NEW YORK GIANTS (8-5)
at ATLANTA FALCONS (11-2)
Kickoff: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Atlanta -2, Total: 50.5
Following a thorough beatdown in Carolina last week, Atlanta looks to get back on track Sunday when it returns home to face a Giants team that also crushed them the last time these clubs met.
The Falcons suddenly look very shaky after getting manhandled at Carolina. They still own the best SU record in the NFC, but they’re just 1-3-1 ATS over their past five contests. New York is hoping this will be a replay of its playoff matchup with the Falcons at home last January. The Giants were in Matt Ryan’s face all day in that game, holding the Falcons to 247 yards in a lopsided 24-2 victory, their fourth straight win in this series by a combined score of 116 to 57. New York has clearly snapped out of its offensive slump, averaging 35.3 PPG over three games since its bye week, but they could be without top RB Ahmad Bradshaw who is questionable with a knee injury. The G-Men have also forced seven turnovers over those three games.
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New York QB Eli Manning has been outstanding since the bye week, throwing for 788 yards (8.0 YPA), 8 TD and just 2 INT in the three games. He has also loved playing against Atlanta in his career, throwing for 1,144 yards (286 YPG), 10 TD and 5 INT in the past four meetings, all Giants victories. In last year's playoffs, Manning completed 23-of-32 passes for 277 yards, 3 TD and 0 INT. Two of those went to Hakeem Nicks, who finished the day with 115 receiving yards. Nicks still isn't close to 100 percent because of his lingering knee injury, as he has not reached 80 yards in a game since Week 2. His teammate Victor Cruz is finishing the year strong though, catching 16 passes for 261 yards and 2 TD over the past three games. Atlanta's pass defense is just average, allowing 235 passing YPG (16th in NFL). If Bradshaw cannot start, the Giants will rely on rookie David Wilson to carry the workload. Wilson is coming off his best game of the season, compiling a team-record 327 all-purpose yards with three touchdowns in the 52-27 win over New Orleans. He rushed for 100 yards and 2 TD on just 13 carries (7.7 YPC) last Sunday, and now he has the good fortune of facing another poor defense, as the Falcons rank 23rd in run defense (127 YPG).
Ryan has thrown a whopping 87 passes in his two career meetings with New York, but completed just 50 of those throws (58% completion pct.) for a paltry 5.4 YPA. However, the Giants are a horrible pass defense, allowing 253 YPG (sixth-most in NFL), and their pass rush has been shaky with one sack or less in three of the past four games. If they can't put pressure on Ryan, he will have a field day throwing to WRs Roddy White and Julio Jones. White has gained 604 yards with 4 TD in six games at Georgia Dome this year while Jones had 77 total yards in last year's playoff loss in New York. TE Tony Gonzalez caught eight passes last week, but he hasn't scored a touchdown versus a team besides the Saints since Week 5. Atlanta's running game has been suspect this year (87 YPG, 5th-fewest in NFL), gaining just 68 rushing YPG in the past five games. But the Giants rushing defense isn't good either, ranking 22nd in the NFL with 123 rushing YPG allowed. One thing New York does very well though, is create turnovers, ranking 2nd in the league with 34 takeaways.