Giants (1-5) vs Atlanta (2-4)
Sunday the Atlanta Falcons managed to hold off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers down near
their goal line in the final seconds of their game. The 34-29 win broke the Falcons
three game losing streak.
The last time the Giants played, it was a Thursday
night matchup at home with the Philadelphia Eagles, with both teams needing to
improve on their losing records. The Eagles got back on track, while the home
crowd watched the Giants let down on both sides of the ball. The result was a
34-13 loss for the Giants.
- Eagles Wrap-Up
The Falcons were in a Super Bowl
game two years ago with a 28-3 lead over the New England Patriots. They allowed
the Patriots to come from behind, and then in the last minute, score a touchdown
and two point conversion to tie the game. In overtime the Patriots scored another
touchdown for a 34-28 score, and yet another Super Bowl win. Last year the Falcons
got as far as the Divisional game before losing 15-10 to the Philadelphia Eagles,
who then went on to win it all.
It took some real tough competition to keep
them from the big prize, and this year they are really struggling, mostly due
to injuries. Despite that, the games have been close, except for a 41-17 blowout
two weeks ago in Pittsburgh against the Steelers. The Falcons defense played strong
last year, but right now it's in a big downturn in all areas. It's been their
offense that has kept things going, mostly on the arm of quarterback Matt Ryan.
week Matt Ryan completed 31 of his 41 passes for 354 yards and three touchdowns,
and yet the score was still close. Ryan's playing at the top of his game, completing
nearly 70 percent of his passes, and has 14 touchdowns with just 2 interceptions.
Ryan's biggest target this year is the same as last, Julio Jones, who leads the
team with 44 catches for 708 yards. Jones is ahead of last year's pace, but still
hasn't been effective in the red zone. Jones caught three touchdown passes last
year, and one was inside the 20-yard line. Jones has no touchdowns this year.
Mohamed Sanu was the second leading receiver two years running, but currently
Calvin Ridley holds that spot with 22 catches for 349 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Sanu and Ridley both missed some practice time this week after being injured in
that matchup with Tampa Bay. There hasn't been much support from the ground game
as Devonta Freeman, the team's leading rusher in each of the last three years,
has missed games dealing with various injuries. Just this week, Freeman was placed
on injured reserve.
defense is not doing well, giving up 30 points a game, ranking them next to last
in the NFL. They're allowing opponents 417.2 yards per game, and managed to win
last week despite giving up more than 500 yards for the second time in the season.
Atlanta has allowed 16 passing touchdowns so far, in part due to losing both their
starting safeties, Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen, to season-ending injuries. Second-year
safety Damontae Kazee has shown some skills, and has come up with one interception
in each of the last three games.
Linebackers De'Vondre Campbell and Duke Riley
have been filling in for middle linebacker Deion Jones, who was placed on injured
reserve after suffering an injury in the first game of the season. It hasn't all
gone well, and just last week, Campbell allowed two touchdown passes to tight
ends. Now they will find Evan Engram back on the field for the Giants.
pass rush can bring some pressure, but they are inconsistent and have just 10
sacks on the season. This week they're up against a Giants offensive line that
hasn't played well, and has surrendered 20 sacks in six games. As for their rushing
defense, the Falcons are allowing an average of 5.1 yards per carry, and have
given up eight rushing touchdowns. They are fifth in the league in missed tackles,
and running back Saquon Barkley will challenge what they can do in that area.
The offense looked like it was coming
together in Carolina against the Panthers. Even though the Giants lost, they scored
30 points. Then just a few days later on Thursday night, they were able to come
up with only 13 at home playing against the Eagles. Is Eli Manning the big problem?
The main complaint is that he's not a mobile quarterback, just a pocket passer,
but that's not something new. The fact that he checks down so quickly is that
he has no choice with the protection he gets. Even throwing too soon, he's been
sacked 20 times already.
The offensive line could have held up better last
week if they had either Evan Engram or Rhett Ellison playing, but they were both
sidelined with injuries. They are good blocking tight ends, and could have been
viable check down targets. They are hard to bring down, each averaging about ten
yards a catch. Scott Simonson, playing in his sixth game with the Giants filled
in, and he did catch one pass for 24 yards. Engram and Ellison are set to play
for this game, and that could be a big help.
More rebuilding on the offensive line - Spencer Pulley will be in the starting
lineup instead of right guard Patrick Omameh, and play at center, and John Greco
will move from center to right guard.
It won't help much if the offense
gets going and starts putting up points, and the defense gives up more. They've
been on a downtrend, allowing 22.3 points per game in the first three games, and
33.3 in their last three. You can see from what you read earlier that quarterback
Matt Ryan likely will be completing a lot of his passes. It's hard to bottle up
Julio Jones, and it's notable that first-round draft pick Calvin Ridley has missed
on only 7 passes while pulling in 6 touchdowns. Both Ridley and Mohamed Sanu (3
touchdowns), have been cleared to play in this game, and these three receivers
have combined for 65 first downs.
aren't limited, Ryan will have all he needs for a good passing game. Can the Giants
get any pressure on him? The Giants have only seven sacks to date, and that's
the fewest in the league. Olivier Vernon played for the first time last week,
and he had two tackles, two quarterback hits and one sack, so that's a good sign.
Also Atlanta is second in the league on third-down conversions, succeeding on
just about half their attempts. In any event the Giants defense is in for a busy
Giants are 1-5 for the second year in a row, and they played like
a 1-5 team last time out. It was a big contrast to the game a week earlier where
the Carolina Panthers needed a desperate 63-yard field goal to get their win.
The Atlanta Falcons are in last place in their division, same as the Giants, and
were lucky to have stumbled across the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, managing
to win, playing against a defense that's as bad as their own. They lost reliable
kicker Matt Bryant in the process, and that could make a difference for this game.
NFC East Games
Sunday at 1:00pm Panthers (3-2) at Eagles (3-3).
at 4:25pm Cowboys (3-3) at Redskins (3-2).
Monday at 8:15pm Giants (1-5) at
The Eagles and Redskins are the NFC East teams favored to
win in these games.
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Eli Manning is completing a career-high 68.7
percent of his passes.
Beckham Jr. has caught only 1 touchdown pass this season.
have won their last four Monday night games.
Julio Jones hasn't caught a touchdown pass in 11 regular season games.
Oct 28 Redskins at Giants.
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