The New York Giants are in freefall.
Early victories over the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints feel like a distant memory for Big Blue, which lost its third in a row with last Sunday night’s 23-16 defeat on the road against the Green Bay Packers. That leaves the Giants as the only team under .500 in the NFC East.
At least the G-Men’s opponents for Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium, the Baltimore Ravens, have their own issues. After starting 3-0, they’ve lost two in a row and just fired offensive coordinator Marc Trestman.
Here are three keys to the matchup as each team looks to snap its losing skid.
Eli Manning has not been getting the job done for the Giants this season, especially over the last two losses.
The two-time Super Bowl champion is completing 53.8% of his passes over the recent stretch. And since Week 1’s gutsy win over Dallas in which Manning tossed three touchdowns and one interception, the quarterback has two TDs and three interceptions.
Manning’s job won’t be any easier this weekend. Baltimore is among the leaders in defending the pass and has six interceptions as a team this season.
The Ravens’ former champion quarterback has his own issues this season. With five TDs and four picks, Joe Flacco isn’t lighting up opposing secondaries. With him under center, Baltimore also ranks last in the league in yards per pass attempt.
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins, the Giants’ pricey offseason acquisition, had a breakout performance in last week’s loss with two interceptions and three passes defended. It was the type of game that could spark his season and lead to trouble for Flacco.
Even if the Giants hold Baltimore’s passing game in check, they must beware of emerging running back Terrance West.
The 25-year-old is hitting his stride in his fourth season as the lead dog in the Ravens’ ground attack. He’s averaging 5.0 yards per carry this season, and he gained 253 yards over the last three weeks.
Big Blue is among the leaders in suffing the run on a per-carry basic, ranking fifth by allowing just 3.5 ypc. If they slow down West, they should be in good shape.