The Giants need to get their act together quickly if they are to retain their title...
Hands up who saw the 0-34 scoreline versus the Falcons coming for the Giants last week...and don't lie? As I thought, none of you; and that's because it was a complete shocker.
Tom Coughlin, the coach of the New York Giants and part time Mr Grumpy summed it up pretty well; 'Atlanta was very, very good. We were very, very bad.'
Are the Giants going to be that bad again? Absolutely not. Are they going to be good enough to beat the Ravens and keep alive dreams of retaining their crown? Most likely, yes.
The most mercurial of all NFL teams this season - the Giants now find themselves in a three-way tie for top spot in the NFC East. Unfortunately for them, sharing that perch are two of the hottest teams in the NFC in the form of the Cowboys and the Redskins. Any slip-up this week and the Giants will be in deep, deep trouble. If they win their remaining two games (the last one being a very winnable contest v Philadelphia) they're guaranteed a play-off spot. That's a big carrot dangling in front of them.
Remember they were 7-7 last year and still went on to nick the Superbowl.
Baltimore on the other hand are already guaranteed post-season action, and it could be the case that the deciding factor here could be the fact that one team (New York) needs the win a lot more than the other.
A crucial match-up on the field will be whether or not 1000-yard running back Ray Rice can rack up the yards against a soft Giants' run defence. If he can, Ravens QB Joe Flacco can unleash receivers Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin against the struggling Giants' cornerbacks. Both are massive threats but Smith with his 17 yards per reception is the dangerman as long as he's recovered from the concussion he picked up last week.
I'm not too worried about the Giants' offence sparking back into life; Eli Manning is too good a quarterback to not eradicate the memory of a scoreless week 15 in a hurry.
What is more debatable but something the Giants desperately need, is a resurgence of their renowned pass-rushing machine. Big impact players such as Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck have gone off the boil recently - they'll need to get stuck in and make life uncomfortable for Flacco for any Giants' success...and I believe they will.
At their best the Giants are still a major force. I can't get their week six 26-3 thrashing of the 49ers out of my mind, and the idea that they will go out with a whimper shouldn't be an option.
Back the New York Giants to win @ 1.738/11
Back Over 47.5 Total points @ 2.226/5