A few weeks ago, the New York Giants were in contention for a first round bye in the playoffs. Now, they are in danger out missing the postseason all together.
At 8-6, the Giants will likely have to win their final two games to get a shot at defending their Super Bowl title. Doing so would guarantee them a playoff berth.
New York won’t have an easy time winning their Week 16 matchup. They’ll visit the Baltimore Ravens for a 4:25 p.m. ET start. The game will air on FOX, but you can watch a live stream online by purchasing NFL Sunday Ticket Max.
The Ravens have already clinched a playoff spot, though they are still looking to win their division. They have a one-game lead on the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North.
Baltimore, like New York, has struggled of late. They were once in the running to get a first-round bye, but have lost their last three games. The once vaunted Baltimore defense has given up over 29 points per game during the losing streak.
The entire 2012 season has been a struggle for the Ravens defense. They’re 22nd in pass defense and 26th in the league in rushing yards allowed.
One of the biggest reasons for the teams decline has been Raw Lewis’ health. The linebacker hasn’t played since Week 6 because of torn triceps. ESPN is reporting that the linebacker has told people privately that he is ready to play, but won’t take the field again until the postseason.
New York has experienced injury problems of its own. Ahmad Bradshaw has been banged up for much of the season. He didn’t play in the team’s 34-0 to the Atlanta Falcons, and is listed as questionable for Sunday. Defensive end Justin Tuck is also questionable, while safety Kenny Phillips is expected to return to the field.
Other than injuries, the teams’ quarterbacks have been a large part of both the Ravens and Giants struggles. Joe Flacco hasn’t taken the step to become an elite signal caller, like many expected. Eli Manning has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in his last eight games.
Since Jon Harbaugh took over as Baltimore’s head coach, the Ravens have been one of the best teams at home. Still, the Giants are 2.5-point favorites, even after New York was shut out last week.
Prediction: Both teams are struggling, but have shown they can compete with the best teams in the NFL. The Giants seem to play their best when they need to. If they can slow down Ray Rice, they should leave Baltimore with a win.
Predicted Score: New York 23, Baltimore 20