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Falcons vs. Giants

NFC Wild Card Playoff Pick

1/8/12

The Giants host the Falcons at Giants Stadium on Sunday at 1pm est. in an NFC Wild Card matchup. The 9-7 Giants are currently listed as -3 point home favorites with a posted total of 47 at betonline.

These two teams had very similar seasons. Both were blown out by the Saints, although the Falcons did come within 3 in one of their games. Both lost to the Packers, with the Giants coming within 3. For the most part, each of these teams either won, or lost, close games all year long.

Statistically, they are fairly even in several major categories. They each averaged 25 points per game. The Falcons gave up 22 while the Giants gave up 25. Despite the presence of Michael Turner for the Falcons and Bradshaw and Jacobs for the Giants, neither team has excelled running the football this year with the Giants ranking 32nd and the Falcons 17th (Turner #3 rusher in NFL). Place the blame on the offensive lines of both teams.

Their passing games are fairly even behind the arms of two of the better QB's in the league while the Giants hold an edge defending the run, ranking 6th in the NFL with 97 yards per game allowed on average to the Falcons 121 yards per game, good for 19th overall. The yards per point numbers here, as you might expect, are dead even. Both teams mediocre on both sides of the ball with ypp numbers of 15, both offensively and defensively.

So with all things being relatively equal, we have to dig a little deeper in order to find a potential pointspread winner here. The best place to start is with the captain of the ship, the QB's. Sure, both Manning and Ryan are having good years and both are among the best out there, but only one has ever won a playoff game and that would be Mr. Manning. In fact, as we all know, Eli not only won playoff games, but also an NFC Title game and the Super Bowl in one of the most memorable playoff runs in the history of the NFL. "Matty Ice" is 0-2. He was one and done, twice.

You'll also likely here quite a bit about Matt Ryan being 43-19 as a starter in the NFL. Not too shabby, but break it down a bit further. He's 24-4 at home but a mediocre 17-15 on the road. Last we checked there was no dome over Giants Stadium. Oh, and did we mention 0-2 in playoff starts? Yeah, I guess we did.

The Giants seem to be coming together at just the right time. They have essentially played 3 playoff games already. Must win games at Dallas, against the Jets and then last week hosting Dallas. The Giants won them all, the last two with exclamation points and wide margins and they did it on the arm of Manning as well as a pass rush that looks as though it has finally come out of hiding and is finally playing up to expectations.

Look, this is a football game with high stakes, between two good, solid football teams with not much separating them as far as talent. The game is going to come down to the intangibles and the little things that mean a lot in big spots. We'll side with a proven playoff winner in Eli Manning, with the home field edge and a team that appears to be jelling as if on cue. Giants -3

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