Q: Although you guys have already clinched a playoff spot, when you face a team like the Giants, who are coming off a tough loss and in a must-win situation, do you have to remind your players about the urgency that the opponent has?
A: No. I think we understand what’s at stake. Our guys are excited to play. We have plenty to play for. We’re trying to play for a division championship.
Q: What’s the latest with Ray Lewis?
A: Nothing has changed with Ray.
Q: What would it do for the guys if he was able to play this weekend?
A: I haven’t thought about that. I’m just thinking about getting our team ready for the Giants right now and being the best we can be. Obviously, Ray is preparing, he’s been preparing for the last couple weeks. We’ll just have to see.
Q: How important is it to the running game to get Ray Rice more carries?
A: Well, that connection gets made all the time, but it depends on the game situation. He got the ball a lot in the first half and we weren’t gaining too many yards. It depends on how the running game is going and how the game is going. When you’re behind, it’s pretty hard to keep handing it off back there.
Q: How big of a threat is Ray Rice out of the backfield with his ability to catch the ball?
A: Yeah, Ray is definitely a complete back. That’s the thing that you hear all of our opponents talk about: the fact that you have to defend him pretty much all over the field. He’s obviously a ball carrier, he can also line up anywhere and catch the ball coming out of the backfield, whether it’s check-downs or screens or routes. Then, he lines up in our empty stuff out there and runs routes and he’s a guy you can’t just dismiss in coverage. You have to cover him. He’s had a number of fourth down conversion-catches for us over the years and things like that. I think back to the San Diego game, that was a pretty important one. He’s a threat, there’s no question.
Q: How are Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones?
A: How are they? They’re fine, they’re doing good.
Q: In terms of injury:
A: Oh the injuries? (laughs) Really, you think I’m going to get into that?
Q: Most teams that go deep in the playoffs are riding a streak heading into January. How important is this game to get the run going?
A: Well, if you look at the Giants and the Packers the last couple years, they’re great examples of that. You do want to build momentum and you want to be your best at the end of the year. You want to build towards that and peak at the right time. That’s what we’re really hoping to do. We won a lot of games early, which really helped us. We had some injuries recently, which hurt us; we lost some tight games in overtime that could’ve gone the other way in a heartbeat. We have to become the best team we can be over the next couple weeks.
Q: Flacco said that the team has a feeling that they have a much worse record than they do. What did you tell the team to change that mindset?
A: I think our guys have a lot of pride in the success over the years and our expectations are very high, just like they are up there, so that’s what they’re talking about. We don’t like ever losing any games. So we need to go to work and get the job done.
Q: The Giants have struggled against the run this season. As you prepare this week, is there a common thread in the games that they’ve struggled in?
A: Well, there might be, but we wouldn’t be sharing it publically – A and B – we have a lot of respect for their team and their defense. They’re leading the league or right near the top in takeaways. They do a great job in the red zone. They do a great job on the goal line. Those are the things that probably mean the most because they’re ninth in the league in scoring defense. So what’s the issue? The issue is points and that’s what they’ve done a great job with.
Q: Is there still a fear factor involved with their pass rush?
A: I wouldn’t use that word. We respect them. We think they’re very good. They’ve got a great front and I think their secondary is playing exceptionally well. Linebackers are athletic. But that front… Every one of those guys can rush. They line them up in different spots. Everyone on your line has to be prepared for every guy and they all have kind of an array of moves. They’ve done a great job coaching those guys over the years. I just think it’s a very formidable group.