Brian Billick, others weigh in on Ravens-Giants matchup and more
Desperate for a victory, the reeling defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants come to town today having lost four of their past six games.

Defeating the Ravens is paramount for a Giants squad that was blown out by the Atlanta Falcons a week ago.

"Obviously, it's an interesting matchup," FOX analyst and former Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "Both teams have interesting styles. The Giants have always prided themselves on putting pressure on the quarterback. They've been challenged of late. If the Giants can't put pressure on Joe Flacco with a four-man rush, it could be tough for them out there."

A year ago, the Giants were 7-7 at this stage of the season.

Then, they caught fire by winning their final two games to win the NFC East crown and won four games in the playoffs as coach Tom Coughlin won another Super Bowl.

A week ago, though, the Falcons routed New York, 34-0.

And quarterback Eli Manning has been up and down with five touchdowns on the roadand six interceptions.

"Eli's inconsistent, he's all over the place as far as performance," said former Jacksonville Jaguars All-Pro offensive tackle Tony Boselli, a national radio analyst for Dial Global. "It's feast or famine. It's a little bit surprising. He's one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Typically, you don't see that from that level of player."

Manning registered a 38.9 quarterback rating at the Georgia Dome, but was outstanding in tough games against the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints.

"His supporting cast hasn't been as good on third down and they haven't generated as many big plays," Billick said. "Last year, they got hot at the right time and won the Super Bowl. Now, they're a little over .500 team that's battling. The Giants haven't had a lot of success against the Ravens, so it will be interesting to see that mindset."

Former Washington Redskins safety Matt Bowen said teams are trying to take away wide receiver Victor Cruz, Manning's favorite target.

"That's how you stop Eli," said Bowen, an analyst for National Football Post. "Victor Cruz is great with elite lateral ability to change direction on an option route. You have to bracket him in the red zone and walk the safety down with a slice call to take away inside breaking routes."

The Ravens have yet to activate middle linebacker Ray Lewis from the injured reserve-designated to return list as he continues to try to strengthen his surgically repaired right triceps and return for the playoffs.

"You'll go broke betting against Ray Lewis," Billick said. "If it's at all humanly possible, he's going to be back. If you can just be in the playoffs, maybe you can be rejuvenated and get on a roll. This is capable of that, and Ray recognizes that and wants to a part of it."

Mired in a three-game losing streak, the Ravens are searching for answers to their late-season freefall.

Billick said it's important that the Ravens tweak things, but mostly stay the course.

"You're going to identify the reasons you lost, but you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater," Billick said. "The firing of Cam Cameron was certainly an indicator that they obviously felt they had to do something and make a big change."

The firing of Cameron and replacing him with quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell has thrust more pressure on quarterback Joe Flacco, who has six turnovers in the past three games.

The Ravens have a big decision to make with Flacco after the season when his original rookie contract expires.