AFC North: New York Giants

Video: Storylines for Giants, Steelers

August, 10, 2013

Jeannine Edwards reports from Heinz Field and discusses the top headlines leading up to Saturday night's preseason matchup between the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Wrap-up: Ravens 33, Giants 14

December, 23, 2012

My thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' 33-14 victory over the New York Giants:

What it means: Making quick work of the defending Super Bowl champion Giants, the Ravens (10-5) clinched their second straight AFC North title for the first time in franchise history. That means the Ravens assured themselves of hosting their first playoff game. Baltimore ended its three-game losing streak by taking its frustrations out on the Giants. The Ravens rolled to a 24-7 halftime lead and finished with a season-high 533 yards of total offense. Baltimore can still move up to the No. 3 seed if it wins at Cincinnati next Sunday and the Patriots lose at home to Miami.

Flacco flourishes: The up-and-down season for Joe Flacco continues. He ripped apart the 27th-ranked pass defense, throwing for 309 yards and two touchdowns. He had a hand in three first-half touchdowns: scoring passes to Torrey Smith and Ray Rice and a 1-yard run. This is the same Flacco who had two turnovers in each of the previous three losses.

Getting the ball to Rice: Jim Caldwell found a way to put the ball in the hands of Rice in his second game as offensive coordinator. Rice ran for 107 yards and caught six passes for 51 yards and a touchdown. This was the 17th career 100-yard game for Rice. Backup Bernard Pierce added 123 yards rushing as the ground game totaled a season-high 224 yards.

Controlling the ball: The best way the Ravens' offense can help its banged-up defense is controlling the ball. The Ravens dominated time of possession, holding onto the ball for 39 minutes, 21 seconds. The key was extending drives. The Ravens converted 11 of 18 third downs (61 percent).

What's next: The Ravens end the regular season at the Cincinnati Bengals, who wrapped up the No. 6 seed on Sunday by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Countdown Live: Giants-Ravens

December, 23, 2012
Join our NFL experts as they break down the contest between the New York Giants and the Baltimore Ravens.

Contribute your thoughts and questions beginning at 4:25 p.m. ET. See you there.

ESPN experts predict Ravens-Giants

December, 22, 2012

In the video, Mark Schlereth and Jerry Rice make their predictions for the Giants at the Ravens.

Here's what the other ESPN experts are predicting:

Eric Allen: Giants
Mike Golic: Ravens
Merril Hoge: Giants
Ron Jaworski: Ravens
Chris Mortensen: Giants
Adam Schefter: Giants
Mark Schlereth: Giants
Seth Wickersham: Giants
Tom Jackson: Giants
Keyshawn Johnson: Giants
Mike Ditka: Giants
Cris Carter: Giants
To clinch the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens have to avoid becoming the first team to get swept by the Manning brothers in consecutive weeks.

Baltimore is the fourth team to face Peyton and Eli Manning in back-to-back games. In 2004, the Ravens routed Eli in his rookie season before losing to Peyton. In 2006, the Titans beat the Mannings in consecutive games, defeating them by a field goal each time. Then, a month ago, the Bengals lost to Peyton before beating Eli.

Eli Manning acknowledged he received some advice from his older brother after Peyton and the Broncos toppled the Ravens, 34-17, last Sunday.

“I talked to him a little bit and watched the game,” Eli Manning said during a conference call with Baltimore reporters. “Our offenses are a little different. I tried to just watch the game and see what they were doing and see how the defense played certain looks. So I talked to him a little bit, but it’s really going to be a matter of our own preparation and trying to understand what type of scheme we’re going to run against them.”

The Ravens have had much more trouble with Peyton than Eli. Peyton Manning is 7-2 against the Ravens in the regular season with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions (103.0 passer rating). Eli is 1-1 against Baltimore with one touchdown and three interceptions (32.6 rating).

Wrap-up: Bengals 31, Giants 13

November, 11, 2012
My thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals' 31-13 victory over the New York Giants at Paul Brown Stadium:

What it means: In their first win over a team with a winning record in more than a year, the Bengals (4-5) ended their four-game losing streak and keep their faint playoff hopes alive. They did so in impressive style against the reeling defending Super Bowl champion Giants (6-4). Cincinnati cracked 30 points for the first time since its Sept. 23 win at Washington. This was the Bengals' second win in five home games this season.

Dalton's streak ends: Andy Dalton's streak of eight straight games with an interception is over. He responded with a career-high four touchdowns, completing 21 of 30 passes for 199 yards. Dalton started off fast with 161 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.

Green's streak continues: Defenses can't keep A.J. Green out of the end zone. This time, the Giants made it easy on Green. Going uncovered (cornerback Corey Webster thought he had safety help deep), Green just had to wait for Dalton's pass to score a 56-yard touchdown. It's his eighth straight game with a touchdown catch. Only two players (Randy Moss and Antonio Gates) have had longer streaks over the past 10 seasons.

Defense stands tall: The NFL's 20th-ranked defense looked like a top-10 one. The Bengals sacked Eli Manning four times and forced four turnovers. Cincinnati had just 11 takeaways in its previous eight games.

Capitalizing on mistakes: The Bengals put the game away in the third quarter, when they scored 14 points off a pair of turnovers (they had three turnovers total in the quarter). Interceptions by Pat Sims and Nate Clements led to Dalton 10-yard touchdown passes to Jermaine Gresham and Mohamed Sanu.

What's next: The Bengals play at the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

ESPN experts predict Bengals-Giants

November, 10, 2012

In the video, Mark Schlereth and Herm Edwards make their predictions for the Giants at the Bengals.

Here's what the other ESPN experts are predicting:

Eric Allen: Giants
Mike Golic: Giants
Merril Hoge: Bengals
Ron Jaworski: Giants
Chris Mortensen: Giants
Adam Schefter: Giants
Mark Schlereth: Giants
Seth Wickersham: Giants
Tom Jackson: Giants
Keyshawn Johnson: Giants
Mike Ditka: Giants
Cris Carter: Giants

Countdown Live: Steelers-Giants

November, 4, 2012
Join our NFL experts as they break down the match up between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants.

Contribute your thoughts and questions beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET. See you there.

When evaluating the top quarterbacks of the 2004 draft, the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger has more wins and a better passer rating than Eli Manning. But Manning has thrown for more yards and touchdown passes than Roethlisberger.

So, who's better? Based on a SportsNation poll that drew 17,889 votes, the nod goes to Roethlisberger. He received 48 percent of the votes, and Manning took 38 percent (14 percent say it's too close to call).

Here are some selected comments from readers on this debate:

Josh from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: I am huge Pittsburgh fan (born there). I love Ben as our quarterback. A few years ago, I would have said Ben is hands down better than Eli. But Eli has improved quite a bit over the past few years. Now, I am not sure you can really say one is better than the other. They both have ice in their veins and get the job done when it matters most and the team needs them.

Jeb from Laurel, Md.: The best way to answer the question of Eli vs. Ben is to answer it with this question: Who would thrive more in the opposing offense? Ben makes his plays on the run and avoiding would-be tacklers with his agility and speed. Eli, not known to be a mobile quarterback, tends to make most of his passes from the pocket. If you switch these two, I honestly believe that Ben would thrive with a great offensive line and Eli would struggle to avoid tacklers with the porous offensive line in Pittsburgh.

Rich from Gloucester, N.J.: Eli is definitely the better quarterback. He is clutch. When the game is on the line, he is the man I want to be my quarterback. The Giants' run game and secondary has been a joke for years, almost non-existent. Ben Roethlisberger has had one of the best premier defenses behind him since he came into the league along with a great running game and offensive line. If you put Ben on the Giants, there is no way he does as well as he has been in his career. Eli is the better quarterback.

Andrew from Lima, Peru: Eli has absolutely become an amazing passer over the last couple years. But I have to take Big Ben on this debate. If we're talking about a career, and not just where they are now, you have to respect the 20-30 game-winning drives by Roethlisberger. In addition, Big Ben was lights-out from Day One, going undefeated as a rookie in 14 games. Eli is an excellent pocket passer, but get a hand on him and he'll go down. Ben throws 300-pound defensive ends off his back and gets a fresh set of downs. To me, I have to take the more dynamic, play-extending player over the traditional pocket man.

Chris from Grafton, Ohio: You have to pick Eli as better than Big Ben. The difference is that Eli has been more durable, plus he won his two titles himself. The first title Ben won was because of the zebras, his defense, and the Bus. If you recall that officiating crew was suspended due to their putrid performance at the Super Bowl. Have to give the elite quarterback edge to Eli.

Joe from Wheeling, W.Va.: Big Ben by a very small margin. If Ben had a better line the last five years, I think they would have three Super bowls instead of two. If Eli had that weak of a line, he would not have the stats or Super Bowls that he does. I think the 2008 Steelers were an elite defense with a top-tier QB, good receivers, average running backs, and possibly the worst offensive line to win the big game. I think a lot of people overlook this.

Eric from Pittsburgh: Ben has clearly been the superior of the two in terms of wins and post season success. Keep in mind that this debate only holds water because the Giants defense played well enough to hold Tom Brady in check, which allowed Eli a shot at those game winning drives in the first place. I don't pretend that Eli isn't a great, maybe even the greatest, fourth-quarter quarterback in the NFL today. But the truth is his entire legacy is built on those two drives, in games that were won on the defensive side of the ball. In Ben's first Super Bowl, the Steelers won in spite of him. In his return, it was quite the opposite, where he watched his top-ranked defense allow Larry Fitzgerald to run rampant through their secondary. When Eli's highlights come up, you know the Tyree/Manningham catches will a part of it. Ben is defined by so much more, and that is what separates the two.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has only been sacked four times in his past four games and didn't get sacked at all last Sunday against the Washington Redskins. Pittsburgh's improved pass protection isn't the result of better blocking, according to Giants defensive lineman Justin Tuck.

"I hope we get some holding calls because they have gotten away with murder," Tuck told ESPN's Rachel Nichols. "They've done a very good job protecting Ben -- they don't hold on every play. But we've seen a whole lot of it."

Protecting Roethlisberger is a major storyline for Sunday's game between the Steelers and Giants. Roethlisberger has only been sacked 13 times in seven games this season. Of the quarterbacks who have thrown at least 200 passes, only six quarterbacks have been sacked less than Roethlisberger.

The Steelers have decreased their sacks without an increase in penalties. The seven linemen who have started for the Steelers this season have been called for holding five times, and left guard Willie Colon has accounted for four of them.

The Steelers' problems on the road usually surface in the fourth quarter. This time, the difficulties have started long before kickoff.

Pittsburgh's game at the New York Giants has turned into a day trip as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The Steelers' hotel in Jersey City is without power and they can't find alternate lodging for the entire team, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette.

The disruption to the Steelers' travel plans has forced the team to fly to New York and back on the same day. This would have been a challenging itinerary if kickoff was at 1 p.m. But the 4:25 start time will allow the Steelers to take the short flight without getting up at the crack of dawn. Still, this is an unwanted distraction for a team that is 1-3 away from Heinz Field and has already lost to the likes of the Raiders and Titans on the road.