Giants vs Falcons: The Top Five Game Changers
Expect that to be the case again, only this time, this game is for more than just a season win, it's for a step towards to the Super Bowl.
But there are new players on both of these teams that will be needed to win this game.
With Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck both sitting some games this season, Jason Pierre-Paul has been a pleasant surprise for the Giants.
He totaled 16.5 sacks this season and was third on the Giants in tackles with 86. Against the Jets, he played over 100 snaps, which really proves his toughness.
Falcons left tackle, Will Svitek, the backup for Sam Baker, will likely have to go up against Pierre-Paul or Umenyiora the entire game.
Svitek, the 6'6" 308 pounder, is going to have a lot of work cut out for him. Pierre-Paul is very quick off the line, and Svitek needs to be ready, or else Ryan will be sacked by the best pass rush in football.
Svitek has played against Jared Allen, Dwight Freeny and Kyle Vanden Bosch and has allowed no sacks. Only bad thing is, instead of the sacks, he gets called for many holds.
Curtis Lofton has had a very quiet season this year, but his 147 tackles make him very dangerous to the Giants run game.
Lofton is a hard-hitter and knows how to make the stops, especially up the middle. Don't forget, he also isn't too bad in zone coverage either.
Lofton and the Falcons will bring run blitzes all day, and the Giants need to figure out a way to get the passing game going because of the major threat in the middle—Lofton.
Victor Cruz had a monster year receiving 82 passes for 1536 yards and nine touchdowns. He has broken free for 65+ yards multiple times, and is a major threat to do that again versus the Falcons.
The Falcons haven't come out and said who will be on who in coverage, but Brent Grimes will likely get the duties of Cruz.
Grimes has been questionable all week with a knee injury, but i doubt he sits out this game. Because of Grimes' injury, Cruz might be able to add another long reception touchdown to his totals this week.
The Falcons need to cover Cruz at all times, because one mistake will turn into six points with the lightning speed of Cruz.
At 35, Tony Gonzalez, is surprisingly still playing like an elite tight end. He has become a legitimate factor in the Falcons offense as he has caught 80 passes for 875 yards with seven touchdowns.
Most likely, Michael Boley will be playing against Gonzalez, which is a good matchup for Matt Ryan.
Gonzalez is a great route runner for a tight end and is an exceptional blocker. If the Giants can't cover Gonzalez, it's going to be a long day for the G-Men defense. Over the season, the Giants have had those "long days," especially against the Saints.
Tony also hasn't won a Super Bowl during his 14-year career. Time is running out, so you can assure yourself that he is going to play with everything he has.
Eli Manning and Matt Ryan
Both quarterbacks Eli Manning and Matt Ryan deserve mention as game-changers, and know what they have to do to anchor their teams to victory.
Manning has been in these situations before but Ryan hasn't. Now, that doesn't mean Ryan doesn't have the ability to shine.
Manning had a very good season this year making the Pro Bowl with his 4933 yards passing and 29 touchdowns. He led the Giants to many comeback wins, and now holds the record for the most fourth-quarter touchdowns in a single season, which is 15.
Matt Ryan had similar stats as Manning as he threw for 4177 and also had 29 touchdowns.
If the game comes down to the wire, the Giants will almost certainly win, but if Ryan can rally his Falcons to a big lead early, it will be a Falcons victory.