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TED SUNDQUIST’S WEEK ELEVEN SCOUTING REPORTS: RAVENS AT GIANTS

Posted by Mike Florio on November 15, 2008, 8:55 a.m.

 

[Editor’s note: Former Broncos G.M. Ted Sundquist looks at Sunday’s interconference showdown between Baltimore and the New York Giants.]

 

This could very well be the matchup of the season. Though Tennessee has an undefeated record, Baltimore shows me a bit more on defense and is geared towards the strength of the Giants offense — the rushing attack. The Ravens sit at 6-3, the result of a 3 game losing streak over a month ago that included two losses to Pittsburgh and Tennessee by a mere field goal. Since being blown out by Indianapolis, Baltimore has gone on a 4 game run to put them right back in the quest for the AFC North title.

 

The Giants have forged ahead off the confidence of last season’s Super Bowl upset of New England, sandwiching two month’s worth of wins around a single loss to Cleveland back in mid October.

 

New York takes a no-nonsense approach with a trident of RB’s averaging over 5 yards a carry, a trio of receivers with 30 catch production and a suffocating defense ranked 3rd overall and giving up under 265 yards per game. QB Eli Manning continues to efficiently lead his offense with 60% completions, 14 TD passes and an overall rating of 88.8.

 

Baltimore entered the season with a rookie QB, but a stifling defense of its own. The Ravens are 2nd in yards allowed (258.4), 1st vs the rush (65.4), 1st vs 3rd down conversions (30.7%), 1st vs “big plays 10+”, 3rd in 1st down efficiency, 3rd allowing runs of 10+, 1st allowing runs of 20+.

 

You get the picture.

 

Opponents are averaging a little over 16 points per game. This is some of the best that both the AFC & NFC have to offer in tough, hard nosed football. I expect the game to mirror both teams’ images.

 

The Giants have rushed for under 100 yards only once all season (83 vs PIT) and have tallied four 200+ games to their credit.

 

Don’t look for those type number vs the Ravens.

 

Ray Lewis and company haven’t surrendered a 100 yard game all year and rank 3rd in allowing runs of 4+ yards (32.5%). The Giants are 2nd in generating such with 48.1%. It would be unlike either club to abandon what got them to this point, so look for a major collision in NY’s rushing attack vs. the Baltimore run defense.

 

KEY #1 for the Giants will be the inside play of OC Shaun O’Hara & OG’s Rich Seubert and Chris Snee. These three will set the physical tone against NT Haloti Ngata & ILB’s Ray Lewis and Bart Scott. Seubert & Snee will have their hands full working to 2nd level, engaging & sustaining on Lewis and Scott. Against Pittsburgh’s version of the 3-4 the Giants struggled to control ILB James Farrior & NT Casey Hampton as the two combined for 17 tackles, with ILB Larry Foote adding 4 more of his own.

 

Certainly New York would like to stick with its usual game plan of some 55% run on first down & help elude some of the pressure of the Raven pass rush with play calling flexibility on 2nd & 3rd.

 

New York is just as stingy vs. the run as the Ravens. The Giants limit opponents to a League low rushing efficiency on 1st down. On the season they’ve surrendered about 87 yards per game and have only been hit for 100+ three times (102, 144 & 106).

 

Baltimore may be without their leading receiver Derrick Mason, who is nursing a shoulder injury & will be a game time decision. That leaves Flacco with primarily short range options on all passing downs & the Giant defense will be pulled up & geared to stop the run.

 

Thus, KEY #2 is New York’s own ability to limit the running game of the Ravens. Baltimore is almost 67% rush on 1st down, averaging 4.01 per carry. No team runs at a higher rate per game (56.7%). This has been the historic nature of the Ravens, but is also key to protecting their young QB from having to shoulder too much of a down field load.

 

Baltimore is 27th in passing first downs, 28th in net yards passing, 25th with completions of 4+ on 1st down, 29th on 3rd & medium (4-6 yds). Flacco is throwing with a rating of 78.74 (21st) in the face of blitz. Shutting down the ground game will be the “genesis” to creating a pass rush (ranked 3rd [30 sacks]) bent on harassing the rookie into some mistakes (7 interceptions & 17 sacks).

 

If Mason can’t go, the Ravens are in a bind. Baltimore will find things equally tough moving the ball on the ground (KEY #2 above). Without the luxury of a downfield threat, the Ravens will need to turn to the outlet routes with RB’s Willis McGahee & Ray Rice, as well as FB Le’Ron McClain. Look for the receiving production of these three as KEY #3 for Baltimore.

 

The Ravens might utilize the screen to slow down the oncoming rush of New York. Baltimore ranks 2nd in the NFL (averaging 8.69 yards) in attacking the short middle 1/3 of the field, 7th (7.07 yards) to their left 1/3. Surprisingly, their overall average on both run & pass (1st & 10) is 5.71 yards. Flacco will need some of this short passing production to manage the back side of a series.

 

Certainly the Ravens understand they must stop the run. It’s the strength of their opponent (NYG) and they have been extremely successful in doing just that for nine weeks (1st on 1st down 2.84 per & 1st overall 65.4 yards/game). KEY #4 will be stopping the trio of Steve Smith, Plaxico Burress & Amani Toomer.

 

Manning does a solid job in spreading the ball around to these three and each is capable of having a “big game” if left unattended. CB Samari Rolle has nursed a neck injury this week and both Fabian Washington & Frank Walker will be called upon heavily to shut down the Giant receivers.

 

In addition the inherent pressure generated by the Raven defense will play key in helping out their secondary. Manning is 30th in passer rating in the face of the blitz (56.56). Though he takes few sacks (11 this season) he can be flustered into mistakes and will hurry his throws. Baltimore has 14 picks on the season and will drop coverage from all over with their front 7 to confuse & disguise.

 

But where they’ve been suspect is downfield. Opposing QB’s are passing at 107.7 on throws of 21+ “air yards” and they’ve given up 25 passes of 20+. With a nicked up secondary, look for Manning to stretch the Ravens a bit more than usual.

 

KEY #5 is Baltimore’s Matt Stover. In a close game for all the reasons discussed above, points will be at a premium. Stover has hit on only 2 of 6 field goals beyond 40 yards (which might create further opportunities for rookie Steve Hauschka, who nailed a 54-yarder last week in his debut). The Giants sit #2 in the NFL in red zone drives allowed (19). Despite the point totals put up over the past month, this is not the defense of their previous four opponents. Baltimore must take advantage of every scoring opportunity it can create, including long “3’s” from Stover or the rookie.

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YEs,, great in depth!!! or he could be pulling #'s outta his ass. as we're all too lazy to look at it ourselves. anyway, does Frank Walker used to play for us??. that name rings a bill...

 

 

anyways, i'm heading to the game tomorrow guys!!!!! let's go BLUE!!!!

 

 

Frank Walker

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I am not impressed by the Ravens. And some of our low run numbers can be attributed to Gilbride's ignoring of the ground game at critical points. Pittsburgh had a far better defense than the Dirty Birds and I am looking for a good game on both sides of the ball for us.

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This is going to be an old school football game... The tougher team on the field is going to win. It is time for the O-line to earn the credit people have been giving it so far. I know Ray Lewis is an all word tough guy and fantastic tackler, but if he is making a lot of tackles in the second level of the defense the Giants will grind out a victory. If he is able to make contact with the RB's at or behind the line of scrimmage this will be a long day for BJ and the boys..

 

One thing that this article does not show that was pointed out on NFC Playbook, is that the Ravens secondary is suspect to the big play, especially if they are committing a safety to stuff the run.

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YEs,, great in depth!!! or he could be pulling #'s outta his ass. as we're all too lazy to look at it ourselves. anyway, does Frank Walker used to play for us??. that name rings a bill...

 

 

anyways, i'm heading to the game tomorrow guys!!!!! let's go BLUE!!!!

 

If it's the same Frank Walker, then yea.

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This is going to be an old school football game... The tougher team on the field is going to win. It is time for the O-line to earn the credit people have been giving it so far. I know Ray Lewis is an all word tough guy and fantastic tackler, but if he is making a lot of tackles in the second level of the defense the Giants will grind out a victory. If he is able to make contact with the RB's at or behind the line of scrimmage this will be a long day for BJ and the boys..

 

One thing that this article does not show that was pointed out on NFC Playbook, is that the Ravens secondary is suspect to the big play, especially if they are committing a safety to stuff the run.

 

Boss or Hedgecock should be seeking Ray Lewis and neutralize him before he gets to the RB.

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Ray Lewis, the king of making tackles 7 yards down the line of scrimmage and

then acting like a 9 year old.

 

To his credit, he's matured a great deal since that dreaded Super Bowl. He sounds a lot more grounded than before.

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To his credit, he's matured a great deal since that dreaded Super Bowl. He sounds a lot more grounded than before.

 

 

I still think he's a giant douche though. And what I said has nothing to do with him being mature,

no one should be pumping their chest after making a tackle 7 yards down the line of scrimmage,

that's just idiotic.

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I still think he's a giant douche though. And what I said has nothing to do with him being mature,

no one should be pumping their chest after making a tackle 7 yards down the line of scrimmage,

that's just idiotic.

 

And yet I remember a time when the Giants did that....

 

or that stupid fucking jump shot when we sacked a QB and we were losing.

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I still think he's a giant douche though. And what I said has nothing to do with him being mature,

no one should be pumping their chest after making a tackle 7 yards down the line of scrimmage,

that's just idiotic.

 

He really doesn't do that.

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Sorry for disputing stupid criticisms against a pretty great player. He's a douche for being emotional during the game, and I'm a dick for acknowledging that even after a game where he and his crew of flunkies were supremely outclassed.

 

Next week: Golfer calls Kurt Warner a "douche" for praising Jesus after 5-yard completions.

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Sorry for disputing stupid criticisms against a pretty great player. He's a douche for being emotional during the game, and I'm a dick for acknowledging that even after a game where he and his crew of flunkies were supremely outclassed.

 

Next week: Golfer calls Kurt Warner a "douche" for praising Jesus after 5-yard completions.

 

 

Don't you personally think it's a little silly to be celebrating something your paid to do anyway?

 

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Don't you personally think it's a little silly to be celebrating something your paid to do anyway?

 

Not when you're paid to play a game. I don't think it's silly that Ray Lewis pumps his fist after a great play. He's hardly the worst offender in that department, either -- there are guys on the Giants that are more demonstrative. I don't think Chad Johnon or Terrell Owens are silly. I certainly don't think Jose Reyes and his neo-generation celebratory choreography are silly. It's a game, guys are having fun, and ultimately it's entertainment.

 

I think it's equally ridiculous that Jake Locker gets flagged for tossing the ball upwards after a TD in the final seconds against BYU. It sucks that college players can't -- god forbid -- spike the ball. That would tarnish the integirty and sportsmanship of such an exemplary organization in the NCAA.

 

In the end, it's emotional human beings playing an exciting game, not automatons collecting a paycheck.

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Not when you're paid to play a game. I don't think it's silly that Ray Lewis pumps his fist after a great play. He's hardly the worst offender in that department, either -- there are guys on the Giants that are more demonstrative. I don't think Chad Johnon or Terrell Owens are silly. I certainly don't think Jose Reyes and his neo-generation celebratory choreography are silly. It's a game, guys are having fun, and ultimately it's entertainment.

 

I think it's equally ridiculous that Jake Locker gets flagged for tossing the ball upwards after a TD in the final seconds against BYU. It sucks that college players can't -- god forbid -- spike the ball. That would tarnish the integirty and sportsmanship of such an exemplary organization in the NCAA.

 

In the end, it's emotional human beings playing an exciting game, not automatons collecting a paycheck.

 

 

Laron McClain dancing in the end zone with his team down by 10 points is pretty ridiculous, no matter which way you scratch it.

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Laron McClain dancing in the end zone with his team down by 10 points is pretty ridiculous, no matter which way you scratch it.

 

Eh, they still had a strong opportunity to make it a contest. I wouldn't classify it with T.J. Duckett's antics after reducing a deficit from 38-3 to 38-10.

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Eh, they still had a strong opportunity to make it a contest. I wouldn't classify it with T.J. Duckett's antics after reducing a deficit from 38-3 to 38-10.

 

 

They had a strong opportunity to make it a contest at kickoff, didn't see him dancing then. It was stupid, they were down 2 scores.

 

Well as we all know, TJ Duckett has been a raving success in the NFL.

 

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Chad Johnson isn't silly?

Hiding props in the endzone, dying your hair, changing your name, all of that crap just childish antics to garner attention to himself in a team sport. Doesn't get more silly in the nfl.

 

 

Yes, but Chad has earned that right through his wonderful play this yea...... oh wait.

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