This Sunday at 4:30pm, New York sports fans everywhere will be tuning in to see the New York Giants take on the Baltimore Ravens as fans hope Big Blue can come through as their backs are against a wall once again.
QUESTION IS….WHICH G-MEN WILL SHOW UP THIS SUNDAY?
This game is the G-men’s most pivotal of the 2012 season, as the defending champs must win to stay in playoff contention. To lose could squash Big Blue’s dream to get the chance of repeating as Super Bowl Champions.
The problem is no one knows which Giants team will show up down in Baltimore.
The Giants forfeited their lead in the NFC East by playing Jekyll and Hyde football over the last few weeks and it has caused a frightening pattern.
See the G-men go from looking unbeatable one week to a team comparable to the New York Jets the next.
These ups and downs are nothing new to Giants fans but after witnessing last weekend’s shutout by the Falcons, they have taken the low to an all-new level. The Giants 0-34 thrashing was the worst defeat of any reigning Super Bowl Champion during the regular season in NFL history.
So what was the problem for the Giants to choke like that against Atlanta?
No doubt this trouncing was a team effort as the offense stunk; the defense looked lazy, as even the ever-unswerving foot of Lawrence Tynes missed a textbook 35-yard field goal, in a dome no less.
One player that was noticeably missing against the Falcons was CB Prince Amukamara, as rookie Jayron Hosley struggled big time in the secondary. In no way is Hosley to blame as so much went wrong but his inexperience was just clear. Safety Kenny Phillips was still out but both are returning on Sunday, which is huge to shutout, the Ravens passing game.
Without question Eli Manning was just terrible. He threw two picks but there were many other throws that were closer to getting picked off than reaching the receiver. Eli needs to take command of the offense, and I am sure he is hoping RB Ahmad Bradshaw gets cleared to play so he can help move the ball.
But Eli has nothing to do with the absolutely invisible play of the Giants defensive front four. As Osi, Tuck, and to a lesser degree JPP and Kiwi have looked lackadaisical more than enough times this season that maybe they are still high off their SB reputations.
If one good thing came out of that Atlanta game it would be an ego check for the Giants front four, as teams will not agonizing over facing them anymore.
You can expect to see Ravens running back Ray Rice used to the max on Sunday. Rice is a beast and the Ravens trust Flacco even less than the Giants do Eli lately, so the front-four should expect the ball to be handed to Rice a lot and that means they have to bring their A-game.
The return of leader Ray Lewis could not come at a more perfect time for the Ravens, as this man’s picture is next to the definition of a motivator in the dictionary. And trust me, Lewis might be old in number but his presence on the field certainly shows he is not in heart.
Both the Giants and Ravens are riddled with injuries; and both are coming off atrociously bad performances so you can expect this match-up to be fueled by a lot of pent-up anger.
The Ravens already clinched a Wild Card spot but a win on Sunday means for the second year in row Baltimore will take the AFC North.
Baltimore is a midst a three-game losing streak that you can bet they want and need to break.
The Giants however cannot lose this game if they want to make the playoffs and their destiny in their own hands.
For New York to clinch a playoff berth this weekend they not only need to beat the Ravens but need losses from the Bears, Vikings, Cowboys and Redskins. Now if the Giants lose and the Seahawks, Cowboys and Redskins all win their season will be officially over.
Overall heading into this game all the elements of being a sloppy mess are there as these are two besieged teams as of late.
This makes predicting a winner truly a crapshoot, as the capacity to implode at a moments notice means anything, or nothing is possible if that makes any sense.
Bottom-line is I am a lifelong Giants fan, a born and bred New Yorker so I expect the G-men to beat the Ravens by a score of 24-17.