Giants readying for (the real) Ravens offense
Sam Spiegelman , Contributor
This is not Newton’s Laws of Physics, but it is a theory.
For all of the turmoil surrounding New York’s inability to consistently win football games, there is equal to or greater panic in Baltimore regarding the Ravens’ offensive identity.
The Giants have embarked on just two winning streaks this season. Four times, however, they have followed up a win with a crushing loss.
On the second of December, the Ravens began a streak of their own — a three-game losing skid, including their first two losses at home in 15 games.
Baltimore has lost to divisional foe Pittsburgh, regional rival Washington and was nearly routed by fellow AFC power Denver.
The Ravens’ pitfalls have come in the form of offensive futility, headlined by the fact star running back Ray Rice has just 230 carries this season. In the past two seasons, Rice has averaged 300 attempts per year.
The Ravens replaced offensive coordinator Cam Cameron with longtime Colts assistant Jim Caldwell, who in his first game taking over, called for a dozen Rice carries.
Still, the Giants are making Rice the focal point of their defensive game plan.
“It’s going to be a good opportunity for me to go out there and wrap-tackle; try to play the run. That’s one of the key things too, we have to stop the run too, and rush the passer,” Jason Pierre-Paul said. “Like I say everyday during the season, if we can’t stop the run, then we can never get a chance to get the passer.”
There has also been questions about fifth-year quarterback Joe Flacco, who is on pace for a remarkably similar season statistics-wise as years past, but owns his lowest quarterback rating since his rookie year.
Flacco was drafted in the same class as Matt Ryan, who is piloting Atlanta to likely a top seed in the NFC this year.
Perhaps a down year for the Ravens’ signal-caller, the Giants are still wary of what Flacco is capable of doing on any given Sunday.
“(Flacco) definitely (has) one of the strongest arms in the league as a quarterback and he has guys that are deep threats — Torrey Smith and Jacoby and Anquan,” Antrel Rolle said. “They have weapons at each and every position. He can dump it off to Ray Rice at any time.”
After routing New Orleans earlier this month, defensive lineman Chris Canty said the defense had yet to hit on all three cylinders as a unit.
Though the defense has played well — at times — it has failed to force together, containing the running game and pressure the quarter in the same 60 minutes.
Should the Giants play up to their billing, Pierre-Paul believes they can the best team in the NFL.
“I know one thing for a fact, I feel like we’re one of the best teams in the NFL. Week after week, we come out on top, then we fall back down, come back up top, go on a losing streak, then come back on top again,” he said. “This week our backs are against the wall. This is a playoff game for us.”
Follow Sam on Twitter @SamSpiegs