Week 16: New York Giants At Baltimore Ravens
- QuarterbackThe Giants can’t look back at last year’s Super Bowl and feel good about it anymore. That’s in the past. If they are going to make the playoffs this year, they have to win their two remaining games. That means Eli Manning has to make the big plays and he can’t turn the ball over. Manning has been up-and-down this year, and that won’t be good enough in this road game.The Ravens may be in first place in the AFC North, but this team is in offensive disarray. They parted ways with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron prior to the Week 15 game with the Broncos and the offense did not respond. Joe Flacco has decent numbers as he has thrown for 3,474 yards with 20 TDs and 10 interceptions, but he has not shown he can come through when the game is on the line.
- OffenseThe Giants may have Ahmad Bradshaw back in the lineup after missing the Week 15 game against the Falcons with an MCL problem. Explosive David Wilson gives the Giants big-play ability on the ground. The Giants will need wide receiver Victor Cruz to stretch the Ravens’ defense and Hakeem Nicks will have to come up with a consistent game.The Ravens are a much stronger offensive team than they on the defensive side at this point and it’s largely due to the presence of running back Ray Rice. He is an explosive runner who can bounce out of tackles and then take the ball a long way after breaking free. Wide receiver Torrey Smith suffered a concussion against the Broncos and may not be available. That puts a lot of pressure on Anquan Boldin.
- DefenseThe Giants have struggled badly on the defensive side of the ball this year, ranking 26th overall and 28th against the pass. The Giants have not gotten the same kind of pass rush they did last year and much of that is on Jason Pierre-Paul who has just 6.5 sacks. The Giants secondary has been awful this season and head coach Tom Coughlin needs better play from his pass rush to cover up for that weakness.Even though the Ravens lost to the Broncos last week, they clinched a playoff spot when the Steelers dropped an overtime game to the Cowboys. The Ravens are going to need to get much better play from their defense if they are going to do anything positive in the postseason. They rank 24th in overall defense and 26th against the run. Strong safety Bernard Pollard leads the team with 98 tackles.
- Special TeamsThe Giants have gotten big plays from their special teams. In their Week 15 victory over the Saints, Wilson’s explosive speed allowed him to return one kickoff for a touchdown and he also had two other big returns. Coughlin has complete confidence if the game comes down to a Lawrence Tynes FG attempt.While the Ravens have had problems on offense and defense, their special teams coverage has been the best in the league. They have a significant edge on both punt and kickoff return differential. Placekicker Justin Tucker has made an impressive 25-of-27 FG attempts.
Neither team has played well over the second half of the season, but the Giants are desperate for a win in this game while the Ravens have already clinched a playoff spot. The Giants have to execute much better and Coughlin can be expected to have his team prepared to play a solid game.