W2W4: Giants at Falcons
December, 14, 2012
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com
The last time they saw each other, the Giants crushed the Falcons in the playoffs in January to start their Super Bowl run.
Now the Falcons are looking for payback. Here are five things to watch for on Sunday:
Flip out: David Wilson gave us a glimpse of what he's capable of last week against the Saints.
With Ahmad Bradshaw ruled out this week with a sprained knee, Wilson will start and should be in line for even more touches. Until last week against Carolina, Atlanta had allowed at least one rushing touchdown in four straight games, and 100-yard rushers in three of those four games.
While offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said he liked what he saw from Wilson, don't be surprised to see Kregg Lumpkin get some snaps on third downs and passing situations, and perhaps Ryan Torain as well.
But it will be exciting to see what Wilson does for an encore against the Falcons.
Dirty birds: The Giants' secondary will be put to the test by Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez.
With Prince Amukamara ruled out with a hamstring injury, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said rookie cornerback Jayron Hosley is ready to step up. Hosley has struggled at times in the nickel package, but Fewell said he has confidence Hosley will be fine on the outside and will start.
The Giants found ways to slow down the Packers' and Saints' aerial attacks in recent weeks, and they'll have to do the same against the Falcons' talented wide receiver duo. And Jacquian Williams and perhaps Antrel Rolle will have to find a way to contain Gonzalez, especially in the red zone.
Be a big boy: White said Victor Cruz is a slot receiver, and not one of the big boys who play on the outside.
The Giants need Cruz and Hakeem Nicks to match what White and Jones do on Sunday. It will not be an easy task. Atlanta's defense has held opposing wide receivers without a touchdown in four straight games.
Rush, rush: Like Paula Abdul once sang, the Giants' defensive ends have to rush and rush some more. In the Giants' past four games, the defense has six sacks, but five came in one game (against the Packers).
Fewell said the Giants had only one sack against the Saints in part due to the scheme he employed and that his defensive ends did the job asked of them. But Osi Umenyiora knows the Giants need to start racking up more sacks.
Statement Sunday: Who wants this game more? The Giants have a slim one-game lead over the Redskins and Cowboys in the NFC East, with three games left to play.
The Falcons are 11-2 and have clinched the NFC South, but are still playing for home-field advantage and respect.
A win over the Giants –- even if it's just a regular-season game –- would help the Falcons, in terms of their reputation.
The Giants need this game more than the Falcons with a playoff spot still at stake. If they suffer a letdown, the Giants could find themselves in the same predicament as last season, when they had to win their last two games to get into the playoffs.