So, Here We Go! The first playoff game in New Giants Stadium takes place this Sunday at 1:00 when the Atlanta Falcons face the New York Giants. The Giants are healthy and on a roll. They have ended the Eagles, Cowboys and Jets seasons in the past three weeks, and now look to put together a run in the playoffs. Let’s take a look at some of the match-ups that will be key on Sunday.
Jacquian Williams and Michael Boley vs. Tony Gonzalez. It’s going to take both of them and more to keep Tony Gonzalez under control. Not getting beat deep, or for big plays will be a win for the Giants. Controlling Tony is all you can ask for. He is a big target for the Falcons in the red zone.
The Giants D-Line vs the Falcons running game. The Giants have done better recently against the run. Getting some negative plays to keep the Falcons off schedule will be another key to this game. Forcing them into a few third and longs will allow them to rush Matt Ryan and put pressure on the young QB. Keeping the running game under control on 1st and 2nd down will go a long way towards a good day for the defense.
The Giants receivers vs the Falcons secondary. With Jake Ballard back, the Giants have plenty of weapons for Eli to utilize. Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Mario Manningham, D.J. Ware, and others will force the porous Atlanta secondary to make tackles and cover for a long time. The Falcon defensive line cannot rush Eli with any effectiveness, so they will need help from the linebackers and secondary. When you blitz Eli, usually you pay the price. Look for the Giants to get physical with the corners, one who is listed as questionable for the game, and the other who is very young.
The Falcons receivers vs. the Giants secondary: Really this is not the match-up that will determine the outcome. The D-line needs to get pressure on Matt Ryan, so the secondary won’t be exposed. They can easily cover the short passes, and keep the plays in front of them. Given time though, Matt Ryan will take some shots down field to the very talented Julio Jones and others.
I fully expect the Giants to play well in this game and keep their positive energy moving forward.