New York Giants (8-8 in 2006) +3, o/u 33 at Baltimore Ravens (13-3 in ’06), 8 pm Eastern Sunday, NBC
by Predictem.com Staff
It’s not quite a rematch of Super Bowl 35, but it is the New York Giants and the Baltimore Ravens in an NFL exhibition season version of Sunday Night Football on NBC.
Both teams have played one exhibition game so far this summer; New York lost 24-21 at home to the Carolina Panthers last Saturday, and Baltimore trounced a depleted Philadelphia Eagles team 29-3 Monday night.
The Giants, now playing without both RB Tiki Barber, who retired during the off-season, and FB Jim Finn, who’s already out for the season with a shoulder injury, outrushed Carolina 156-154 Saturday. And back-up QBs Jared Lorenzen and Anthony Wright combined to go 11-of-24 passing for 124 yards and a touchdown. But the New York defense, still without holdout DE Michael Strahan, gave up two big play passing TDs.
Baltimore out-first downed Philly 23-11 Monday night and outrushed the Eagles 157-23. Also, their back-up QB contingent of Drew Olson, Kyle Boller and Troy Smith combined to go 17-of-32 for 158 yards and two TDs, and 39-year-old kicker Matt Stover booted five FGs, including two from 50 yards.
Interestingly, the usually run-oriented Ravens threw the ball 40 times against Philadelphia, and ran it just 32 times.
Just as a reminder, New York went 8-8 last year and somehow claimed an NFC wild-card berth. They then lost at Philadelphia 23-20 in the first round of the playoffs.
On the other side, Baltimore won the AFC North last year with a 13-3 record, then got beat in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs at home by the eventual Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts 15-6.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin, including his tenure as head man with the Jacksonville Jaguars, is 28-17 in his career in NFL pre-season games. His teams are 25-19-1 against the spread in those games, and the o/u has gone 26-19.
The Ravens are 18-13 straight up and 16-15 ATS during exhibition play under coach Brian Billick, with the o/u going 11-16.
The Giants beat Baltimore during the pre-season last year 17-16. But the Ravens beat New York the last time these two teams played a game that actually mattered, 37-14 in December of 2004.
The Predictem.com Pick: Take the New York Giants at +3.5. This line may very well move to 3, hurry and get it while you can still get the hook! (half point)