Ravens-Giants preview

Ravens-Giants preview
December 22, 2012, 1:45 pm
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Ravens vs. Giants

at M&T Bank Stadium, 4:30 p.m. ET

The favorite: Giants -3.

Last week: Ravens (9-5) lost at home to the Denver Broncos 34-17; Giants (8-6) lost on the road to the Atlanta Falcons 34-0.

Series: Ravens lead, 3-1.

Last meeting: Ravens lost 30-10 on Dec. 16, 2008, in East Rutherford, N.J. QB Joe Flacco threw two interceptions, one returned 50 yards for a TD. The Giants had 207 yards rushing with Ahmad Bradshaw leading the way.

Burning question: Will the offensive line do a better job pass blocking for Flacco (13 sacks in last 4 games) and run blocking for Ray Rice?

Keys to victory on offense: Aside from the blocking issues up front, Flacco has had 6 turnovers in the last three games, two in each, that have been game-changers. He has to be better aware in the pocket and Caldwell needs to devise a quick-hitting offense that gets the ball out of his hands faster. Flacco continues to go outside the hashes on crucial throws and doesn’t use the middle of the field with his receivers. Defenses realize it and that’s what led to the 98-yard TD interception return against Denver. This is the NFL’s worst team when it comes to possessing the football. Too many 3rd-and-longs spell doom. 

Keys to victory on defense: It has played good in stretches, particularly to start games, but tend to fade by the second half. There just aren’t enough bodies to sustain for four quarters. This defense is at its best when it can force turnovers, something it failed to do against Denver though it blew golden opportunities at an interception and fumble recovery. Getting pressure on QB Eli Manning and forcing him into mistakes will help both sides of the ball for Baltimore.

Injury report: RAVENS -- Out: LB Jameel McClain (spine contusion); Doubtful: S Bernard Pollard (ribs); Questionable: WR Tandon Doss (ankle), LB Dannell Ellerbe (ankle), FB Vonta Leach (ankle), LB Albert McClellan (thigh/shoulder), RB Bernard Pierce (concussion), WR Torrey Smith (concussion), G Marshal Yanda (ankle). Probable: TE Ed Dickson (knee), S James Ihedigbo (neck), DL Arthur Jones (shoulder), DE Pernell McPhee (groin), S Ed Reed (shoulder), CB Jimmy Smith (abdomen), LB Terrell Suggs (biceps), WR Deonte Thompson (thigh), WR LaQuan Williams (thigh).

GIANTS – Questionable: C David Baas (hip/shoulder), TE Travis Beckum (knee), RB Ahmad Bradshaw (knee/foot), S Kenny Phillips (knee), S Tyler Sash (hamstring), G Chris Snee (hip), DE Justin Tuck (shoulder); Probable: DT Chris Canty (neck), WR Hakeem Nicks (knee), WR Rueben Randle (back), CB Prince Amukamara (hamstring).

Prediction: Giants 31-27.