New York Giants vs. Atlanta Falcons
The New York Giants and the Atlanta Falcons meet on Sunday in a first round NFC Playoff game. The Giants are -3 point favorites over the Falcons with an over/under point total set at 48.
It took them until the final week of the regular season to punch their ticket but the New York Giants are the NFC East Champions and are hosting a Wildcard Playoff game. The Giants defeated the Cowboys and despite a stretch in the second half of the year where they lost five of six games, it was enough to win what many thought would be one of the better divisions in football, though it certainly came up well short of being that. Eli Manning began the season claiming he was one of the elite QB’s in the NFL and he put up big numbers completing 61 percent of his passes for 4.933 yards with 29 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. The New York running game struggled when each back was on their own but they were much better when all were healthy and Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs combined for over 1,200 yards and 16 touchdowns. The Giants started the year with what looked like a patchwork receiving corps but Victor Cruz caught 82 passes for 1,526 yards and nine touchdowns and Hakeem Nicks had 76 catches for 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns. Defensively the Giants had 20 interceptions, 13 fumble recoveries, and 48 sacks. Antrel Rolle had 96 tackles, Jason Pierre-Paul had 16.5 sacks, and Carey Webster had six interceptions. At time the Giants have looked like they can beat anyone, at other times they have looked like they could lose to anyone.
The Atlanta Falcons quietly went about their business this season winning three of their last four games and five of their last seven games. The Falcons continue with their best run in the history of the franchise as up until last year they had never been to the playoffs in back to back seasons. Matt Ryan took some shots in the pocket but he has completed 61.3 percent of his passes with 29 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Michael Turner was a workhorse in the backfield averaging 4.5 yards per carry for 1,340 yards and 11 touchdowns. Roddy White had 100 catches and eight touchdowns, Tony Gonzalez had 80 catches and seven touchdowns, and Julio Jones had 54 catches and eight touchdowns. Defensively Atlanta allows 333.6 yards per game and 21.9 points while they have 19 interceptions, 33 sacks, and 13 fumble recoveries. Curtis Lofton has 147 tackles, Sean Weatherspoon has 115 tackles, and John Abraham has 9.5 sacks. All of the Falcons’ last four losses were to playoff teams.
New York is 5-1 against the spread in their last six playoff games, 4-0 against the spread against a team with a winning record, and 4-1 against the spread in their last five games overall. Atlanta is 1-3-1 against the spread following a win, 1-4 against the spread in their last five playoff games, and 0-4 against the spread against a team with a winning record. The road team has covered eight in a row in games played between these two.
While both of these teams have proud defenses, their pride probably isn’t going to help them shut down the offenses they’ll be facing here and with the total at 48 I look for it to go over pretty easily.