Saturday, December 22, 2012
Coach's decision: Run or pass?
By Matt Ehalt
This isn't the Baltimore defense of the past.
Entering Sunday, Baltimore is ranked 26th in yards allowed per game, 22nd in passing yards allowed and 26th in rushing yards. Injuries are a main reason why the Ravens have struggled, but the team still has plenty of solid players on defense that haven't played up to par.
Coming off a 34-0 loss, the Giants offense should be looking for a bounce-back game. The offense has been hit or miss down the stretch, alternating between good and bad weeks. In the last four weeks, the Giants have scored zero, 52, 16 and 38 points. Going by that, the Giants should put up points Sunday.
The big decision will be whether to try to beat the Ravens through the passing game or to try and get the running game going. Baltimore is susceptible to both, and obviously a balanced game is desired, but it seems the Giants tend to have success in just one area.
Running the ball could be a problem this week depending on the health of Ahmad Bradshaw. The veteran is working his way back from a knee sprain and might not be able to shoulder the full load. While David Wilson showed he can run the ball with no problem, the Giants coaching staff still does not fully trust him -- evident in last week's loss when he only received 12 carries despite being the start.
In the passing game, it just hasn't clicked this year. Manning is having a down year after having the best of his career, with just 20 touchdowns through 14 games. In his last four road games, Manning has just one touchdown pass. The Giants just have not been able to get it going on the road in the air.
It also doesn't help that Hakeem Nicks' injuries have slowed him down, and while Victor Cruz has had a great season overall, in the six games of the second half he has just 25 catches for 369 yards and two scores. In the first eight games, Cruz had 54 catches for 650 yards and seven scores. Teams have found ways to limit the damage those two have done down the backstretch.
Baltimore can be scored upon and the Giants are going to need some points to win Sunday. The question is whether they get it done with their passing offense or the rushing offense.