I hate the Ravens. Why, you might ask? Let me take you back to January 28th, 2001. I woke up that morning as a 13 year old boy, who was excited to watch my Giants play the Ravens in Super Bowl 35. I loved that Giants team, and had the highest hopes for them going into that game. They just came off a 41-0 drubbing of the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game, and were about to face the daunting defense of the Baltimore Ravens. The Giants were dominated on both sides of the ball in that game, and lost 34-7. If only Jason Sehorn could’ve invested in a better belt, and didn’t have to decide on whether the hold his pants up, or chase the Ravens WR (who ended up scoring a touchdown on that play), it could’ve been a different game. Their lone touchdown came from a kickoff return by Ron Dixon, following a pic 6 thrown by Kerry Collins. The game was in reach at 17-7 after the Dixon touchdown, and things were looking up. That was until the Ravens’ Jermaine Lewis returned he ensuing kickoff 84 yards for their own touchdown, to make the score 24-7. That play will forever be engrained in my brain. After being so excited that the Giants scored their first touchdown of the game, all hope was crushed only seconds later. Two things happened that night: A teenager became a man(after some crying), and my hatred for the Ravens began.
The Ravens (3-2) now come into MetLife this Sunday, to face off with the Giants (2-3) who are on a three game losing streak. The Ravens thought they had won their game vs the Redskins last week with a late touchdown, but Brashad Perriman’s second foot was ruled to be out of bounds after the official review. That was the second loss in a row for the Ravens after starting 3-0, and they fired Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman after the game because of their offensive struggles. Their defense has kept them in games, and will give Eli Manning and the Giants some trouble.
After squeaking out victories in their first two games, the G-men have lost the last three. The offense again looked dreadful last week in their matchup with the Packers. The one bright side? Odell Beckham caught his first touchdown of the season last week, and didn’t have any on or off field blow ups. Eli Manning and the offense still have not had a performance they could be proud about, and the task won’t get any easier this week against the Ravens defense.
The Giants run game has been terrible in the absence of Rashad Jennings. The likes of Orleans Darkwa/Bobby Rainey/Perkins haven’t been able to capitalize on their opportunity for playing time. Rainey has looked good filling in for Vereen, but the Giants are praying that Jennings will be able to return this week. He has been practicing, and will be a gametime decision.
The Ravens veteran WR Steve Smith has not practiced this week. Smith sustained an ankle injury that knocked him out of the Ravens’ Week 5 loss to the Redskins, and it doesn’t look like he’ll play this week vs the Giants.
Interesting note: The last 4 match-ups between these teams have each been divided by at least 19 points, including Super Bowl 35.
3 Keys to victory:
- GET PRESSURE: The Giants have only 4 sacks this season. If Flacco has all time to throw, he will carve up the Giants defense, especially through the middle of the field with Dennis Pitta and Kamar Aiken.
- BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK: Eli was pressured on what seemed like every drop back last week, and he was sacked 3 times. The offense will not be able to take shots down the field with ODB if Eli doesn’t have time to step up and throw. The O Line also needs to do a better job creating holes for whoever gets the carries from the backfield.
- STOP SETTLING FOR FIELD GOALS: The Ravens enter Week 6 allowing touchdowns on 77.8 percent of opposing teams’ trips to the red zone, which ranks 29th in the NFL. The Giants will have to capitalize on the Ravens weakness, and finish their drives with 7.
I have picked the Giants to win each of the last three weeks, and I will continue to hope they can right the ship. This offense has to take off in one of these games, doesn’t it? A 4th straight loss, and all of a sudden every game becomes a must win for the Giants. I think they stop the skid, and find a way to get it done. It won’t be pretty, but I think the Giants come away with the victory.