Atlanta Falcons ( 10-6) at New York Giants (9-7)
January 8, 2012
The “dirtbag’ Falcons travel to East Rutherford to take on Eli Manning and the NFC East Champion New York Giants as the NFC 3rd seed and and 5th seed square off in the other NFC Wildcard match up.
Both of these teams go into the playoffs having a 3 win 2 losses in their last 5 games and both teams have looked shaky over that period. Both of these teams have solid running backs in Bradshaw and Turner and both teams have solid quarterbacks with big play receivers.
Atlanta’s Julio Jones and Roddy White have been explosive and Tony Gonzalez is a beast and consistently makes big plays at key times in the game. The Giants secondary have given up huge plays all year and will have their hands full on Sunday.
On the other side of the ball, Eli Manning already has one Superbowl under his belt and has experience on his side and newly acquired confidence in Victor Cruz who has put up big yards over the previous 5 games.
This game is going to come down to two aspects:
1) The Giants will win if they can prevent the “big play” as Matt Ryan will make the secondary pay big for any glitches in the secondary.
2) Controlling the ball. As simple as it sounds, not being able to control the ball will be the reason that one of these teams playoffs will be over after Sunday.
So what will happen? Atlanta is fired up and playing some of their best football of the year but Eli has the experience? I think the Giants front 4 is going to slow down Michael Turner which will also help prevent the big plays as the Giants defense will be able to focus on the pass.
Prediction: This game could be close, but the Giants will cover the 3 point spread and move on to the second round of the playoffs and a date with the San Francisco 49ers.