Giants (2-3) vs Ravens (3-2)
Ravens lost for the second time in a row playing last Sunday against the Redskins.
The Ravens scored an opening drive touchdown, but all they were able to add to
that for the rest of the game was a field goal. Even with a strong defensive effort,
they ended up with a 16-10 loss.
were able to get two interceptions off Aaron Rodgers, but it wasn't enough. After
winning their first two games, they fell to the Packers 23-16, to take their third
loss in a row.
- Green Bay Wrap-Up
They had 20 players placed
on injured reserve and were able to win in only five games last year, but were
off to a good start this season. The Ravens won the first three games against
Buffalo, Cleveland and Jacksonville. Then they took a one point loss to the Raiders,
and stumbled once again last week to the Redskins. Head coach John Harbaugh doesn't
like to stumble for very long, and he took action right away. Harbaugh fired offensive
coordinator Marc Trestman and replaced him with his quarterbacks coach, Marty
Looking back, in 2012 the Ravens fired Cam Cameron, replaced him
with Jim Caldwell, and went on to win the Super Bowl. Caldwell later left to become
the Detroit Lion's head coach. Gary Kubiak took over for one year before leaving
to coach the Denver Broncos. That's when Trestman, the former head coach for the
Chicago Bears between 2013-14, took over. So the Ravens have seen a lot of change
in the offensive coordinator spot. Mornhinweg was a former offensive coordinator
for the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets. The immediate
goal right now is to improve on an offense that's averaging just 18.8 points per
How much will it matter that Joe
Flacco has a new offensive coordinator for this game? One week isn't enough time
for Marty Mornhinweg to implement much change. In fact too much change in too
short a time could lead to confusion and mistakes. One thing that will likely
change is balance between passing and running the ball. The amount of pressure
put on Flacco and his offensive line has been tremendous, as Flacco has thrown
more passes than any other quarterback - 216, and they have run the ball only
You would think with the number of throws, that the Ravens would
have a top ranking in passing yards, but that's not the case. Flacco's just 11th
in passing yards with 1,282. Flacco is known for his strong arm, but is averaging
just 5.9 yards a pass, the lowest average in his career. Mornhinweg knows they
need to be more committed to the run, which will open up bigger opportunities
in the passing game.
It's hard to say what
can change this week, with starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley and right guard
Marshal Yanda listed as doubtful, and with starting right tackle Rick Wagner questionable.
Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., who also went on to injured reserve last year,
is unlikely to play. That said, if the opportunity is there, watch out for deep
threats Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman.
The Ravens held the Redskins to
16 points last Sunday and still lost the game. The kicker is that six of those
points (pun intended - extra point was missed) came on an 85-yard punt return.
This defense is very good and ranks in the top six or better in interceptions,
points, passing yards and rushing yards, and leads in first downs allowed. They
are good at quarterback pressure and stopping the run. Their main problem area
is that they rank 29th in the NFL in touchdown red zone defense.
they are up against a Giants offense that has not been particularly good in that
area so things could get interesting. That is if the Giants can get there in the
first place. Linebacker Terrell Suggs has 4 of the Ravens 10 sacks and Timmy Jernigan
has 3. The Giants have been playing poorly protecting Eli Manning and are going
to have to watch out for these guys.
They are clearly not playing anywhere
near their best. In the first two wins, Eli Manning completed 73.9 percent of
his throws and had three touchdowns and just one interception. In the three losses,
it was a 57.6 completion percentage with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
In the last two games they totaled just 26 points, 32 first downs, and 12 punts.
Is it the offensive line? Is Eli Manning feeling
pressure when it's not really there or is it justified? He did get hit with three
sacks last week in Green Bay. Right now it seems you just throw the cover 2 defense
at the Giants and they're done.
Manning's passing skills and his three talented
wide receivers have been neutralized, and we've seen no answers from head coach
Ben McAdoo. Should he consider relieving the play-caller (himself) of that duty
and let offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan handle it? In any event, lately the
running backs and tight ends have been proficient catching passes, while the receivers
struggle. That should be looked at, and of course a strong running game would
help. As of now, running back Rashad Jennings is expected to return after missing
three games with his left thumb injury. Maybe they can get somewhere there, but
it won't be easy against the Ravens defense.
They get some small measure of
excuse for not getting enough pressure on Aaron Rodgers last Sunday. Rodgers may
be the most mobile quarterback out there, and he's very skilled at keeping plays
going until his receivers get free. Rodgers did turn over the ball twice, thanks
to cornerback Janoris Jenkins
with his two interceptions. This week they face another quality quarterback, Joe
Flacco, but the story is a little different. Flacco had surgery in the offseason
to repair a torn ACL and MCL and has had to deal with wearing a knee brace on
his left knee. That makes one aspect of the game different, but still the Giants
pass rush hasn't been there and they sit with an NFL-low four sacks on the season.
The Ravens are having problems keeping some key offensive line players healthy,
so maybe they get a slight advantage here. The Redskins did up against the Ravens
last week with the league's 29th-ranked defense
and they had success. They were helped by the fact that Ravens wide receiver Steve
Smith Sr. had to leave that game. Smith leads the Ravens in receiving yards, is
second in catches, and also leads the team with five catches of 20 yards or more.
They'd be hurting if he misses this game. The Giants secondary will miss safety
Nat Berhe and Darian Thompson, and cornerbacks Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Giants had a few things going against them last week. They were on a short week.
It was their second road trip in a row played at night, and their opponent was
coming off a bye week. This time the Giants are in a familiar stadium during normal
'business' hours, and it's the Ravens who have to practice a new offense and take
the road trip. One of these teams will break their losing streak. I'm looking
for it to be the Giants.
Sunday at 1:00pm Ravens (3-2)
at Giants (2-3)
Sunday at 1:00pm Eagles (3-1) at Redskins (3-2)
4:25pm Cowboys (4-1) at Packers (3-1)
The Giants and Eagles are the only NFC
East teams favored to win in these games.
Eli Manning will start in his 200th consecutive game, including postseason.
Eli Manning needs one passing touchdown to reach 300 for his career.
Steve Spagnuolo was a defensive assistant for
the Baltimore Ravens from 2013-14.
Joe Flacco has thrown more passes (216) than any other quarterback in the NFL.
for the second time in four years, have fired their offensive coordinator during
Ravens have held Eli Manning
to 330 yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions over their three meetings.
have beaten the Giants three times in four meetings, their last loss was in 2008.
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