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2012 NFL Playoffs: Top 5 Reasons New York Giants Beat Atlanta Falcons

Jason RadowitzContributor IIIJanuary 9, 2012

2012 NFL Playoffs: Top 5 Reasons New York Giants Beat Atlanta Falcons

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    The New York Giants have finally won another playoff game. They came out so strong, I think the Atlanta Falcons were still sleeping at game time.

    Can someone wake up Matt Ryan?

    Anyway, the Giants played really well on all levels and deserve to go play the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field for a chance to move into the NFC Championship Game.

    These are the top five reasons the Giants beat the Falcons on Sunday.   

5. Rocky Bernard

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    Not many people give Rocky Bernard any credit, but he caused mayhem in the middle. Every time there was a run up the middle, Bernard made sure Michael Turner or Jason Snelling ran to the side.

    He had very good pass rush with a sack and a deflected a pass that probably should have been caught for an interception.

    Also, don't forget those key two 4th-and-1's that the Giants stopped. Those were both Bernard's keyed by initial stops up the middle.

    Quietly, he had a great performance.

4. Offensive Line

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    After only one brutal mistake by Kareem McKenzie allowing the safety, the Giants offensive line made nice holes up the middle and gave Eli Manning enough time to get the ball to a receiver.

    Manning threw three touchdowns and zero interceptions, and the offensive line also made big gaps for the running game, as they as a team, had 172 yards rushing.

    Chris Snee also spent some time on the bench due to an injury, and the offensive line was still able to hold up.

    Thanks to the offensive line, they made their big playmakers look very good.

3. Michael Boley

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    I am not sure if I heard Tony Gonzalez's name once the whole game. He had four receptions for only 44 yards and was really ineffective the whole game.

    Michael Boley played very good coverage on Gonzalez and had five tackles to show for it.

    Boley got cut in 2008 by the Falcons, and he wanted to prove he was still upset with that.

    I think the Falcons now know that Michael Boley should have never been cut.

2. Passing Game

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    Eli Manning started off very slowly, and Victor Cruz was double-teamed all game, but that didn't stop him from throwing for 277 yards and three touchdowns.

    The Falcons brought so much attention to Cruz, they forgot about Nicks, espaiclly on his 72-yard touchdown play, catching the ball wide open in the middle of the field and running 50-plus yards and breaking tackles for the touchdown.

    Manning had a big run on a 3rd-and-2 for 14 yards and really proved, as Giants fans would say, to be elite.

    You can't spell elite without Eli!

1. Giants Defense

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    This is a no-brainer, as they shut down Matt Ryan and the Falcons.

    On two 4-and-1 situations, the Giants defense stopped Ryan from getting first downs, giving the Giants great momentum each time.

    The pass rush was really effective as they hit Ryan seven times, and sacked him twice.

    The secondary played very well on the very good duo of Roddy White and Julio Jones. Both of them caught short passes, but the secondary did a nice job not allowing a big play.

    This Giants defense is looking like the 2007 team, but can they win the Super Bowl like last time?

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