Giants vs. Falcons Preview and Prediction

By Joey Alibro

Twitter: @joeyalibro

Now that I’ve calmed down a bit after a heart-wrenching loss to the Cowboys, I can finally sit down and write about what happened and what to expect this Sunday against Atlanta without wanting to throw my laptop at the wall. So let’s get to the New York Giants vs. Atlanta Falcons.

New York Giants

Even though I predicted the Giants to lose in a close game last week, it was definitely one of those times that I wanted to be wrong.

The Giants had a lackluster pass rush all game (I guess Spagnulo didn’t hear me), especially on that last drive which was eerily similar to the game winning drive Dallas had in November of last season. Right out of the gate, Dallas was taking advantage of Uan’i Unga, the fill in for Jon Beason, with swing routes and screens to Joseph Randle in the slot. The inexperience of Unga is also what led to the easy touchdown for Witten with 7 seconds left on the clock. With that said, the defense as a whole looked better than I thought it would, and were opportunistic forcing three turnovers of which one was a fumble recovered and returned 57 yards by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for the score.

The offense, on the other hand, disappointed. The conservative, playing-not-to-lose instead of playing-to-win, gameplan was rather worrisome considering people were talking about the offense being amongst the league’s most prolific. Eli was held to a meager twenty of thirty-six for 193 yards. The running game was above average, but the Giants need to learn that running Andre Williams straight into a brick wall isn’t working and give Jennings/Vereen more touches. Now, let’s talk about that atrocious clock management from Coughlin and Eli. “Don’t score Rashad,” says Manning on two straight downs.

The two time super bowl MVP admitted after that he was confused with the number of timeouts that the Cowboys, had but that still doesn’t make sense because scoring a touchdown would have essentially iced the game with 2 minutes left and up by two possessions. The Giants decide to run down the clock, but instead of running the ball again from the 1 yard line, Ben Mcadoo calls in a pass to Eli on third down. It gets worse. Instead of taking a sack, Eli throws the ball out of the back of the endzone to stop the clock at 1:37. The league did admit today though that tight end Daniel Fells was held on that play which would have won the Giants the game, but hindsight is 20/20. Anyways, the Giants kick the field goal and go up 26-20 with 1:34 to go which was plenty of time for Romo and the boys to rip right through the defense. Like the professionals they are, Eli and Coughlin took the blame for the loss. The New York Post, however, still mocked Eli calling him the “$84 million dunce” with a dunce cap superimposed onto his helmet. Teammates of Eli say that he still has 100% full support from the locker room, and expressed support the past few days. Despite all the negative, the Giants did have some positives by playing tough against the reigning NFC East Champs including this DEVESTATING block by Eli.

Eli’s ready to move on to Atlanta, and so am I. Let’s talk about the Giants’ keys to their home opener against the Falcons at 1 o’clock on Sunday. Okay Spags, I’m giving you another chance. I’m formally requesting you to rush the passer just in case there was any misunderstanding last week. Also, Big Blue needs to stick with the run early until Atlanta can prove that they can stop it because this past Monday, the Eagles only ran the ball 14 times against 52 passes and things didn’t exactly go their way. If the Giants offense is more aggressive as well, then they definitely have a strong chance at winning this game.

Atlanta Falcons

Not to take away from the win, but besides the first quarter or so, the Dirty Birds didn’t look too strong. The combo of White and Jones with Ryan at quarterback definitely has a chance to make some noise against an injury ravaged Giants’ secondary, but the same could be said about Eli connecting with Beckham and a healthy(?) Cruz against one of the worst defense’s in the league last season. Of course, former Seahawks d-coordinator Dan Quinn and pass rush specialist Vic Beasley Jr. will surely help that defense, but the process of transforming a defense is a painstaking one. With all that said, if Atlanta picks apart the Giants secondary, and the Giants’ offense struggles like it did last week, then the Falcons could win this game in front of the Giants’ home crowd at Metlife Stadium.

Prediction

Giants 27 – Falcons 17

The win hungry Giants looking for redemption are too much for Atlanta to handle on the road.

Player of the Game: Eli Manning, 23/30, 294 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs

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