Ravens at Giants: Preview, Predictions, and More

Sep 18, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) motions to fans after a call in the game against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) motions to fans after a call in the game against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /

Baltimore Ravens vs New York Giants

The 3-2 Baltimore Ravens could very easily be 5-0 or 0-5 had a play in each game gone one way or the other. Baltimore hasn’t won or lost by more than six points all season. This week, they head up the highway to face the 2-3 New York Giants, another team that could be 0-5.

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Baltimore’s offensive woes have been so brutal that they fired their offensive coordinator, Marc Trestman. Their pass offense has contributed -14.72 expected points according to Pro Football Reference, which is second worst in the NFL. Joe Flacco’s touchdown percentage is the worst in the league. Their ground game hasn’t been much better, churning out less than the league average.

The Ravens defense has kept Baltimore afloat. Against the pass, Baltimore has allowed the fifth fewest passing yards per game and is tied for the third most interceptions league-wide. Baltimore’s run defense has only allowed 76 yards per game, which is fourth best of all teams.

Meanwhile, the Giants offense has experienced significant struggles themselves. The rushing attack has been hampered by injuries to Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen along with poor line play. That hasn’t done much for the passing game.

As bad as the aerial attack has been, it would be shocking if first-year, play-calling head coach Ben McAdoo got axed. Many have suggested McAdoo turn over play-calling duties to focus more on the bigger picture, but even more blame could be placed on under-performing Eli Manning or the lack of discipline and control over Odell Beckham, Jr.

Keys To Victory For Ravens

Blitz, Blitz, Blitz – The Giants can’t run the ball and that won’t change against a staunch Baltimore run defense. That means the G-Men will be forced into passing situations and the Ravens can come full throttle. Eli’s numbers when pressured are considerably worse than when he’s not. Big Blue mostly goes small when dropping back, with Eli dumping off to running backs and tight ends or tossing to shallow crosses. That won’t pick up any first downs or score any points.

Throw, Throw, Throw – New York’s defense is severely banged up with six starters listed as questionable: Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon, Devon Kennard, Eli Apple, Darian Thompson, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The Giants have only tallied four sacks through five weeks, the fewest of any team. Flacco should have plenty of time to stand in the pocket and pick apart the coverage.

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Ruffle Odell’s Feathers – Washington got in Odell’s head with Josh Norman. Minnesota got in Odell’s head with Xavier Rhodes. Odell was quiet for most of the game against the Packers, but ended up hauling in an incredible touchdown catch to pull New York within a score in the fourth quarter. If Baltimore can rough up Beckham, they should get him to lose his cool and off his game.

Keys To Victory For Giants

Pressure Joe Flacco – Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has to get creative and figure out how to get to the quarterback. The Week 5 Sunday night game against the Packers was embarrassing for the Giants pass rush. Not only did that group not sack Aaron Rodgers, but they didn’t even come close to harassing him. With Steve Smith out and Mike Wallace questionable, the Ravens will have limited receiving threats. Play press, stack the box, and get after Flacco.

Feed Odell The Ball Early And Often – Find a way to get the ball in Odell’s hands right off the bat on the first drive. The Giants got creative last week by lining Beckham up in the backfield and tossing a swing pass, then they fed him the ball on a reverse that he should’ve thrown away. One worked, one didn’t. I respect the willingness to experiment. If teams are going to double or triple him, free him up in space.

Eli Manning – Since the Week 2 game-winning drive against the New Orleans Saints, Eli’s play has gotten worse each week. The most alarming stats from Eli are the completion percentage and the yards per attempt. Manning was as inaccurate as ever against Green Bay, missing surefire touchdowns and first downs at an absurd rate. That can’t happen if the Giants want to even their record.


Point Spread: Giants -3
Moneyline: Ravens +150, Giants -170
Over/Under: 44

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This game will boil down to the Giants offense against the Ravens defense. Baltimore’s offense in a state of flux with a new coordinator that can’t fix all their problems in one week. New York should shake off the past two weeks with another close, dramatic win thanks to a rejuvenated Eli and a focused Odell Beckham.

Pick: Baltimore Ravens: 21, New York Giants: 24