Ravens, Giants mirror image of each other
Five weeks into the NFL season, the Ravens and Giants are in the same hole. They are riding losing streaks and their offenses are struggling heading into today’s game at MetLife Stadium.
Five weeks into the NFL season, the Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants are in the same hole.
They are riding losing streaks and their offenses are struggling heading into today’s game at MetLife Stadium
Baltimore (3-2) did something about its offensive woes after last weekend’s 16-10 loss to the Washington Redskins. Coach John Harbaugh fired offensive coordinator Marc Trestman on Monday and promoted veteran assistant Marty Mornhinweg to replace him.
The Giants (2-3) didn’t do anything that drastic after losing their third straight game, 23-16 in Green Bay.
However, there is concern. The team has scored 89 points, with only 26 in the last two games. Eli Manning has not been sharp and the offensive line has been inconsistent.
Giants coach Ben McAdoo insists his offense will produce once it cuts down on the penalties and turnovers. He also has to worry about changes Mornhinweg, a former coordinator in San Francisco, Philadelphia and with the Jets, will bring.
“We need to be ready for anything and everything, and expect the unexpected there,” McAdoo said.
Harbaugh said that the Ravens won’t be changing their offense under Mornhinweg. The biggest difference will be the play calls and some of the terminology in making those calls as Baltimore tries to snap a two-game slide.
“I think there will be a few tweaks here and there,” Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco added. “I don’t really want to get into too much specifics, but Marty brings a definite energy and a lot of confidence.”
Baltimore tight end Dennis Pitta called Trestman a great guy and a great coach.
“It was difficult to see him go, but I think it was something that this offense needed,” Pitta said. “We were in kind of a bad place. It didn’t seem like we were getting out of it. Hopefully, this will spark us.”
New York has sputtered on offense, particularly in the red zone. It has 15 possessions inside the 20yard line and produced seven touchdowns, 46.7 percent. Its 89 points are the fourth fewest in the NFC, and Seattle (79) has played only four games.
“I think we just have to sustain a drive for a touchdown,” right guard John Jerry said. “That’s the No. 1 thing we need more than anything. We just need to get that feeling back.”
Here are some things to watch in the game:
Giants’ running game
Starting halfback Rashad Jennings might be ready to return after hurting a thumb against New Orleans in Week 2. Shane Vereen was lost the following week to a triceps injury, and Orleans Darkwa and Bobby Rainey have carried the load the past two weeks. If Jennings can’t play, expect to see more of rookie Paul Perkins, the exciting fifth-round pick.
The Ravens are 2-0 on the road, matching the number of wins they had in away games all last season. After rallying to beat Cleveland, they edged Jacksonville on Sept. 25 before uncharacteristically dropped two straight at home.
The last time Baltimore won three in a row on the road in the regular season was in 2012. That’s the year the Ravens clinched a playoff berth by beating the Giants at home before going on to win the Super Bowl.
Starting safety Nat Berhe (concussion) has missed the last two, and rookie Darian Thompson (foot) is going to miss his fourth straight game. Rookie free agent Andrew Adams has started the last two games, but don’t be surprised if veteran cornerback Leon Hall plays some safety. The signing of cornerback Coty Sensabaugh adds some depth with Dominque RodgersCromartie and Eli Apple dealing with groin injuries.
Two weeks ago, the Ravens were unbeaten and considered one of the most surprising teams in the NFL. Now they’re struggling to stay over .500 to remain in the thick of the AFC North chase.
“We’re itching for a W,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “When you lose, everything is bad. The food is bad. Everything is bad.”
Though today’s game isn’t exactly a must-win situation, it’s pretty darn close — for both teams.
“We both want to get in the win column,” Ravens receiver Mike Wallace said. “We lost the last two; they lost the last three. There is a sense of urgency on both sides.”
Giants tackles Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart both struggled protecting Manning last week. Flowers got into trouble after the game for shoving an ESPN reporter. Don’t be surprised if they are on short leashes. Veteran Will Beatty will be next up if they don’t improve.
Giants’ Eli Manning throws during the first half of loss to Packers last Sunday.