As we know, week 3 pre-season games are typically a teams only real tune up heading into the regular season. Many starters will participate for at least a half, if not three quarters of the game. It is a team’s chance to fine tune things, build game stamina and hopefully establish consistency and tempo in all three phases. This is no different for the Ravens as they take on the New York Giants at M&T Bank Stadium. This game is an opportunity for the offense to build continuity and the defense to up their level of physical play. Here are the things to watch for against the Giants.
1. Long drives and big plays on offense: Not saying this is guaranteed to happen, but this is what we are expecting of the Ravens offense in 2010. At times in the pre-season, the 1st team offense has looked crisp, but overall they have lacked the rhythm that we have expected to see out of them. It is early but penalties and turnovers have stalled some drives and limited the 1st teams ability to put together crisp drives. There also has been little in the way of big plays on offense. The weapons to open up the passing game are supposedly in place. Will we begin to see bigger plays against a Giants defense that is looking to bounce back after a disappointing season.
2. The offensive line to build on their last performance: The Ravens line did not allow a sack to the Washington Redskins last week. The Giants are known for their ability to rush the passer, maybe not as much as in recent years, but this will be a big test for the Ravens. A big part of keeping drives alive and ultimately scoring is keeping tor passer upright. Will this unit continue to gel and will Tony Moll take advantage of the opportunity created by injury and show the Ravens coaches he can handle the job at right tackle?
3. Secondary play: The Ravens will have two goals for Saturday night. Tighten the pass coverage and keep the DB’s healthy. In order to really improve against the pass the Ravens willnot only need the secondary to step up, but the linebackers as well. Ravens LB’s had a rough time chasing the Redskins tight ends and runnig backs last week. Will a veteran like Eli Manning pick a part the vulnerable pass defense? Or will the Ravens defense benefit from having the starters play deeper into the game?
4. How to Make Eli bleed: I am not endorsing seeing Eli Manning suffer another bloody injury. But I am looking froward to seeing the Ravens get pressure on an opposing QB. The Ravens were able to bring solid pressure against eh Redskins line and Donovan McNabb. McNabb was also able to keep multiple plays alive with his feet and complete some big passes on 3rd down. Manning is not nearly as mobile as Manning, but the Giants line is better than the ‘Skins. Which unit will win out? If the Ravens pressure Manning, it will be a strong performance for the Ravens D, and the secondary will look much stronger.