This week marks the Ravens visit to the home field of the other Manning brother. Lucky us, we get to go on the road this season to play both Mannings and lose to both of them.
Yes, I am so sorry, Ravens fans, but I did indeed say "lose." The defending Super Bowl champs may not be the same team that upset the previously undefeated New England Patriots in what was one of the best Super Bowls ever, but they're still good enough to beat Baltimore, especially at the Meadowlands. The Ravens by now, have shown that they're still a relatively poor road team, even more so when visiting the home of one of the better teams in the NFC. Eli Manning will have another year under his belt and seems to be improving steadily while his brother, Peyton, may actually be tailing off a bit lately. The Giants have a bunch of playmakers and can't be looked at with a significant weakness on either side of the ball.
With Manning throwing to a bevy (good word, eh?) of receivers, led by the former Steeler (and Ravens' nemesis - another good word!) Plaxico Burress, as well as bruising running back Brandon Jacobs plowing over guys, the Giants can put points on the board in a variety of ways. Perhaps their weakness is their kicking game, but that is no way to pin your hopes of an upset on!
Defensively, the Giants, despite the retirement of All-Pro Michael Strahan, can put a ton of pressure on the passer. To many d-linemen with difficult names to say, much less spell, had a bunch of sacks in 2007, and figure to add to their season totals against the Ravens young offensive line. Troy Smith, or whomever survives, will be running for their lives and either be gaining a bunch of rushing yards or eating mouthfuls of turf by the time this one is over.
Offensively, this may be one of the Ravens more difficult games to put points on the board. For many of the reasons noted above, I would not be surprised if this game is over early. I expect the Ravens QB's to be harried all game, throwing on the run, sacked and pressured into throwing the ball to catch up on the scoreboard. All this points towards fumbles and interceptions that the Giants will pounce on and turn into scores. This one could get ugly, unless the Ravens get a few gifts along the way in the form of a broken run, lucky pass, or perhaps a Special Teams TD. Otherwise, expect a rare blowout in a hostile environment.
Giants: 30 Ravens: 10
Season Record: 5-5