The 9-5 Baltimore Ravens are set to take on the 5-9 New York Giants on Sunday, and this is really a matchup that raises some tough questions on both sides. For the Baltimore Ravens, it’s all about whether they have what it takes to earn a playoff spot in the wildcard picture. As for the New York Giants, however, it’s about whether they can make a playoff case of their own.
Both teams would be on the outside looking in if the playoffs started today, which is why Sunday’s game will be one of the most important of the season. Now, it’s obvious that the Ravens have the better chance of making the playoffs, especially with a 9-5 record, but the Giants are in contention for The NFC East division title.
In fact, according to the New York Times simulation, the Giants have a 72% of making the playoffs if they defeat the Ravens. If the Giants do end up losing Sunday’s game, they will drop to a 7% chance of making the playoffs. Defeating the Cowboys in the final week of the season will only move that total up to 13% making this game critical for the struggling Giants.
The Baltimore Ravens are on a 3-game winning streak, including a 34-17 victory over the Cowboys, a 47-42 shootout with the Browns, and a 40-14 victory over Jacksonville. While their only notable win in that series was their victory over the Browns, the games proved that the Ravens could hold their own against a variety of different teams.
As for the New York Giants, they are 1-2 in their last 3 games but defeated the 8-4 Seahawks 17-12. They then went on to lose 26-7 to the Cardinals and 20-6 to the Browns, which has put them in a bit of a skid. Unfortunately for the Giants, this skid could cost them a playoff spot if they don’t find a way to knock off the Ravens on Sunday.
A big part of this skid though is Giants’ star Quarterback, Daniel Jones, going down with a hamstring injury. This put Colt McCoy in the lead role, which forced the Giants into making a lot of changes to the offense. While McCoy has done a decent job in the role, even helping defeat the Seahawks, he has also struggled. In fact, the team had a combined total of 13 points in their last two games.
Looking further into McCoy’s stats, and he has only thrown 1 touchdown and 1 interception in the last 3 games. Not only does that show how hard it is for this team to generate offense under McCoy, but it also gives fans an idea of how badly they could get beat by the Ravens. In all honesty, the only thing that could save the Giants at this point is getting Jones back.
And then there’s the Baltimore Ravens, who have a much easier time moving the ball, and finally, seem to be back in championship form. Of course, some fans are going to argue that their second loss to the Steelers sealed their fate, but Lamar Jackson has really stepped up since then. He has even thrown 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in 3 games, meaning he is getting his turnover problem under control
Finally, if you look at both teams’ numbers on offense, The Ravens outscore the Giants 405.7 to 271.3 on a 3-game average. That means you almost have to double the Giant’s numbers just to reach where the Ravens are. That guarantees the Giants are going to have a tough time beating the Ravens on Sunday and should be avoided by gamblers at all costs.
Odds from FanDuel as of Saturday, December 26 (12:40 pm ET)
The Baltimore Ravens sit at –460 to win on Sunday over the New York Giants, who are listed at +360. Maybe take the latter if Jones ends up starting for the Giants but avoid at all costs otherwise. As for the spread, the Ravens are listed as the 9.5 favorites to defeat New York and keep their losing streak going. Again, that might be different if Jones starts, but who knows if he will after 2 days of light practice.
The over/under currently stands at 44.5 and could be a fun way to get in on the action without blowing your money. The current odds of the over/under list over at –105 and under at –115. It should come as no surprise that 72 % of gamblers on Fanduel.com are putting money on the Ravens to win and knock the Giants out of the playoffs. 28% of gamblers are behind the Giants though, who could pull off a surprise.
It all comes down to whether Daniel Jones plays or not. If he does, expect him to stand a better chance at beating the Ravens than Colt McCoy. It might even be worth wagering some money on if you want to live dangerously. Just remember that Jones only gives them a slightly better chance at winning the game, but it will really all come down to who can produce key stops on defense.
If nothing else, this game will be a battle of wills. Do the Ravens have the will to make the playoffs? Does Lamar Jackson have the will inside of him to prove that he is truly elite? What about Colt McCoy and the Giants? Do they have what it takes to defeat one of the better teams in the league? and crawl closer to a playoff spot. What if Daniel Jones plays? Does that change the game for The Giants and give them a chance at the postseason?