Reporting Jerry Coleman
As the Ravens get ready for a virtual “must win” home game against the always surging Giants, they realize what’s at stake. The Ravens need a win to take the A-F-C North , but the Giants are playing for their playoff lives and possibly the NFC East. Running back Ray Rice stated, “It’s either going to be a game here, or it’s going to be taking the show on the road. That’s something that we have to focus on one week at a time. To speak on them – you’re looking at the Giants; they are in a three-way tie right now. If you think that team is going to come in and lay an egg … We have our hands full. This team won the Super Bowl last year. They have a lot at stake – same as us. We appreciate the home playoff game, because our fans are phenomenal. They are amazing at home. It’s always comfortable being at home. When you don’t have to pick up and travel and get on that airplane, it helps out. That team coming in here has a lot more at stake than we do, because they, obviously, are battling to get in the playoffs.” Rice went over 1,000 rushing yards for the 4th straight in the game against the Broncos, and looks to build on that. It’s a simple formula; the Ravens are 22-3 when Rice touches the ball, more than 25 times a game.
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata added , “I think we’ve got to do a great job of focusing on the Giants this week, and defensively, make it to where they can’t get too hot. With Eli Manning, I think you understand that if he can get rolling, he can score a lot of points, and I think people see that and hopefully we do not let him get hot. And definitely, I think we need to stop the run this week, because they do a good job running the ball.” This year, with some of the injuries, the Ravens are at the bottom in run defense where they rank 26th. Even with those struggles, and Ahmad Bradshaw coming back for the G-men, there are many positive trends in this game. The Ravens are 9-0 in home finales, since 2006 and 9-0 under John Harbaugh at home, vs. N-F-C opponents.
The Ravens offense still hasn’t found a balance, and quarterback Joe Flacco will certainly have to improve his game, after an awful showing last week that included a pair of turnovers , “I think we all just have to keep our heads up, and it starts with me. It started with me throwing the interception, it started with me trying to run the guy down and see if we could keep them out of the end zone at least at the half there. We just weren’t able to. I think it starts with me keeping my head up and just keeping that positive attitude to move [forward] and play the full 60 minutes.” The Ravens must be a more balanced team and take the pressure off Flacco. When Rice gets going that can make things so much easier, and Flacco is less likely to make a mistake.