Giants effort hardly super

If this were a fight, they would have called it early - real early. <BR><BR> The Ravens might have come into the game a mere two games ahead of the Giants in the standings; however, it's perfectly clear that they're light years ahead of Big Blue in just about all facets of the game. This might as well have been Super Bowl XXXV all over again.

The Ravens came into the game fighting for their playoff lives. The Giants were just looking for a win, any which way they could get it. Forget about it.

Forget Jim Fassel, all Kyle Boller needed to get a lot better was an afternoon against the Giants defense. Eli Manning? He made a deer in the headlights look calm and cool compared to his performance.

At this rate, all the experience he's getting might be overshadowed by the fact that Manning has taken such a mental, physical and emotional beating that it's hard to think it's not going to affect him down the road. With every terrible toss Sunday - there goes another one, a screen pass well behind Tiki Barber - you wanted to see Kurt Warner in the game. Forget about wins at this point. It might actually be time to get Manning out of the lineup so as not to ruin his development.

Tom Coughlin squelched that belief right after the game. Manning stays the man, the boss stated.

Warner very ably cleaned up the mess in Baltimore and topped Manning's passing total for the entire game (27 yards) on one 41-yard crossing pattern to Amani Toomer. Perhaps Warner should return to the starting lineup, just to try to slow down this avalanche as much as possible. Think all these defenses that Manning's been battered by so far are good? Wait'll you get a load of Pittsburgh. The Steelers defense is the best of them all.

Manning said after the loss in Baltimore that he needs to regain the trust of his teammates. It's going to be difficult, because some of them clearly are unhappy that Manning's at the controls. Coughlin missed a golden opportunity to give Warner one more start - against the rigid Steelers D, at that - and give Manning a week to recover. Then you put Manning back in for the final two starts.

However, Coughlin's decision ultimately doesn't matter. The quarterback is not the problem with this team; the coach is not the problem with this team. The injuries are not the problem with this team, although they don't help.

This team plain and simple doesn't have enough good players. They didn't back in October when they were sitting pretty at 5-2, and they clearly, obviously so definitely do not now. Don't believe us? Let's play a little game then.

Let's take a player-by-player look at the Giants and Ravens - hardly the bar-setter for NFL supremacy this season, yet clearly a club that boasts an advantage at just about every position on the field. From where we're standing, only Tiki Barber and Jeff Feagles are better than their Baltimore peers. Here goes.

QB - Forget what Eli Manning might become; right now he's a total mess. He's terrible. Kyle Boller proved plenty good enough Sunday and right now obviously has a huge edge over Manning.

By the way, a quick question: Has anyone actually had the thought yet that Manning could possibly not work out? Everyone's so certain - as am I - that he'll round into shape and become a great one. Could you imagine if that doesn't happen?

RB - Giants get the edge here, Tiki Barber over Jamal Lewis, but it's certainly very close.

WRs - You're joking, right? The trifecta of Clarence Moore, Kevin Johnson and Travis Taylor tops Amani Toomer, Ike Hilliard and anyone else the Giants want to throw out there. The Ravens wideouts made multiple catches that Giants receivers just do not and cannot make.

TE - This one's a landslide in Baltimore's favor, as Todd Heap has turned into a true weapon in the passing game, while Jeremy Shockey only gets a handful of throws a game these days, when he's not blocking, of course.

OL - Ha Ha Ha. Names like Jonathan Ogden, Edwin Mulitalo, Casey Rabach, Mike Flynn and Orlando Brown wouldn't have anyone missing the Giants porous, ineffective front five.

DL - Without Michael Strahan, as the Giants were in Baltimore, there's no comparison on this front either. Kelly Gregg and Terrell Suggs are playmaking D-linemen that the Giants would kill to have. Granted the Giants are plenty banged up right now, but we're comparing only Sunday's starting units.

LB - They have Ray Lewis. The Giants don't. That's all you need to know. In only a spelling bee, would the Giants LBs have any type of advantage over Lewis.

CB - Not exactly a mismatch, but the Ravens tandem of Chris McAlister and Gary Baxter beats out the Giants' Wills.

S - Ed Reed is as big a defensive factor for Baltimore as Lewis is. Another huge edge in Baltimore's favor.

K - Matt Stover is as dependable as they come, year-in and year-out. And to think the Giants drafted him, with all the kicking problems they've had.

P - Finally another spot the Giants can boast an advantage in. Jeff Feagles is still one of the game's best, Dave Zastudil a journeyman.

Returners - Derrick Ward might be a rising star - if he can hold onto the ball - but B.J. Sams is one of the game' best.

That quickly and easily it's obvious why the Ravens destroyed the Giants. It's because they've got much better players.

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