I would have to give Flacco the upper hand against Eli Manning, even though they’re basically equal when it comes to statistics (5 TD’s, 4 INT’s, both around 1,300 passing yards) this season. Both have great outside threats in Beckham, Sterling Shepard, Victor Cruz, Steve Smith., Mike Wallace, and Dennis Pitta, but it’s the Giants depleted secondary that will allow Flacco to outplay Manning. The Giants are ranked 19 in total defense and 22 in total pass defense, allowing about 262 pass yards per game. Add injury concerns with cornerbacks Dominique Rogers-Cromartie and Eli Apple, and Flacco could have a field day with a couple of second-stringers filling in. On the other hand, Baltimore’s defense ranks 9th in the NFL and 7th in pass defense, giving up 191 passing yards a game. So, not only will the depleted New York secondary allow Flacco’s receivers to get open and lead to more completions, but the much improved Baltimore secondary should provide trouble for both Manning and his receiving core.
Will this be the week Odell Beckham Jr. breaks out for a monster game?
I can’t say that Beckham will have a monster game that we’ve all been waiting for this weekend. The Baltimore secondary has been great so far, giving up the seventh-fewest passing yards per game at 191, and they will undoubtedly double or design schemes favored towards covering Beckham over Shepard and Cruz. Part of Beckham’s lack of production has been due to the fact that he hasn’t been open and his teammates have been. He’s shown that if you play him tough and render him practically ineffective, he’ll visibly become upset and that ends up affecting how he and his team play. Yes he had a much more even-tempered game in Green Bay when he started to get more targets and involvement in the offense, but this Baltimore secondary is the best that this offense and Beckham has faced all season and I believe that they’ll prove so on Sunday and contain Odell Beckham Jr.
I think it’s a no-brainer that the Ravens will go after the left side of the Giant line and especially Flowers. The Giants have given up 10 sacks, three of which coming against Green Bay, and 16 quarterback hits so far this season. Ereck Flowers had three penalties at Lambeau Field, and his struggles were even more illuminated in an attempted post-game interview with the left tackle where he physically pushed a reporter that kept asking him about his performance. It doesn’t get easier for him this weekend when he faces the likes of veteran linebacker Terrell Suggs, it’s a fact that Flowers will be a pass-rushing target all day in lieu of his poor performance as of late. Eli Manning can’t be effective if he’s constantly knocked down and sacked, and Giants fans may be seeing a lot of that on Sunday if Flowers and the left side of the New York offensive line gets targeted by Suggs and his highly-ranked Baltimore defense.