Everyone wants to hop on the Giants bandwagon this week. With the Falcons faltering a little and people getting a “hunch” that the Giants are ready to make another run, it seems everyone is thinking the Giants will win. Not so fast. The Falcons are 11-2 with home field advantage at stake….oh, and they’re 6-0 at home.
Here are the five keys to a victory over the Atlanta Falcons:
5. Sack Matt Ryan: Matt Ryan has a lot of weapons including possibly the best tight end of all time in Tony Gonzalez. Gonzalez is his security blanket especially when he’s under duress. Ryan is a good athlete who can move out of the pocket and throw on the run if he has too.
The Giants need to bring him down and register around five sacks or more if they want to impact the game. The Giants haven’t been as good sacking the quarterback as they have in the past five years. They have 31 this year (T-12th) after being in the five four of the last five years. As much as we love to give Eli Manning the love for the Super Bowl runs, the D-line is the heart and soul of this team. If the Giants are going to make a run, the D-line has to get hot starting against Atlanta.
4. Stop the run: While Matty Ice and the Atlanta Falcons have been tremendous through the air, Michael Turner churning the ground game is still vital to the passing attack. Clog the line of scrimmage with Linval Joseph and Chris Canty.
They also need to watch out for the Falcons X-Factor Jacquizz Rodgers. Rodgers has Maurice Jones-Drew thighs to go along with great open field ability. Don’t let them get pass the line of scrimmage and make Matt Ryan beat you. If the run is effective, the Giants offense will not see the field.
3. Challenge the Falcons secondary: The Falcons are an opportunistic defense. They intercepted Peyton Manning three times and Drew Brees six; so they like to go after the football. How do you attack an aggressive secondary? Pump fakes and choice routes.
When Eli Manning and his receivers are on the same page they can’t be stopped. When they aren’t, it is a disastrous Sunday. Challenge the Falcons secondary by making them second-guess or jump on a route. Guys will be open all day.
2. Be physical with the Falcons receivers: In my opinion, the best wide receiver combination this year has been Roddy White and Julio Jones. Meanwhile, Prince Amukamara and Corey Webster have been below average. This could spell disaster as the Giants pass defense ranks 27th in the NFL.
Challenge White and Jones physically. While they do go deep, the Falcons like to use the screen game with them as well. White and Jones are fantastic in open field. Bump them at the line of scrimmage and have Stevie Brown or Antrel Rolle come over the top. If they bump them enough, the blitz will have enough time to get to Ryan.
1. Run the ball: This key cannot be stressed enough; pound the rock. Having said that, it may be a bit more difficult with no Ahmad Bradshaw but the Falcons rank one spot below the Giants in rushing defense. Atlanta allows 127 yards a game so there is a grand opportunity for David Wilson along with Ryan Torain and Kregg Lumpkin to get involved.
Most importantly, it keeps that Falcon offense off the field. The Giants are going to allow a lot of yards like they always do; it’s a fact at this point. So it’s simple…POUND THE ROCK and they will win the game.