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NEWARK STAR LEDGER
Giants' Game Day: Giants (8 - 6 ) vs, Ravens (9 - 5)
Excerpt: "3 matchups to watch
1. Giants defensive ends vs. tackles Michael Oher and Kelechi Osemele
The Giants pass rush isn’t producing at the level expected coming into the season. After accumulating 48 sacks and fueling an improbable Super Bowl run last season, the Giants have just 32 sacks this season, 16th in the league. Two weeks ago, defensive coordinatorPerry Fewell claimed the game plan wasn’t to sack Drew Brees, but the numbers remain disappointing.
The famed trio of Jason Pierre-Paul (6½ sacks), Justin Tuck(3 sacks) and Osi Umenyiora (6 sacks) have combined for just 15½ sacks. Pierre-Paul had 13½ alone through 14 games last season. Today may be their opportunity to bounce back with a pair of Ravens tackles that struggle with speed rushers. Though Umenyiora is the only speed rusher of the trio, Pierre-Paul and Tuck could also provide headaches.
The Ravens may consider going with veteran backup Bryant McKinnie if either Oher, the right tackle, or Osemele, on the left side, find trouble.
Unlike against the Saints and Brees, the recipe to slowing down Joe Flacco is bringing pressure and forcing him to make throws on the run; allowing him to set his feet and launch his deep passes could make for a long day.
2. Giants run defense vs. Ray Rice
Eighteen. That was how was how many missed tackles defensive tackle Chris Canty said the Giants were guilty of last week against the Falcons. Most were a failure to bring down the Falcons running backs, notably the bruising Michael Turner. Atlanta took advantage with 129 rushing yards — the fourth consecutive game the Giants surrendered at least 100 rushing yards.
Today could be worse if they continue down that path. That’s because missed tackles and Ray Rice form a lethal combination. Rice is one of the league’s top running backs and a game-changer. The Rutgers product already has 1,031 rushing yards this season. He’s also averaging 30.5 receiving yards per game. The problem has been getting him enough touches. Rice is averaging just 16.4 carries, his lowest since 2009, and 3.9 receptions on the season. Last week, he had just 12 carries for 38 yards and three receptions for three yards against the Broncos." Read more...
Giants' Hakeem Nicks Forced To Adjust His Game Because Of Injuries
Excerpt: "The pass traveled nearly 50 yards in the air. Hakeem Nicks had done what used to be routine for him, but this year has been significant when it happens: Burst past two defenders, finding himself atop the entire defense, with just the Georgia Dome turf between him and the end zone.
The fourth-year Giants receiver admits he could have dove for the ball. But he had a bigger gain in mind.
"I wanted to run into the end zone; I didn’t want to just make a catch," Nicks said, his eyes lighting up. "I wanted to score, so that’s why I tried to run out for it. Just off by a hair."
The pass wound up just beyond Nicks’ fingertips, falling incomplete, one of many missed opportunities in the Giants’ 34-0 loss to the Falcons last week — a setback that makes Sunday’s game at Baltimore essentially a must-win, to keep their playoff hopes viable. For Nicks, it was also a missed opportunity on an individual level.
Hobbled all season with right-foot and left-knee injuries, to the point that he walks around the locker room with a labored gait after each time he practices, Nicks less often looks for these big plays. In fact, despite earning a reputation as an explosive playmaker, the former first-round pick admits his approach to the game has changed this season due to his injuries.
"I tried to change my style up a little bit, to more of a possession receiver," Nicks said. "Just moving the ball and moving the chains, because I really ain’t got my explosiveness, the way I have had it in the past. That changed a little bit, me just trying to keep the ball, keep us on the field, be consistent in my routes and be there for (quarterback) Eli (Manning) when he does look my way."
It’s an interesting tactic. Nicks generally plays the "X" receiver position — though he moves around on some plays, in part a trick that can help injured players avoid the jam from defenders — the spot considered a team’s No. 1 receiver.
Possession receivers are usually players without special speed, but who are reliable, with good hands, and can be counted on to convert for first downs. They often play out of the slot, and they usually aren’t considered an offense’s top threat." Read more...
Giants' Offensive Line Stats Are OK, But Need To Be Better
Excerpt: "Every week, Giants offensive line coach Pat Flaherty goes through each offensive play from the previous game with his linemen. With every snap, he gives each player a grade in two categories: assignment and technique.
Essentially, a basic evaluation of whether the player was doing his job and how well he did it. Flaherty adds comments when necessary.
"We know what goes on with every play," guard Kevin Boothe said. "You know if you have to improve on certain things or not."
A quick glance at the limited statistical methods to assess an offensive line’s play suggests Flaherty hasn’t had to hand out many poor grades this season.
The Giants have allowed an NFL-low 16 sacks, four fewer than second-place Houston’s 20, and an NFL-low 42 quarterback hits. Denver, with Eli Manning’s brother Peyton at quarterback, has allowed 43.
But, as the players and coaches will tell you, those statistics involve more than just the offensive line. The quarterback, in this case Eli Manning, needs to get rid of the football on time before going down. His targets need to get open. Tight ends play a role in the latter on some plays, in blocking on others. A strong running game keeps the defense off-balance.
And those statistics aren’t the end-all and be-all.
For example, Eli Manning was sacked just one time for 2 yards last week against the Atlanta Falcons, but he was pressured on 38 percent of his drop-backs. In contrast, the Giants pressured Matt Ryan on just 14 percent of his." Read more...
Giants Eager For Return Of Ahmad Bradahaw's "Fire" And Leadership
Excerpt: "Tom Coughlin was asked this week about the intangibles Ahmad Bradshaw brings to his football team.
“You asked me questions you already know the answer to,” was the coach’s response.Anyone who has watched Bradshaw run the ball for the Giants over the last six seasons knows the answer, too. He is as much the heart and soul of the Giants as any player on the team. His competitive spirit is infectious, an energy this teammates feed on.
“When he plays, he plays with fire,” Coughlin said. “He plays with determination. He’s focused. He’s extremely physical. He takes great pride in that aspect of the game. For him, he takes great pride in defying what anyone says he can’t do. He’s someone on the sideline that’s not very patient and is not afraid to make a few comments about it.” Read more...
Tuck Makes Trip To Baltimore, Still A Chance He'll Play
Excerpt: "The Giants didn’t leave Justin Tuck behind.
The team chartered an Amtrak train Saturday afternoon for the short trip to Baltimore and Tuck, who did not practice all week because of a sore left shoulder, was on board. That doesn’t mean Tuck will play Sunday against the Ravens and it’s likely it will be a game time decision on whether or not he is capable of holding up throughout the game. Even if he cannot play, the Giants no doubt want Tuck’s presence on the sideline.
Tuck is one of seven players listed as questionable for the game and only one of them, tight end Travis Beckum, did not make the trip and had been declared out. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw missed last week’s 34-0 loss in Atlanta with a sprained knee and was not able to practice this past week until Friday. Bradshaw will give it a go in the game, as he’s expected to be in uniform. The question then becomes how effective he can be, as he clearly is not going to be 100 percent.
The other questionable who made the trip: G Chris Snee (hip), C David Baas (hip, shoulder), S Kenny Phillips (knee), S Tyler Sash (hamstring)." Read more...
NY DAILY NEWS
Manning, Cruz Know 1 Play Can Boost G-Men
Excerpt: "In the Giants’ darkest moment one year ago, their backs weren’t just against the wall, they were against their own end zone, too. It was third-and-10 from their own 1 and they were a 7-7 team staring at elimination and trailing the Jets 7-3 with halftime just 2½ minutes away.Lupica: Giants Searching For Super Spirit
Eli Manning dropped into a shotgun formation, took the snap, and his nondescript pass to Victor Cruz barely reached the first down marker. Two Jets defenders were right there to make the tackle.
Then, in a flash, Cruz was gone, and the Giants’ Super Bowl run was underway.
One year after that spectacular, 99-yard touchdown — one of the biggest plays in Giants history — the situation seems just as dire for the now-defending Super Bowl champions, as they head into Baltimore knowing a loss to the Ravens on Sunday afternoon could end their repeat dreams. The Giants (8-6) were as flat as can be in an embarrassing 34-0 loss in Atlanta last Sunday that dropped them into third place in the NFC East, and they are desperately searching for something, anything to ignite another title run.
What they need is another early Christmas miracle, another bolt of lightning to give them a spark.
But they’ve been waiting for that for weeks, and it never seems to come.
“I think so,” Cruz admits. “I think we’ve just been waiting to put it all together. We understand that the talent is there and the opportunities have been there and they’re still there in front of us. It’s just a matter of taking advantage of it.
“We’re one play away from all of us being on the same page and getting that fire lit under us and making another push towards the playoffs.”
It was more than one play, of course, that sent the Giants on their remarkable 6-0 finish last season. Manning spent the winter playing like the “elite” quarterback he said he was and the Giants’ pass rush was as good as it was back in 2007. Players up and down the roster were playing at a level that the 2012 Giants have only reached occasionally in the last few weeks.
That wasn’t the case, though, before Cruz stepped through the weak tackling attempts of Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson and outraced everyone else down the sideline, setting off the Salsa heard ’round the region. By this time last year, the Giants had already ruined a 6-2 start — as they always seem to do — by winning just one of their six second-half games. Six days earlier, they had lost an embarrassingly bad game at home to the Redskins, 23-10." Read more...
Excerpt: "The Giants are the big game in town now, because of the two Super Bowls in the five seasons before this one, because of the way they won those Super Bowls, two championships that stand with anything that has ever happened in New York sports, any sport, on either side of the Hudson River.
The Giants were 7-7 on Christmas Eve last season and seemed to be going nowhere. They were on their own 1-yard line against the Jets and then Eli threw one to Cruz and everything began to change for them in those next few electrifying moments at MetLife Stadium and for the Jets as well.
We didn’t think they could do it again, go all the way, not from 7-7, not after losing twice to the pre-RG3 Redskins. But they did. Then they did it to the Patriots in Indianapolis.
And seem to have been living off that ever since, like this season was somehow a part of last season. Like they could turn it on whenever they wanted to, the way they did against the Bucs and the Browns and against the Redskins in Jersey when they got behind and then Cruz was a streak of light again and Eli hit him and the Giants were 5-2.
The rest of the regular season was supposed to be the rest of the NFC East playing like bindlestiffs and the moment-by-moment drama with the Jets.
Only now the Giants have to play today against the Ravens. Only now the Giants, even with the knowledge that they win two games and they are in the playoffs, have to make sure they don’t fall to 8-7 and fall out of first place in the East and look like the most talented group of defending-champ underachievers in the whole sport.
On Friday Tom Coughlin was asked how worried he is playing a Ravens team that has lost three games in a row.
“I’m concerned about our team,” Coughlin said. “I’m concerned about our team.”
He can join the club.
“We need to bring our A-game,” Coughlin said, in this season when the Giants have treated doing that, bringing their A-game, like some sort of part-time job." Read more...
Giants Tapping, Tapping At The Playoff Door
Excerpt: "THE GAME: The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants (8-6) at the Baltimore Ravens (9-5), 4:25 p.m. ET at the gorgeous M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
THE WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the mid-40s and light winds. No excuses.
WHAT IT MEANS: If you need to know, you haven’t been paying attention. The Giants could be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss, and they’ll even know just how perilous their situation is before they take the field. No matter what happens before they play, though, they need this win to solidify their playoff situation. Their reality is still that if they win two games, they’re in. … For the Ravens, they’re in the playoffs but they have lost three straight games and haven’t locked up their division yet. They’d like to get their ship going in the right direction before the playoffs start, and make sure they get a home game, too.
MATCHUP TO WATCH:Ravens RB Ray Rice vs. the Giants’ linebackers. When the Ravens changed offensive coordinators a few weeks ago, the clear mandate for new play-caller Jim Caldwell seemed to be that he needed to get the ball in Rice’s hands much more often. OK, that didn’t work so well in their 34-17 loss to Denver last weekend (Rice had 12 carries for 38 yards and three catches for three yards). But expect that to change. Rice is their best weapon, yet it’s been a source of huge disappointment for the Ravens that they rank 22nd in the NFL in rushing this season. The good news for him is the Giants’ rushing defense has stunk – 22nd in the NFL, giving up 123.7 yards per game. If history holds, Rice will get through what has been a pushover of a defensive line this season, so that’ll put the onus on the linebackers to stop him. Whoever it is – Chase Blackburn, Michael Boley, Keith Rivers, Mathias Kiwanuka, Jacquian Williams – they’ll find that tackling the speedy, 5-foot-8 Rice isn’t easy. He’s small and slippery. If they tackle like last week – when DT Chris Canty said they missed 18 tackles – figure Rice to have a huge game and the Ravens to win. If they tackle better, the Giants will have a fighting chance." Read more...
Myers: January Comes Early In Giants' Minds
Excerpt: "The defending Super Bowl champion Giants have reached what amounts to the single-elimination portion of their schedule much earlier than anticipated.Giants' D Expects Heavy Dose Of Rice
“The playoffs for us start this week,” defensive tackle Chris Canty said. “Everybody in this locker room understands that and they’re approaching it as such.”
The Giants are defending their title for the eighth time in their history and have put themselves in a tough spot as they attempt to successfully repeat for the first time. The possibilities are plentiful: They can still win the NFC East or they can miss the playoffs, but those scenarios depend on what happens in other games.
Here’s what they control: They are assured of at least a wild-card spot if they can beat the Ravens, losers of three straight, and then the Eagles, losers of what feels like an entire season, to finish the season at 10-6.
The bad news is if they lose to the Ravens in the late Sunday afternoon game and the Redskins beat the Eagles in Philly and the Cowboys beat the Saints at Jerry World and the Seahawks win or tie against the 49ers in Seattle, then the Giants return home next week to finish with nothing at stake against the Eagles.
The Super Bowl Tournament doesn’t officially open for another two weeks. But the Giants are approaching these next two weeks as if January is already here.
“All in. It’s serious now,” Canty said. “This is it. This is our season. The coaches reminded us this week if anybody told you (that) you could come into the last two weeks of the season and that all you had to do was win two games to get in, that was the hand you were dealt for that season, most people would take it. As a competitor this is what you thrive on, this is what excites you, this is what energizes and motivates you.” Read more...
The Playbook: Giants vs. Ravens
Excerpt: "at M&T Bank STADIUM
WHEN: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Giants by 2
TV: Ch. 5 ( Joe Buck , Troy Aikman )
RADIO: WFAN-660 AM and 101.9 FM ( Bob Papa , Carl Banks ). Nationwide on Sports USA ( Adam Amin , Russ Tucker )
FORECAST: High of 48 with winds at 10 to 15 mph.
RB Ray Rice vs. Chase Blackburn & the Giants LBs
For the Giants, it all starts with shutting down the run and getting the Ravens into third-and-long situations where, they hope, their dormant pass rush can get to a stationary Joe Flacco . The Ravens got away from the run in Jim Caldwell’s first game as offensive coordinator but they were also trying to chase Peyton Manning’s lead all day. The Giants have been soft against the run at times, and this is no week for it. Rice is a bowling ball of a runner whose escort, Vonta Leach , may be the best blocking fullback in the NFL.
The Giants are hoping that three key components to their running game will be back on the field in RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot, knee), OG Chris Snee (hip) and C David Baas (hip, shoulder).
With Haloti Ngata in the middle of the Ravens’ D, it’s critical. WR Hakeem Nicks continues to be slowed by a season-long foot injury. DE Justin Tuck (shoulder) will be a game-time decision. Ravens WR Torrey Smith has been undergoing the concussion protocol, but indications are that he will play. Pro Bowl OG Michael Yanda should return from a one-game absence with an ankle. Ray Lewis (triceps) practiced, but reportedly won’t be activated off the IR Sunday." Read more...
Excerpt: ":The Giants know that they will get a heavy dose of Ray Rice from the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. And for a reeling run defense, that just may be a good thing.
For the first time in weeks, the Giants know exactly who they must contain, solving a problem that has plagued them for months. Big Blue has allowed more than 100 rushing yards in five of its last six games, and according to safety Stevie Brown, that's largely because the team has struggled to pick out opponents' top runners.
Last Sunday, the Falcons’ heavy use of mauler Michael Turner — and not shifty Jacquizz Rodgers — contributed to Big Blue’s embarrassing 18 missed tackles, Brown said.
Turner, who had just seven carries a week earlier, touched the ball four times on Atlanta’s opening drive and capped it with a TD. He rushed for 52 yards, spearheading a ground attack that piled up 129 yards.
“I know Atlanta, the past few weeks, they were starting to feature Jacquizz Rodgers a lot more, so we were starting to see him a lot more on film,” Brown says. “And then Turner, he’s coming out there and running the ball. And you have to switch your whole line setup.”
In previous weeks, the Giants faced similarly multifaceted rushing threats. The Saints rode a three-headed tailback group to 142 rushing yards on Dec. 9, and the Packers’ collection of backs piled up 116 rushing yards back on Nov. 25. And on Nov. 4, Pittsburgh’s Isaac Redman rushed for 147 yards; he has 106 total rushing yards since then.
The difference between preparing for multiple tailbacks and readying to face one runner is subtle, but for some reason, the Giants have struggled with that.
According to linebacker Spencer Paysinger, it’s a mental thing; last week, the Falcons didn’t use different plays for Rodgers and Turner, so “it was still about filling the right gap and being in the right place for your responsibility.” But both players would attack the same hole differently, Paysinger says.
“I’d say it's a little bit more mental,” Paysinger says." Read more...
THE NEW YORK POST
Loss To Ravens And Giants Could Fall Out Of Playoff Contention
Excerpt: "The time has come and gone for the Giants to establish a running game, or rediscover their ferocious pass rush, or get Hakeem Nicks back in form, or Jason Pierre-Paul back to his dominating ways. It is too late for any of that being important any more.
The Giants today need to figure out a way to leave M&T Bank Stadium with one more point than the Ravens, no matter how, no matter why. The inconsistency the Giants have shown this season would be maddening if it didn’t come on the heels of last year’s journey from 7-7 to a Super Bowl title.
Maybe the Giants lean on that memory and experience, and kick into gear. Maybe, subconsciously or otherwise, the requisite urgency has been drained from them, and they come up short.The playoffs are riding on today’s outcome, as the Giants can be eliminated from contention or can seal up an NFC berth depending on what they and others do around the conference. What is clear, though, is beating the Ravens puts the Giants in fine shape for the postseason, and a loss leads them into Week 17 in complete desperation mode.Who are the 2012 Giants? We find out this afternoon
.“Um, I really don’t know,” Pierre-Paul said. “I know one thing for a fact, I feel like we are one of the best teams in the NFL, but week after week, we come out on top and then we fall back down and then we come out on top and then we are on a losing streak and then we come out on top again. This week our backs are against the wall. We already start our playoffs early. This is a playoff game for us.
”The Ravens (9-5) are beatable but not easy to beat, though they are losers of three straight — including last week’s 34-17 beat-down by the Broncos the same day the Giants were getting hammered 34-0 in Atlanta." Read more...
O-Line Aims To Keep Eli Upright
Excerpt: "Given the way the Ravens attack on defense, it is no surprise their linebackers lead the team in sacks, as Paul Kruger has eight and Dannell Ellerbe has 4 1/2 . Terrell Suggs, back in action and limited to just seven games because of a torn triceps, has only two sacks.
The one area in which the Giants consistently have been good all season is limiting sacks. They have allowed an NFL-low 16 — the Texans, with 20 sacks allowed, are second. Eli Manning has been sacked 15 times; David Carr was sacked once. Consider Manning and Joe Flacco have thrown the exact same number of passes (487) but the Ravens have allowed 34 sacks of Flacco.
“It is a unit, it’s a full unit,’’ coach Tom Coughlin said of the low sack total. “It takes all 11 to accomplish anything like that. You have to have great communication.’’Coughlin cited the experience of the offensive line, the incorporation of a new tight end in Martellus Bennett and, of course, Manning.
“The quarterback has a great deal to do with that because not only does he have the ability to change what he’s in in terms of the protection, but he also gets the ball out of his hand,’’ Coughlin said." Read more...
Ravens' Lewis Won't Play Against Giants
Excerpt: "Ray Lewis won't be back, perhaps until the playoffs.Excerpt: "There will be no Lombardi Trophy waiting for Eli Manning to hoist tonight at M&T Bank Stadium. The Giants don’t need Manning to be MVP of the Super Bowl. They need him to be MVP of Giants-Ravens.
That means the Giants won't see the linebacker Sunday when they meet the Ravens in Baltimore. The team announced Saturday that he won't play this weekend and isn't expected back until the postseason -- at the earliest." Read more...
With Giants Needing A Win, Time For The Return Of Elite Eli
From the first time the ball and the season is placed in his hands to the last time, Manning doesn’t only need to be better than Joe Flacco, he needs to be the best player on the field. Because every possession now is a two-minute drive at the end of the Super Bowl.
Such is the mandate of the franchise quarterback. These are the big games, these are the big moments, when this team and its fans turn their lonely eyes to Manning and ask him to remind them why he is an elite quarterback, at the end of a season when he has not been elite.
When one win leaves your team one win from the playoffs.When one loss likely turns your team from defending champion to ex-champion.Quoth the ravenous quarterback: Nevermore.
Tom Coughlin can’t build a bridge all the way to New Orleans if Manning doesn’t have EZ Pass.The more Manning has the ball in his hands, the less Ray Rice has it in his. The more Manning scores, the more Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora can tee off on Flacco and wreck the game.The Giants don’t need Manning to be the perfect 10. They need him to be great.And that is his mindset.
“You approach it as, ‘Hey, we gotta play great,’ ” Manning said. “You gotta just make the plays that are there, play smart football. ... Baltimore plays a lot of close games, so we gotta get the game into the fourth quarter and try to make our best plays then.”I said to Manning: “But you have to play great, correct?
”“Everybody has to play great,” he said. “So, for me to play great, offensive line, running backs, receivers, everybody has to do their part.
”Everybody needs him to silence the crowd if and when Ray Lewis’ inspirational presence whips it into a frenzy.Quoth the ravenous quarterback to the hostile crowd: Nevermore.One game to win.One quarterback to win it.Their quarterback.“I see the same focus on a weekly basis, because he’s trained himself to be that way,” Coughlin said, “but there isn’t any question about games of this nature where he’s willing to do whatever he has to do to be in position to help us win.” Read more...
Excerpt: "Giants linebacker chase Blackburn took a timeout to tackle some Q&A with Post columnist Steve Serby.
Q: You play with a lot of emotion. Do you play angry?
A: I try to. ... I feel like I play better, play more aggressive. You hit better, tackle better, get off blocks better. It helps your game.
Q: Do you feel you’re a typical middle linebacker?
A: I’m more of an all-down guy than I was in the past. To me, that’s what a middle linebacker is. He doesn’t come off the field.
Q: You said earlier this week that it’s time to come out swinging like you’re in a bar fight.
A: You gotta put it all on the line now.
Q: Have you been in a bar fight?
A: No comment (chuckle).
Q: What are your thoughts of Eli Manning?
A: He’s not afraid of the moment.
Q: You’re making $825,000 on a one-year deal. Do you realize how underpaid you are?
A: That’s life at some points, I guess. Someone has to be underpaid, I guess. If everyone was overpaid, they wouldn’t have any money left (chuckle).
Q: Do you hope to sign a long-term contract with the Giants?
A: That’s the only team I see myself playing for. It would be great if they see it the same way. I love the guys I play with. I love the system I’m in. It’s a great town. My wife and I are familiar with everything here. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. I would definitely love a little bit of stability. Coming off last year, I wanted a long-term deal. It didn’t happen." Read more...
Tuck Makes Trip With Giants, Still Chance To Play Vs Ravens
Excerpt: "The Giants didn’t leave Justin Tuck behind.
The team chartered an Amtrak train Saturday afternoon for the short trip to Baltimore and Tuck, who did not practice all week because of a sore left shoulder, was on board. That doesn’t mean Tuck will play Sunday against the Ravens and it’s likely it will be a game time decision on whether or not he is capable of holding up throughout the game. Even if he cannot play, the Giants no doubt want Tuck’s presence on the sideline." Read more...
THE BERGEN RECORD
Giants At Ravens: How They Matchup
Excerpt: "What's At Stake?
Giants: Use whatever cliché to describe the urgency facing the Giants heading into today, and it applies. They clinch a playoff spot with victories in their final two games, whether that ends up being as NFC East champs or a wild card. But if the Giants lose to Baltimore, their dream of a repeat Super Bowl could be over by Christmas if Washington, Dallas and Seattle all win. The Giants are 4-1 following a loss this season, averaging 37 points per game, and have scored less than 38 just once (their 31-13 defeat to Cincinnati on Nov. 11).Key matchup
Ravens: The Ravens are the only team in the NFL to reach the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season, but they are not playing well. They need to win one of their last two games to clinch the AFC North, and with their regular-season finale coming at Cincinnati, no question the urgency will be present at home to wrap up the division this weekend. A trend working in their favor: The Ravens have won nine straight regular-season home finales, the league’s longest such active streak.
Giants interior OL vs. Ravens DT Haloti Ngata: Ngata, a four-time All-Pro, signed a five-year, $61 million contract last year and has been wildly inconsistent since. He is plenty capable of wrecking a game, so keeping him contained is a priority. RG Chris Snee (hip) and C David Baas (hip/shoulder) will give it a go and LG Kevin Boothe also will have to be ready to stop Ngata, who will line up at both tackle spots and occasionally at nose guard." Read more...
NEW YORK TIMES
Week 16 NFL Game Probabilities
Here are the game probabilities for Week 16.
|| Atlanta at Detroit
|| New Orleans at Dallas
|| Tennessee at Green Bay
|| Indianapolis at Kansas City
|| Buffalo at Miami
|| San Diego at NY Jets
|| Washington at Philadelphia
|| Cincinnati at Pittsburgh
|| St. Louis at Tampa Bay
|| Oakland at Carolina
|| New England at Jacksonville
|| Minnesota at Houston
|| Cleveland at Denver
|| Chicago at Arizona
| NY Giants at Baltimore
|| San Francisco at Seattle
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Giants' Director Of College Scouting, Marc Ross, Leading Candidate For Panthers' GM Job
Excerpt: "It seemed inevitable that New York Giants Director of College Scouting, Marc Ross, would eventually land a job as an NFL General Manager, and it appears likely that will happen sooner rather than later.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Ross is now the leading candidate to land the Carolina Panthers GM job, which was made vacant when the team fired Marty Hurney in late October.Ross, who is currently in his fifth season as the Giants' Director of College Scouting, has seen tremendous success alongside General Manager Jerry Reese over that span, and the duo have been credited with having some of the best drafts since 2008." Read more...
Ravens Place Jameel McClain on IR, Do Not Activate Ray Lewis
Excerpt: "Many thought that when theBaltimore Ravens placed linebacker Jameel McClain (spinal contusion) on Injured Reserve it would signal the return of Ray Lewis. However, when McClain was placed on IR Saturday, it wasn't Lewis who got the call. Instead, Baltimore signed Adrian Hamilton off of their practice squad and left Lewis on short-term IR.
Fellow linebacker Paul Kruger said the return of Lewis would have been "huge," and even the New York Giants fully anticipated seeing him on Sunday, but it now looks like the veteran won't return until the playoffs." Read more...
Giants' Travis Beckum Downgraded to Out, All Other Players Make Trip To Baltimore
"The New York Giants are currently boarding a plane to head to Baltimore where they will take on the Ravens in a pivotal week 16 matchup. And despite seven players listed as questionable on their injury report, everyone other than tight end Travis Beckum, who has been downgraded to out, will make the trip.
If past trips are any indicator, it would mean the Giants expect Chris Snee,Justin Tuck and Ahmad Bradshaw to play this weekend. Previously, they had been the most "iffy" due to their respective injuries.
Meanwhile, for the Baltimore Ravens, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network is reporting that linebacker Ray Lewis is unlikely to play again this regular season as he continues his comeback from a torn triceps. However, the Baltimore Sun maintains that a decision on his status for Sunday's game has not yet been made.
Considering how things could have gone, this is about the best news Big Blue could have possibly hoped for.
Giants Will Continue to Honor Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims
A week after having "S.H.E.S." written on their helmets, the New York Giants organization will continue to honor those lost in the Newtown, CT. shootings. All staff members will wear a black pin with white lettering that reads "S.H.E.S." on Sunday.
UPDATE: Ray Lewis will not be activated and will not play on Sunday."
BIG BLUE VIEW
Giants' Adrian Tracy Ready For His Number To Be Called
Excerpt: "New York Giants' defensive end Justin Tuck has missed practice this week with a shoulder injury and is listed as questionable for Sunday's do-or-die game against the Baltimore Ravens. Who do the Giants turn to if Tuck can't play?
Adrian Tracy is hoping for that chance. "This is what you want to do. You want to play," said Tracy. "You want to get out on the field and you want to contribue to the team and do anything to help them win."Rumors circulated that Tracy had rolled his ankle earlier in the week, but nothing has been confirmed. Tracy didn't have any complaints, saying he's prepared for a potential opportunity to play.
"Every week I go into the game plan prepared," said Tracy. "I get my mentality right to focus on what is required of me in the different positions that I fill and that's what you want to be is prepared at all times in case something happens where you're called on."Tuck hasn't been ruled out for Sunday and made the trip down to Baltimore with the rest of the team. This doesn't mean he's confirmed to play either, and Tracy isn't sure what Tuck's status will be for Sunday. However, he continues to say he's ready if the coaches call him.
"I thought it was a precautionary thing for [Tuck] as far as not practicing and what not, but I'll be ready if I'm called upon, I'll fill my role," said Tracy.
Tracy had significant playing time in 23-6 win against the San Francisco 49ers Week 6. He thought that his role on the team would expand after that game, but as we all know it didn't. "There was a role that was made for me and they thought that I played well at that position and I thought that my role would increase, but in due time. Things happen," said Tracy." Read more...
JPP: Left Or Right; Or Does It Really Matter?
Excerpt: "We have talked incessantly this week about the New York Giants' pass rush. Bear with me while we do it just a little bit more.
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports has taken his own look at the pass rush and utilized some screen shots to show situations where the defensive line had opportunities, but simply did not win.What struck me about each of Prisco's screen shots is that as far as I can tell Jason Pierre-Paul is at the left end in each of them. JPP at left end, especially moving for Osi Umenyiora, has always bugged me. I have never thought Pierre-Paul looked as comfortable, or more importantly, was as productive coming from the left side.Well, data from Pro Football Focus shows that I am only partially right about that. Here are the numbers from this season:
||Pass Rush Productivity
||Pass Rush Productivity
We see that Pierre-Paul has five sacks from the right and only two from the left (he officially has 6.5, but for PFF's purposes they have him credited with seven). Yet, overall (using the pass rush productivity stat) we see that Pierre-Paul has actually created more havoc for quarterbacks coming from the left side." Read more...
THE RED ZONE.
Giants, Steelers Desperate For A Win
Excerpt: "The list of desperate teams has been on fire, going 12-4 the last three weeks when they aren't facing each other.3. New York Giants: Baltimore Ravens' fans might feel desperate for a win, but it's very possible Baltimore will have backed into a division championship by the time this game has started. This matchup of wounded teams should decide the Giants' playoff fate. The Giants host the Philadelphia Eagles nest week in a game where they will be heavily favored. Win in Baltimore, and the Giants should be in the tournament." Read more...
Coach's Decision: Run Or Pass?
Excerpt: "This isn't the Baltimore defense of the past.
Entering Sunday, Baltimore is ranked 26th in yards allowed per game, 22nd in passing yards allowed and 26th in rushing yards. Injuries are a main reason why the Ravens have struggled, but the team still has plenty of solid players on defense that haven't played up to par.
Coming off a 34-0 loss, the Giants offense should be looking for a bounce-back game. The offense has been hit or miss down the stretch, alternating between good and bad weeks. In the last four weeks, the Giants have scored zero, 52, 16 and 38 points. Going by that, the Giants should put up points Sunday.
The big decision will be whether to try to beat the Ravens through the passing game or to try and get the running game going. Baltimore is susceptible to both, and obviously a balanced game is desired, but it seems the Giants tend to have success in just one area." Read more...
Week 16 Predictions: Giants vs. Ravens
NFL Playoff Picture
3TFO: Giants @ Ravens
Excerpt: "Before Sunday’s shutout loss in Atlanta, the New York Giants controlled their own destiny in the NFC East. That’s not the case anymore, and they know they can’t afford to slip up anymore as they head on the road for the second straight week.
The Baltimore Ravens come into this week licking their wounds on the back of their third straight loss. Suddenly the once vaunted M&T Bank Stadium has been breached on two straight occasions, not the ideal situation you want to be in as you welcome the defending world champions.With both teams battling in the race for the playoffs, and a division title, this promises to be an important game that neither team can really afford to lose. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the three key areas to focus on in this Week 16 matchup.
Giants Defensive Ends vs. Ravens Offensive Line
As the Giants try to get themselves back on track in the race to the postseason, they’ll be looking for more consistency from their highly regarded defensive line. With seven sacks, three hits and 42 hurries, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has been their most reliable pass rusher, as evidenced by his Pass Rushing Productivity rating of 9.4. With 39 total pressures from 345 snaps as a pass rusher, Osi Umenyiora is slightly behind that production, with a PRP Rating of 8.9, while Justin Tuck brings up the rear with a PRP Rating of 6.2, registering just 28 total pressures from 351 pass rushing snaps.
Fortunately for the Giants, this week they head to Baltimore to go up against a set of Ravens offensive tackles who have had their own problems with consistency. Left tackle Michael Oher ranks 42nd among all offensive tackles with a Pass Blocking Efficiency (PBE) Rating of 93.9, allowing eight sacks, nine hits and 23 hurries from 527 pass blocking snaps. On the right side, rookie Kelechi Osemele has performed slightly better, allowing seven sacks, six hits and 23 hurries from 515 pass blocking snaps, giving him a PBE Rating of 94.4. What’s concerning for Osemele is that when he has struggled, he has really struggled, with 19 of his 36 total pressures allowed coming in just three games." Read more...
Michael Vick: "I am Not A Back-Up"