Just like the Jets facing the Patriots on Thursday night, the Giants cruised to a comfortable first half lead against the Ravens this afternoon, but unlike their AFC counterparts, the NFC's New York team was able to put Baltimore away after intermission. The Giants opened a 20-0 lead, the Ravens scored 10 unanswered points, and then, with 20 seconds left in the third quarter, cornerback Aaron Ross intercepted a Joe Flacco tipped pass and 50 yards later he was dancing in the end zone. On the very next possession, Ahmad Bradshaw busted out a 77-yard run down to the Ravens one-yard line, and despite 13 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the contest had virtually been decided.
Baltimore's defense, one of the most menacing in the league, allowed just 65 rushing yards per game coming into today. Brandon Jacobs had 72 after the second series, including a 36-yard rip, and two touchdowns. Derrick Ward added 37 more and New York had 112 yards on the ground through the first 30 minutes.
The Giants' offensive line, as has been the case all season, gave Eli Manning plenty of time in the pocket. Save one first half sack and one "hey, that looks like 2004 Eli!" interception with the Giants driving, Manning was his usual, efficient self.
The Ravens' offense, which has benefited from the success of its high-pressure defense, was uneven through the first 30 minutes. Rookie quarterback Joe Flacco was relegated to short passes and flushed-out-of-the-pocket runs, and the few times he attempted to go down the field, he was often off target. Baltimore's success is contingent on a sound running game that sets up the play-action pass, as well as a stifling defense. When they all behind early, as they did in the Meadowlands today, winning becomes much tougher. At least when the Browns aren't the opponent.
The Giants now move to 9-1 and maintain their comfortable lead in the NFC East. Depending on how the rest of today's games play out, New York will have no worse than a two-game lead in the division. Not too shabby heading into Week 12 with just three NFC East games left on the schedule.