Ravens - Giants: 5 keys to the game

1. Run the football: Between the Baltimore Ravens' resurgence in the running game and the New York Giants' extreme vulnerability, this should be a prime opportunity to pile up yards. The Ravens rushed for 191 yards last week. Even with Jamal Lewis expected to play a minor role because of a sprained ankle, Chester Taylor and Jamel White should be capable of attacking this group of beaten-down tomato cans.

The Giants have allowed 201, 152 and 211 rushing yards over the last three games and rank 26th against the run, allowing 134.8 yards per contest. They don't have defensive end Michael Strahan, and their linebackers aren't intimidating.

Baltimore is liable to try to control some clock, especially after the defense has been faltering because of a lack of rest, miscommunication and too much free-lancing. The Ravens rank seventh from the bottom in the league in time of possession, controlling the clock for an average of 28 ½ minutes.

Plus, quarterback Kyle Boller has thrown interceptions in consecutive games for the first time this season over the last two games. Other than more high-percentage passes to tight end Todd Heap, the running game appears to be the proper tonic for what ails this team. It's not as if drop-prone receivers Travis Taylor and Clarence Moore have proven they can be counted upon.

2. Toughen up in the fourth quarter.
In losing two games in a row for the first time this year, Baltimore lost its will in the fourth quarter. They have allowed 39 points. They had only given up 55 points in that critical period in their previous 10 games. In a 27-26 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, in allowing 453 yards of total offense, the Ravens gave up 200 passing yards and three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. There's no excuse, or good explanation for why that happened, other than needing to maintain intensity and focus throughout the contest.

3. Be more aggressive in the red zone.
The Ravens are playing it way too safe. They have failed to score a touchdown in four of their last five trips inside opponents' 20. They're the only team in the NFL to produce more field goals (13) than touchdowns (12) in the red zone. The Ravens rank 24th in red-zone offense and have never finished higher than 21st in red-zone efficiency since Brian Billick took over in 1999. The Giants' presence at M&T Bank Stadium might be a convenient arrival. They have given up 25 touchdowns on 32 series a 78-percent clip.

4. Avoid special-teams miscues
Rookie B.J. Sams has lost two fumbles in the last four games, fumbling five times this season. Last week's muffed punt led directly to a touchdown. If he can't catch the football cleanly, he should just get away from it and let it bounce.

5. Pressure Eli Manning
The Giants' offensive line has allowed 47 sacks, and Manning is completing only 41.3 percent of his throws for one touchdown and four interceptions for a 44.2 passer rating. The rookie is consumed with not making mistakes, which could lead him to hold the football too long. Expect outside linebacker Terrrell Suggs, who has 9 ½ sacks, to constantly be in the face of the youngest quarterback of football's most famous family.

Aaron Wilson is the chief writer for RavensInsider.Com He is also the Ravens' reporter for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

If you are reading this article via a news portal, you can find the original on RavensInsider.Com
URL: http://www.ravensinsider.com


Ravens Insider Top Stories