The Giants begin a best of seven with the rest of the NFC on Sunday afternoon against the Falcons at the Meadowlands. Both teams come into Giants stadium on the downside of a good start to the season.
The Giants having lost their last four before their bye, caught a big break when Dallas, and the Eagles both lost last Sunday. The Giants now stand in a tie with the Eagles for second place in the NFC East.
The Falcons started off winning four of their first five with a road loss to the Patriots. Since the 4-1 start the Falcons have lost 3 of their last 4 with the defense giving up 30 points per game. The Falcons are 1-4 on the road with their lone win at San Francisco.
When the Giants have the ball:
If there was ever a time for the Giants to make Brandon Jacobs get going this is the time (please read Kevin Gilbride). The Falcons rank 31st in overall defense, 25th against the run and 30th against the pass. The Giants should be able to run at will against the Falcons defensive ends who are small pass rushers who struggle against big lines.
When Eli Manning drops back to pass, he first must find out where John Abraham is on the field. The former probowler isnt having a great season statistacally but is still worth a double team after two straight double digit sack seasons in 2007 and 2008. The secondary hasnt played at all good. They are giving up 272 yards through the air mostly because of a lack of pass rush (sounds familiar) and poor coverage. The Falcons have 19 sacks on the season, 5 of which came against the Redskins.
When the Falcons have the ball:
Matt Ryan is in free fall without a net. He is struggling having thrown 10 interceptions in the last 4 games. The second year player after a great rookie season has plenty of weapons to throw to from Roddy White to Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez. The Falcons will be missing their best running back in Michael Turner and probably his back up in Jerious Norwood.
The Falcons finally got the running game going the last couple of weeks against the Saints and Panthers. The offensive line has done a great job keeping Matt Ryan upright only giving up 12 sacks for the season. The Falcons will turn to Jason Snelling to run the against the Giants.
What to look for:
All the cards lined up right for the Giants in this game. They are facing a team heading the wrong way and who play terrible on the road. Missing their best player in Michael Turner the Giants must take advantage.
Brandon Jacobs should put up big numbers against the Falcons. Look for him to run at Jaamal Anderson and John Abraham when he is on the field. The Giants have a big strong offensive line that the Falcons struggle against. After Jacobs wears this Falcon defense down look for Eli to use play action to throw the ball deep down the field to Hakeem Nicks.
Kevin Boss and Steve Smith will have freedom in the middle of the field after the Giants establish their running game. With the safties trying to stop Jacobs look for Steve Smith to attack the middle along with Kevin Boss.
Matt Ryan will be facing a rested Giants defensive line. Tuck, Usi and company will first stop the run before teeing off on Ryan. Without Michael Turner look for the Falcons to throw early and often to Tony Gonzalez. Gonzalez size will cause problems to Michael Boley and Aaron Pierce to handle.
Roddy White and Michael Jenkins got to be loving the matchup against the Giants secondary. Both receivers can take any short pass and take it to the distance. Look for them to run crossing patterns behind the Giant linebackers and try to take advantage of their speed.
I see the Giants losing streak coming to an end here finally against Atlanta. The big man will be unleashed finally and break 100 yards and get at least one score. Eli will throw the ball all over the field and throw for a couple of scores against the Falcons. Matt Ryan and company are struggling and really cant count on their defense to save them if they play poorly.Ryan will put up some points against the Giants secondary but the questionable running game now without their two top running backs will hurt him.
FINAL SCORE GIANTS 31- Falcons 21