New York Giants Preview: Week 7 at Atlanta Falcons
The New York Giants have had over a week to recover from an embarrassing loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Now, they return to prime-time television, as they face off against the Atlanta Falcons.
There has been a lot of noise surrounding the Giants in game week, between John Mara’s comments about the team, and Odell Beckham Jr. saying he “doesn’t like water.” Now, the team has the opportunity to silence the nonsense, and that happens by leaving Atlanta with a victory.
Here are some things to keep an eye on during Monday’s matchup.
New Look O-Line
New York’s offensive line was under heavy attack against a ruthless Eagles pass rush last week. Now, head coach Pat Shurmur has made some changes at the line of scrimmage.
Patrick Omameh has lost the starting right guard position on New York, and has not even made the trip down to Atlanta. The former Jacksonville Jaguar has struggled since joining the Giants on a three-year, $15 million contract. Statistically, he has been one of the worst right guards in the league, and was exploited by the defenders he was assigned to block. Last week, he had to stop defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, and let’s just say, Omameh didn’t have a good time. He will now see time on the bench for the foreseeable future.
As for his replacement, center John Greco will move back to his natural guard spot. So what does that mean for the center position? Well, enter Spencer Pulley.
The 25-year old was part of the Giants’ first wave of waiver claims following the league’s roster deadline. Pulley brings the Giants an experienced starter on the offensive line, as he started every game last season with the Los Angeles Chargers. New York has had trouble at center and the right side of the line. Now that Pulley has the playbook down to par, he has the chance to give the Giants some life and aggressiveness at the line of scrimmage.
Time to Center Offense Around Saquon
If the Eagles game showed us anything, it’s that rookie Saquon Barkley is the lifeline of New York’s offense.
Every time Barkley touched the ball, it was as if viewers were watching a video game. Hurdles, nasty jukes, and explosive speed. In fact, he scored the only touchdown for the Giants against Philadelphia, and totaled 229 all-purpose yards.
If Shurmur were to go through with this new offensive game plan, it would come in a favorable matchup. The Falcons run defense has allowed 121.3 yards per game this season, which means we should expect another day at the office for Barkley. But as he’s noted, he’d prefer a win instead of another record-breaking performance.
It’s no secret that the Falcons defense has taken a serious hit due to injuries. Safety Keanu Neal suffered a torn MCL in the regular season opener, effectively ending his 2018 campaign. Linebacker Deion Jones was placed on injured reserve as a result of a foot injury. Ricardo Allen suffered a torn Achilles in Week 3. As a result, the pass defense has suffered.
So far this season, the Falcons have allowed 295.8 passing yards per game, 32 points per contest, and 16 touchdowns through the air.
Talk about an ideal scenario for Eli Manning to have a bounce back performance. If Manning can be aggressive in his decision making and get the ball downfield to Beckham, Sterling Shepard, and a returning Evan Engram, the Giants air attack can do some serious damage against a depleted Atlanta defense.
Stopping Atlanta’s Three-Headed Monster at WR
While the Giants passing offense can put up some huge numbers on Monday night, the same can be said about the Falcons.
Atlanta has one of the more prolific passing attacks in the entire league, as they have 311.3 yards through the air, and 14 passing touchdowns. With weapons like Julio Jones, Rutgers-alum Mohamed Sanu, and rookie Calvin Ridley for quarterback Matt Ryan to target, you can easily see why the Atlanta passing game has been so successful this season.
New York has allowed 236.3 yards per game to the opposing quarterback, and perhaps the most telling is they have given up just nine passing touchdowns. However, the likes of Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple were torched by Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffery last week.
With the weapons Atlanta has at their disposal, the Giants could be in for a long night down in the ATL.
The Giants-Falcons game will kickoff at 8:15 p.m. ET live on ESPN.
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