Saturday, December 22, 2012

NFL Predictions 2012 Week 16: Giants vs Ravens

New York Giants vs Baltimore Ravens: NYG -2.5 (Pinnacle)

Markets

Amazingly, the Ravens opened as -1 point favorites this week.  In the look-ahead line prior to Week 15, the Ravens were -1.5 point favorites.  Huh?  It didn't take long until money pounded this number into shape.  At some square shops the Giants are full field goal favorites, but at most places we can still get the Giants at -2.5.  Go ahead and bet this number.  Despite the line movement, anything under -3 has value.

Lesser of Two Evils

I can't possibly make a strong case for the Giants against anybody right now because they are not resembling the championship form from a year ago.  As the year has gone on, they've continued to be their usual inconsistent selves.

That said, I trust them a lot more than I trust the Ravens. In what could have been a panic move, they placed Jim Caldwell as offensive coordinator.  I didn't understand this move at all since he's never had experience doing this at the pro level. In Indy, it was the Peyton Manning/Tom Moore show.  We all saw how it worked out vs the Broncos last week.

On the other side of the ball the Ravens are just as bad.  The most telling sign of their decline comes in the make or break moments.  For most of the year they were a bend-but-don't-break unit ranking quite high on third down and inside the red zone. They've lost three straight games and their placement in the key categories continues to plummet.

Can they establish the running game?  Can they stop Victor Cruz?  Limit the Flacco turnovers?

Bottom Line

The Giants certainly have their own issues - primarily an underachieving pass rush, but this is more of a fade of the Ravens than anything else.  If the Giants identity rings true to form, they'll rise up and play a strong road game when it's needed most.  The leadership and character is there, it's just a matter of executing vs a sinking ship.

NFL Pick: NYG -2.5.