The New York Giants find themselves playing a must-win game in Week 6. A loss would leave a dark mark on a season that began with great promise. It has become almost an annual tradition now for the Giants to suffer through a long losing streak. The Giants lost six of the last seven last season and suffered through six-game losing streaks in 2013 and 2014. Below I preview the keys to their match-up against the Baltimore Ravens, and how they can avoid another downward spiral.
Giants Defensive Line
First and foremost, the prime time players need to come to play. Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul have combined for two sacks through five games. That is not good enough for two players making a combined $22.4 million this season. Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley has been out the last two games with an injury so the Giants tandem should be able to capitalize. If the starters continue to struggle to get to the quarterback, it might be time to get Owa Obdighizuwa in the rotation.
Giants Tackles vs. Ravens Edge Rushers
Shaky line play, specifically from the tackles, was clearly the difference in last week’s loss to the Green Bay Packers. Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart have drawn the most ire, as some have called for a change in the starting lineup. They will need to step up as they face a daunting opposition. On the opposite side, Baltimore has two veteran edge rushers in Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil. Suggs is having a solid year, raking up four sacks, and while Dumervil is off to a slow start, he is not someone the Giants can afford to forget about. Guard Justin Pugh summed it up best when he told the NY Post, “We’ve got to keep Eli upright and give him time.” He is 100 percent correct because the season might just slip away otherwise.
Can Eli Elevate?
Eli Manning has owned up to his lackluster performance, saying he “needs to make better decisions”, according to the New York Post on Oct. 11, 2016. After five games, Manning’s stats are rather mediocre, with five touchdowns and four picks. Having a career-high in completion percentage is great, but only if it is leading to points. That has not been the case thus far, and Manning now must face a defense that ranks fifth in Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA), according to Football Outsiders. The Giants need the “Elite Eli” to come through this week, as the team struggles with injuries in the backfield in and the secondary. I believe he will.