Giants (2-2) vs Falcons (2-2)
Sunday the Falcons fought for three quarters to finally get the lead in a game
against the Vikings. They had a one point lead going into the fourth quarter,
but couldn't hold it. The final score was Vikings 41 - Falcons 28.
got it all together in their last Thursday night game in Washington and won their
second game of the season 45-14. It was a strong performance on both sides of
the ball. Giants
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Former Giant Osi Umenyiora, in his
first season with the Falcons last year, got the crowd going in game two. It was
Atlanta's first home game and Umenyiora intercepted a tipped pass and returned
it 68 yards for a touchdown. Umenyiora's first career interception helped the
team log their first win in front of the home crowd and it evened their record
to 1-1. Unfortunately the Falcons won only 3 more games the rest of the season
to end up 4-12. That was a surprising turn of events as the Falcons had been to
the playoffs for three straight years and had just finished with a 14-2 season,
barely missing a Super Bowl appearance by just 10 yards when they failed to complete
their final drive.
They needed a touchdown not to go down 28-24. Two incomplete
passes from the San Francisco 10 yard line on a 3rd and 4 ended their dreams.
It was a hard pill to swallow considering they had been up 17 points in that game.
It seems that whatever the Falcons offense takes, the defense gives away. Mike
Smith is the head coach and currently has the best win-loss record (63-42) for
Atlanta. It was tarnished last year when he had his first losing season in six
years. Mike Nolan is still the defensive coordinator and they have drafted players
they feel will fit better into his schemes.
team is second in the league in scoring points (32.8 per game), and in passing
yardage with 322.2 per game. Quarterback Matt Ryan has thrown 10 touchdown passes
in the first four games which is the second most in Falcons history. He actually
holds the top record, having thrown 11 in that same time frame in 2012. Given
time Ryan is hard to beat. In the two wins, Ryan threw 6 touchdowns with 0 interceptions.
In the two losses, Ryan threw 4 touchdowns and had 5 interceptions. This week
he'll have a tougher job considering two of his starters were just placed on injured
reserve as a result of last week's game against the Vikings. To help the offensive
line, tight end Levine Toilolo played at right tackle in the fourth quarter. Toilolo
is still developing, but it's hard to fill the spot the retired Tony Gonzalez
held with the team last season.
When Gonzalez was on the field with wide receivers
Roddy White and Julio Jones, defenders had a tough time deciding which player
to double. In that 2012 final playoff game
where the Falcons fell just short, wide receiver Julio Jones had 11 receptions
for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns. Last season Jones was injured and in only 5 games
he had already amassed 580 yards. They certainly could have used his talents in
that failed season. Jones is back at full strength, averaging 15.4 yards a catch
and 3 touchdowns. Roddy White was unable to pull in Ryan's last two passes in
that playoff loss. White currently leads the league in dropped passes and connected
on only 4 of the 14 (2 drops) that Ryan threw to him last game, albeit 1 touchdown.
White guaranteed he'll score a touchdown against the Giants in this game, but
he tends to say a lot of things.
Devin Hester had a good game last week with
5 receptions and 1 touchdown. He also had 5 catches for 99 yards in their first
game. They need Hester as a returner, but when they can afford to turn him loose
on offense, he produces. The Falcons rotate their running squad with a now healthy
Steven Jackson getting the most reps and their running game is currently ranked
14th, coming off being dead last a year ago.
defense is the sure weakness on this team and it didn't start this year. It's
been declining from overall 12th, 24th, 28th at the end of last year to next to
last right now. Osi Umenyiora is used more as a designated pass rusher, and although
he is the fourth all-time in Giants history with 75 sacks, he still has none on
the year. In fact, the Falcons have generated only three quarterback sacks so
far and rank 30th in the league in that area. Rushing defense allowed the Vikings
to net 241 rushing yards and that was without Adrian Peterson playing.
secondary, the cornerbacks, Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford, were first and
second-round draft choices in 2013 and they have seasoned veteran Robert McClain.
This week they will miss safety William Moore, who will be out at least eight
weeks with a shoulder injury. Moore made the calls for the secondary, and second-year
player Kemal Ishmael will start in his place.
We'll just go with what former
NFL head coach and analyst Brian Billick said earlier this week. Billick
said that defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who coached with him in Baltimore
from 2001-04, has been working with "smoke and mirrors" for quite some
time and that he was out of "mirrors."
Eli Manning threw 4 touchdown passes
and had 300 yards in the team's last game. It was on a Thursday so they've in
effect had a mini bye week to rest and prepare for this game. Manning
looks to have a new receiver in this game who would be playing in his first NFL
game, first-round draft pick Odell Beckham Jr. How effective Beckham will be is
questionable since he's a rookie with no preseason under his belt, hitting the
field for the first time.
From what we've heard about practice sessions he
could be a featured player. If nothing else, Beckham will be another distraction
the Falcons defense will have to add to their list. Tight end Larry Donnell with
25 receptions for 236 yards and 4 touchdowns, is another surprise opposing teams
couldn't have planed for in the offseason. Rashad Jennings, with 341 rushing yards
and 2 touchdowns, must be drooling at the thought of going up against the defense
the Falcons will present.
Overall the front line is putting it together. Last
year left tackle Will Beatty had a down year and Manning struggled with pressure.
Beatty hasn't given up a sack this season and says he's ready to go up against
Osi Umenyiora who he used to practice with on a regular basis. That should be
an interesting match up.
Up front they will have no excuse
this game if they can't overpower an offensive line that is made up of patchwork
players, due to the unfortunate circumstances the Falcons find themselves in this
In the secondary watch out for Julio
Jones who is second in the league with 447 receiving yards. Big plays can save
the day for the Falcons and Matt Ryan can certainly deliver. Roddy White is no
slouch despite the dropped passes and Matt Ryan kept going to him last game despite
that. They also seem to be including Devin Hester more into the mix. Corners Dominique
Rodgers-Cromartie, Prince Amukamra, and Trumaine McBride, and safeties Antrel
Rolle and Quintin Demps will all have to play smart. The
defense has an NFL-high seven interceptions and four just last week.
Falcons average almost 33 points a game (42 over the last two) and in every area,
third down conversions, passing yards, rushing yards and points per game, the
Falcons rate as a better team than the Giants. The reverse is also true on the
defensive side of the ball. The Giants numbers are all better than the Falcons.
The Falcons are 2-0 at home and 0-2 on the
road, and their passing game has been worse when they travel.
games - The Falcons couldn't stop the Vikings from putting up 41 points on the
board and then the Vikings went on to score only 10 (so-what fourth quarter points)
in their Thursday night game once the Packers were comfortably up 42-0. Can you
extrapolate that to say the Vikings offense is really not overwhelming and yet
they still scored big against the Falcons? If the Giants offense keeps clicking
like they have then 40+ points should be no problem by that formula. This is one
of those games that goes to the Giants if they just play mistake free football.
these division teams play at home this week. At 1:00pm Sunday, the same time the
Giants are playing the Falcons, the Eagles (3-1) will host the Rams (1-2) and
the Cowboys (3-1) will take on the Texans (3-1). The Redskins (1-3) play against
the Seahawks (2-1) on Monday night. The Giants, Eagles and Cowboys are favored
to win in these games.
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have given up just 18.3 yards per kickoff return thus far ranking 2nd in the league.
Eli Manning is completing 66.9 percent of his passes, his highest overall career
Falcons Roddy White in his five
career games against the Giants has never scored a touchdown.
Devin Hester holds the NFL record with 20 career return touchdowns.
Osi Umenyiora has produced 35 career forced fumbles.
tight end Bear Pascoe was a former Giant.
kicker Matt Bryant was a former Giant.
have lost three of their original starters on the offensive line.
have lost 9 of their last 10 road games.
Oct 12- Giants at Philadelphia.
Oct 19- Giants at Dallas.
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