Ravens face Giants after changing offensive coordinators
BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens hope to get their new-look offense on track against the struggling New York Giants, who have lost three straight and are in last place in the NFC East.
Baltimore, which has also lost its past two games, fired offensive coordinator Marc Trestman less than 24 hours after falling 16-10 to the Washington Redskins. The Ravens replaced Trestman with quarterbacks coach Marty Mornhinweg and expect to have a more balanced attack against New York.
The game is a rematch of Super Bowl XXXV when Baltimore ran away with its first championship, 34-7. This time, both teams are simply trying to keep their playoff hopes alive.
“We are itching for a 'W.' When you lose, everything is bad,” Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “You can fill in the blanks. The food is bad; everything is bad. We need to get a 'W,' and we need one now. They are coming off two (three) losses, too. There is only going to be one winner come Sunday, and we want it to be us.”
Giants quarterback Eli Manning has struggled in three meetings with the Ravens, throwing for 330 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. He will face an aggressive Ravens pass rush that will try to force him out of the pocket.
“They have played great defense all year,” Manning said of the Ravens. “Not many teams are scoring a lot of points on them. Every game they have played has been a tight game and a close game. They do a great job on third down getting teams off the field.
“They're talented up front, and they do a good job getting pressure and stopping the run. We have to be balanced and find ways to move the chains, get first downs and stay in good down and distance.”
New York has the league's 15th-ranked offense and Manning will look to get wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. involved early in his matchup with Baltimore cornerback Jimmy Smith.
“He's one of the most gifted players in the league,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “We have to know where No. 13 is at all the time.”
Meanwhile, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and the rest of the offense are trying to emerge from an early season slump. Baltimore expected to have a quick-strike attack capable of putting points on the board in a variety of ways. So far, Baltimore has managed the league's No. 18 overall offense and is averaging 18.8 points per game.
Flacco has thrown more passes (216) than any other quarterback in the NFL. The Ravens have only run the ball 121 times for 495 yards with three touchdowns, which has put more pressure on Flacco.
This lack of balance was one of main reasons for the change at offensive coordinator.
Mornhinweg is expected to give running backs Terrance West, Kenneth Dixon and Buck Allen more carries in this game. The Ravens, however, will also take some shots downfield. New York is ranked last in the NFL with just four sacks, so Flacco should have time to throw.
“We will probably be a little more confident going forward and be shoring things up — doing what we do best,” Flacco said after Wednesday's practice in pads. “(We will) try to stretch the field a little bit more and things like that.”
New York coach Ben McAdoo said the pressure is mounting to turn things around, starting this week against Baltimore.
The Giants are also hoping for their offense to make strides this week. Running back Rashad Jennings (thumb) is getting closer to rejoining the lineup.
“We have a sense of urgency,” McAdoo said. “I'd like to think we have one each and every week. Coming off of this little down slide we're having … we're in a valley right now, and we need to climb out. This will be a great test for us.”
The Ravens lead the series 3-1. The Giants beat visiting Baltimore 30-10 on Nov. 16, 2008, for their sole victory in the series.