect passer rating and takes advantage of the inevitable rush lanes that will open up for his third 100-plus yard rushing game of the season.

Final score: Ravens 34 Bills 13