The New York Giants are facing a must-win situation on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens and may get some help from two veteran players who missed practice time this week.
Both running back Ahmad Bradshaw and defensive end Justin Tuck are questionable for the game, but traveled with the team to Baltimore, according to ESPN.com.
Tuck is dealing with a shoulder injury and did not practice this week, while Bradshaw has a knee injury that kept him on the sidelines for last Sunday's loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
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Bradshaw practiced on a limited basis on Friday after missing time during the week and appears ready to start against the Ravens. The fact that both players are traveling with the team is a good sign that they will play.
Tuck has been slowed by injuries this season and only has 3.0 sacks and 43 tackles. He has played better over the past few games, but has not recorded a sack since Oct. 21 against the Washington Redskins. He had 2.0 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but has been held back from the quarterback in the rest of the games this season.
Bradshaw has helped the Giants improve from being the last-place rushing team in the NFL to 15th this season, but he missed time last week as the team lost 34-0 to the Falcons. He has rushed for 869 yards and five touchdowns this season and had 103 yards in the loss against the Redskins on Dec. 3.
The Giants won the two other games that Bradshaw rushed over 100-yards, including when he had 200 yards and one touchdown in the 41-27 victory over the Cleveland Browns. He also rushed for 116 yards and one touchdown the next week in a dominating 26-3 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
The Giants also listed center Davis Baas, safety Kenny Phillips, safety Tyler Sash and guard Chris Snee as questionable, but all are likely to play. Cornerback Prince Amukamara, wide receiver Rueben Randle, wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and defensive tackle Chris Canty were all listed as probable.
The Giants are coming off of a tough loss to the Falcons, but have shown in the past they can bounce back. Last season the Giants faced a must-win situation in Week 16 and defeated the Jets before eventually winning the Super Bowl.
This season the Giants are ranked 28th in passing defense and have given up 123 yards per game on the ground. The defense was stellar two weeks ago against the Saints, but allowed 34 points last Sunday against the Falcons.
The Giants have been a streaky team all year, winning four in a row--including a 26-3 win over the 49ers--but followed that was a two game losing streak to the Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals. The team has alternated wins and losses over the past four weeks and has given up their lead of the NFC East.
The Giants looked fantastic in a 38-10 win over the Green Bay Packers, but allowed the Redskins to comeback for a 17-16 victory the following week. On Dec. 19 the Giants put up 52 to points in a blow out victory over the Saints, but became the first team in NFL history to score 50 points one week and then shutout the next week.
The best for the Giants to make the playoffs is through the Wild Card after dropping out of sole possession of first-place in the NFC East. The Redskins, Dallas Cowboys and the Giants are all tied for the division lead, but Washington has the edge due to the best NFC East record.
Since the Redskins and Cowboys still play next week, the Giants have a chance at the division, but are more likely to get the Wild Card spot if they make the playoffs. The Minnesota Vikings are currently in the sixth spot, while the Seattle Seahawks are the fifth seed.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis previously targeted to return for Sunday's game against the Giants, but will likely miss the last two games of the regular-season with a triceps injury.
Lewis has been on the injured reserve-designated to return list for the past eight games, but will have a chance to return for the playoffs, according to NFL.com. Lewis practiced this week, but will likely not be activated for Sunday's game.
The Ravens are in first place in the AFC North with a 9-5 record and can clinch the division with a victory. The team already clinched a playoff berth, while the Giants can clinch a spot with wins in their final two games.
OTHER INJURIES: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (forearm)
Gronkowski, who has been out for three games, but practices three days this week, will not play Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to team sources. He has made 53 receptions for 748 yards and 10 touchdowns and is expected to be back for the playoffs. In his last game against the Colts in week 11 he had seven receptions for 137 yards and two touchdowns.