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5 Storylines: Jets-Ravens

Backups Last Week, Geno Smith and Ryan Mallet Could Take Center Stage in Week 7


A Potential Spark: Entering Week 7, the Jets rank last in the NFL in terms of scoring at 15.8 points per contest and they also have averaged three turnovers per game. After they totaled just three points in Monday's loss at Arizona, Todd Bowles elected to make a change at the quarterback position.

Geno Smith will start his 30th game for the Jets against the Ravens, but it will mark his first start under Bowles and offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

"We're on a four-game losing streak. No one likes it. It's a bitter taste in our mouths," Smith said this week. "We just have to put together some good practices, build momentum up into the game and then go out there and just play recklessly, play hard with a reckless abandonment and do whatever we have to do to get this victory."

No Joe?: Ravens QB Joe Flacco has a right shoulder injury and he did not practice Wednesday or Thursday.  If he can't go, the Ravens will hand the ball off to Ryan Mallett. In two starts with Edgar Allen Poes last season, Mallett completed 60% of his passes for 566  yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.  Just like Smith, Mallet directed the Ravens first-team offense for most of the spring as Flacco was recovering from a torn ACL and MCL. The 6'6", 250-pound Mallett is known to get the ball out of his hand quickly and he has a monster arm.

No Run to Daylight: The prideful Jets' defensive front will look to get back to their run-stuffing ways after yielding 111 yards and 3 TDs to Cardinals RB David Johnson.  While the Jets should be boosted by the expected return of veteran ILB David Harris, rookie 'backer Darron Lee will miss this contest with an ankle injury.  The Jets rank No. 6 overall against the rush (85.5 yards per game) and they'll look to contain RB Terrance West, a third-year player averaging 4.7 yards per carry.

On the other side of the coin, the Jets offense will clash with the NFL's top rush defense as the Ravens are yielding just 69.7 yards an outing.   The Jets have been scuffling in the run game, averaging just 54 yards the past three weeks. Smith could provide some option looks for the Jets as they attempt to get Matt Forte and/or Bilal Powell on track.

Defensive Changes: It is expected that the Ravens will be down a pair of edge rushers in Terrell Suggs (biceps) and Elvis Dumervil (football), so they'll look to backups Za'Darius Smith, Albert McClellan and Matthew Judon for contributions. Will they blitz Smith or play numbers in the back end? Meanwhile Bowles has hinted at defensive changes, but he did not reveal his plans to the media this week.

Razor-Close: Baltimore is getting used to nip and tuck affairs. In each of the past two seasons, the Ravens' first six games have been decided by 6 points or less. The Jets, who opened the season with a one-point home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, were in a one-possession game with the Seahawks when the fourth quarter commenced at MetLife Stadium in Week 4.  This could be a nail biter as the two conference foes look to end losing streaks.  The Ravens have never lost four in a row under John Harbaugh.

Top Photos from Thursday's Practice

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