Giants-Ravens: Keys for a Giants' Victory

Michael SamuelSenior Analyst INovember 14, 2008

Last Sunday's victory over the Eagles was exciting, but it really shouldn't have been that close. The key for the Giants in that game was controlling the ball and running the football. 

Eli Manning bounced back from his opening drive interception to lead two 80-yard touchdown drives. Although the Giants gave up 31 points, you can accredit that to two Giant turnovers that gave the Eagles a short field.

1. Whose strength will be stronger: Giants running attack or Ravens rush defense?

New York will need to show a variety of running plays, including pounding it up the middle with Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward.

Ward had a very poor game against the Eagles, only netting 3.1 yards per carry, down from his over five yards per carry as he had previously done. Realizing this, Tom Coughlin put in Ahmad Bradshaw to spell Jacobs, which provided a spark. Bradshaw went on to carry the ball five times for 38 yards, including a long run of 23 yard run. 

The Ravens, though, can stop the run; they give up fewer than 90 yards per game. Although, they haven't faced a rushing attack quite like the Giants, who have Earth, Wind and Fire.

The Ravens have athletic players on the outside, particularly LB/DE Terrell Suggs, who could get sucked in a lot on a shotgun draw play. If the Giants are stuffed inside at the inset of the game, look for them to try draw plays, which have been very effective for Derrick Ward.

2. Can the Giants pass rush get after Rookie QB Joe Flacco?

Last week, the Giants recorded a whopping zero sacks. I accredit this mostly to the Eagles preparation and knowledge of the Giants blitz happy scheme.

Joe Flacco, however, is a rookie, and the Giants should try to confuse him with stunts and safety blitzes. Although this goes against what the Giants want to do (rush only four and still apply pressure) it could be effective in causing turnovers.

3. Can Eli Manning continue to spread the wealth?

Last week, Kevin Boss had his best game as the starting tight end, catching six balls for 69 yards and a first quarter touchdown reception. Manning can't come in and try and get the ball to Plaxico Burress all of the time. He should make sure that he scans the field and doesn't throw foolish interceptions.

Taking a sack in that situation isn't the worst idea because the Giants need to control the time of possession.

Those are my three keys to the game. Feel free to comment.