The Baltimore Ravens come into their last regular season home game in an unfamiliar position, they have lost three straight games, including their last two home games after having a 15 consecutive home game winning streak. Meanwhile the New York Giants find themselves in their prototypical situation, needing to win out to make the playoffs, or would need some serious help if they do not win out.
This game puts two teams desperate for a win against each other, but the Giants are desperate for a win to stay in the playoff race in the NFC, while the Ravens are desperate for a win to give both their fans and themselves some confidence heading into the playoffs as they have already clinched a playoff berth, but still need one more win to clinch the AFC North.
Baltimore's defense may get a little healthier this week, as S Bernard Pollard, LB Ray Lewis, and LB Dannell Ellerbe may all return for the Ravens which will help out greatly as they are going up against a very tough Giants offense that has several weapons. New York comes in with the tenth ranked total offense in the NFL and a quarterback, in Eli Manning, that can carve them up if the Ravens do not apply any pressure on him. One positive for Baltimore is that the Giants are struggling in their running game, and if Baltimore can keep the Giants running backs at bay early, New York may abandon the run and fall in love with the pass, which could help the Ravens in being able to apply pressure.
On the flip side of the ball, Baltimore's offense is struggling to say the least and has look abysmal as of late with just quarters of brilliance backed up by halves of awfulness. Consistency has plagued the Ravens offense all season, and will be looking to provide some of that in their second game with interim offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell. A key for Baltimore will be protecting quarterback Joe Flacco as a struggling offensive line will have to take on Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul and company this Sunday, and although the Giants pass rushers have not had the season they had hoped for, they are still incredibly dangerous and have the potential to make it a very long day for Flacco and the Ravens offense. Baltimore is hopeful that Marshal Yanda, Torrey Smith and Ed Dickson will play Sunday, which would be huge lift for this team.
In a game that puts two borderline desperate teams up against each other, it should be exciting to say the least. Baltimore will look to avoid losing four straight, while New York will be looking to stay tied a top the NFC East. Gametime is at 4:25 pm EST and will be aired on FOX.
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