Keys to the Game – Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants 1/8/12

Last Updated: January 8th, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Of all of the games on the NFL TV schedule in Wild Card weekend, the one between the New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons might be the toughest to handicap. We present our New York vs. Atlanta keys to the game so you can make your NFL picks for the first game on Sunday’s NFL schedule.

NFL Playoffs Matchup: Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Giants
Falcons vs. Giants Location: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Falcons vs. Giants Date/Time: Sunday, January 8th, 1:00 p.m.
Falcons vs. Giants Television Coverage: FOX

Click Here For The Rest Of The 2012 NFL Playoff Bracket And Other NFL Playoff Previews

Key #1: The Falcons have to hit the deep ball
Way back in the Spring when the Falcons traded just a slew of draft picks for the ability to draft WR Julio Jones early in the first round, many thought that they were crazy. Atlanta thought that it was just one piece to the puzzle away from winning the Super Bowl. We don’t really think that it has the ability to do that with a defense that is suspect this year, but it does clearly make a big difference. Jones has had at least one catch of at least 40 yards in six of his last eight games, and many of those catches went the distance for a touchdown. Jones has six TDs in his last four games, and many of those were of the very long variety. New York has a secondary that is still suspect and has been all season long, and it has been prone to the deep ball. For Atlanta to win this game, it is going to have to stretch the field with Jones to open up the rest of the offense for RB Michael Turner, TE Tony Gonzalez, and WR Roddy White.

Falcons @ Giants Odds at Wager Web Sportsbook
Atlanta Falcons +3
New York Giants -3
Over/Under 47.5
Click Here to Bet Your NFL playoffs Picks!

Key #2: The Giants absolutely have to find a ground game
Why? Because we know that RB Michael Turner is going to get his yards. He touched the ball over 300 times this season, and he had 1,500 yards of total offense, so we know that Turner will do his damage. There is a real question as to whether RBs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw are going to be able to get the job done or not. These two used to be a part of a tremendous backfield, and both have the capability to be 1,000 yard rushers. Neither had a great year, and it almost seems as though age parlayed with the weird offseason may have cost them both in conditioning. Neither averaged even four yards per carry this year, and the end result saw New York ranked dead last in rushing the football. The pressure on the shoulders of QB Eli Manning is already immense as it is, but to have to win this game all by himself might be too tall of a task to ask for. But then again…


Key #3: One of these quarterbacks has to be a star
This type of game is pretty easy to see develop. One of these teams is going to have the ball at the end of this game, and one of the quarterbacks is going to have to get the job done. With apologies to QB Matt Ryan, he just might not be ready for this quite yet. He doesn’t have the background to be a “game winning drive” type of quarterback at this point in his career, and he is 0-2 in his two postseason appearances. Eli has won a Super Bowl, and won it with dramatics. He was the one that threw the ball that magically came down in WR Shane Tyree’s hands, and he was the one that threw the TD pass to WR Plaxico Burress that won the Super Bowl against the previously perfect New England Patriots in ’07. Even this year, Manning, for all of the grief that he has been given, led his team on a game winning drive at the Dallas Cowboys, a game tying drive against the Green Bay Packers, a game winning drive against the New England Patriots, a game winning field goal drive against the Buffalo Bills, and a two TD comeback against the Arizona Cardinals, all of which came in the last two minutes of a game. Eli can do it, and we know it, but the question might be asked of either he or Matty Ice once again to see whether they can put the team on their back and win a game.

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Posted in NFL Football - Last Updated on Sunday, January 8th, 2012 @ 5:18 am (EST)
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