After losing the last 3 games, the Ravens will look to get back on track against a slumping New York team. The Giants, who are coming off of a 34-0 shellacking from the Falcons, come into M&T Bank Stadium eyeing to improve to 9-6.
Some might dispute that the Giants have more to play for, and that could be true. They are in the midst of a three-way tie in the NFC East and a loss on Sunday could doom their chances at winning the division.
The Ravens, however, have their own battle at hand. A win would seal the AFC North for the 2nd year in a row. It could happen, but things would need to fall their way.
Here are three things to look for when the Ravens and Giants face off:
QB Play: It’s easy to say that a game comes down to the way the QB’s play. But this game, it could very easily be decided by the performances of Eli Manning and Joe Flacco. The two have eerily similar numbers on the year. Their yardage is spread by about 100 yards; both guys have 20 TD’s, and have been plagued by ill-timed turnovers. If the two QB’s have good games, it could be one of the higher scoring matchups of the year. If the turnovers turn out to be the biggest plague, this will be an ugly one.
Playmaking WR’s: When you play Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, you always have to be wary of the big play. In this game, the Ravens are especially vulnerable. The secondary comedy has left opposing QB’s laughing. Cary Williams has continued to let up big plays, and his few INT’s have been lucky. Jimmy Smith can’t seem to make big plays when it counts. And Ed Reed provides no help over the top and forgot what the word tackle means. If Bernard Pollard doesn’t get healthy and provide insurance for the CB’s, Cruz and Nicks will eat Williams and Smith alive.
On the offensive side of the ball, Torrey Smith, the supposed spark, has been non-existent. Joe Flacco hasn’t found Smith much at all over the last few games. If #82 doesn’t get into the mix against a very run-of-the-mill secondary, we could see a repeat of the Denver game, when the Ravens had the eight drives fail to produce a 1st down.
The Return of the Ray: While it hasn’t been made official, the future hall of famer is on track to play on Sunday. While this could be the last time Ray comes out of the tunnel in Baltimore, he will look to provide a spark that this defense has needed for weeks. Ray will again have the headset and that will be a vast improvement in getting the D back up to pace.
If Ellerbe stays on the road he is on, he will be back on the field too! Dean Pees wants to bring Eli Manning to a halt and these two LB’s will be a key to success.