The New York Giants are in a familiar position, we are not in week 16 and the Giants are jockeying for a playoff position. The division crown appeared to be all there’s, but now at 8-6 in the NFC East they are tied with the Redskins and Cowboys. The winner of this close race will ultimately come down to next week. The Giants quite possibly have the biggest test out of these three teams in their week 16 matchup against the Ravens. This is undoubtedly the Giants biggest game of the year, but they have been in this position before and it has worked it just fine. If the Giants eek into the playoffs, there is definitely not a team that would want to square off against them knowing their success. The Ravens find themselves in the same position, on a downward spiral as we get closer to playoff season. After losing three straight games, the Ravens desperately need a victory to get back on track before the playoffs. At 9-5 you would think team moral would be at an all time high, however, it has been anything but. The first loss in this three game losing streak came at the expense of the Steelers led by Charlie Batch. The game prior to that, they needed a 4th and 29 conversion to slip by the Chargers in overtime. Their last dominating performance came in week 10 against the lifeless Oakland Raiders.
The firing of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron came as a shock to Ravens’ fans and even Ravens’ players. However, whether you liked the firing or not, it hasn’t, and probably will never solve anything in 2012. The Ravens record and time of the firing is probably the biggest head turner of the whole situation. They’ll need to get on the same page quickly if they want to get into the playoffs on the same page. It is imperative that the offense gets it going, because the defense is definitely having an off year. The Ravens’ offense has plenty of weapons to work with, including running back Ray Rice, and receivers Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin. The inconsistency of quarterback Joe Flacco has proved troublesome for the Ravens’ offense. Flacco has passed for 3474 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Not terrible numbers, but the fact is, he should be doing much better. Over thrown receivers and mental lapses are name of the game for Flacco. Without the stingy Ravens’ defense to rely on this season, Flacco’s mistakes have been evident.
The defense has taken a huge step back in 2012. Without leader Ray Lewis, the defense is near the back of the pack, not the front where they are accustomed to being. Other injuries to key positions have plagued this defense as well. Nevertheless, injuries or not, it is a shock to look at the defensive rankings and see where the Ravens are. They are currently in 25th position with regards to total team defense. Most surprisingly, is their ability to stop the run, where they are 25th there as well. After the Giants got shut out, you know Eli Manning and the Giants are going to come at this porous defense hard.
The Giants offense was at one point, a top-3 unit in the NFL. Manning and his array of targets could do no wrong. Manning was also the highest rated quarterback in the league. This streakiness should surprise no one as they play this act every year. The offense is currently the 10th best in the league, scoring 26.6 points a game. So, even after pitching a donut, they still rank among the leagues highest scoring teams.
Giants vs. Ravens Spread and Betting Odds:
New York Giants -2.5 (-115)
@ Baltimore Ravens +2.5 (-105)
Over 47 (-110)
Under 47 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Giants vs. Ravens Pick:
The Giants are one of those teams that can flip it on at any time. They aren’t consistent by any means, but when it matters, the Giants show up and give a complete effort. The Ravens on the other hand are a team that feeds off of energy and good vibes. Lately the team moral has been at all time low. Joe Flacco even proclaimed that it doesn’t feel like they are a 9-5 team, more like they are having a losing season. Great confident boost I imagine for the rest of the season. The Giants have been known this season to absolutely torch bad defenses, and I don’t see it changing here. Remember, they did put 38 up on the Packers in week 12 then followed that up with 16 against the Redskins. The following week they destroyed the Saints for 52. They have followed this trend all year, when they get shutdown on offense, they erupt the following week.
The Ravens’ defense isn’t in good enough shape to contain the Giants this week. Eli should have plenty of time to dissect the porous Ravens’ secondary and pass rush. I like the Giants in must win situations.
PICK = Giants -2.5