Two struggling NFC teams take the field Monday night when the Giants take on the Falcons. The Falcons lead the all time series 12-11, and the 2 have split their last 4 matchups.
The Giants were dominated last Thursday 34-13 by the Eagles. In week 4, they were defeated 33-18 by the Saints, and lost on a last second field goal 33-31 to the Panthers in week 5.
The Falcons survived a furious Bucs comeback last week to win 34-29. In week 4, they were outlasted by the Bengals 37-36, and got smoked 41-17 to the Steelers in week 5.
Bovada has the Falcons as 4.5 point favourites, with an O/U total of 54.5.
New York Giants
Week 7, Eli Manning is still bad, the Giants drafted a QB in the 4th round, and he doesn’t even dress. Against the Eagles, Manning threw the ball 43 times, completing 24 for 281 yards and an INT. On passes travelling at least 10 yards in the air, Manning was a dismal 2/10. Odell Beckham Jr. was held to just 7.3 YPC, although he was open multiple times and was missed.
Saquon Barkley was the equalizer for the Giants, catching 9 balls for 99 yards. What is even better, is that he had 117 yards after the catch, meaning his average depth of target had to be around 4 or 5 yards in the backfield. Barkley also had a huge day on the ground, carrying just 13 times for 130 yards and a TD, including a gamebreaking run of 50 yards. The right side of the line with Chad Wheeler and Patrick Omameh continues to struggle, allowing 11 pressures and 3 hits between them.
Olivier Vernon returned and gave the front 7 a much needed pass rush boost, providing 6 pressures and a sack. Outside of Vernon, they lack any semblance of a pass rush. Landon Collins continues to be an elite box safety, flying around the field and stuffing runners at the line of scrimmage. Eli Apple has struggled in coverage since returning from injury, allowing 180 yards on 13 catches over the last 2 weeks.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
EDGE Olivier Vernon (ribs)- questionable, OT Nate Solder (neck)- questionable
The Falcons are gonna have to outscore people, as their defense is really banged up at this point. Matt Ryan has performed well outside of that week 1 debacle, and last week put up 3 TDs, and 354 yards on an efficient 31/41 passing. One of the biggest mysteries of the season is how Julio Jones is yet to find the endzone, even though he already has over 700 yards and 44 receptions. He torched Tampa Bay for 147 yards on 10 catches, and his counterpart Mohamed Sanu had a nice catch and run for a 35 yard TD. Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith combined for 21 carries for 57 yards, and 3 catches for 5 yards.
Takk McKinley is really coming into his own in his second season, and tallied 6 pressures last week. The secondary as a whole has not performed up to standard this year, although they are still very talented at the corner position.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
WR Calvin Ridley (ankle) – questionable, WR Mohamed Sanu (hip) – questionable, DT Grady Jarrett (ankle) – questionable
The limitations of Eli Manning make it hard to have any confidence in this Giants team. Saquon Barkley is an incredible talent, and OBJ is one of the best wide receivers in the league, but you can’t take advantage of them with a noodle arm at QB. The Falcons can still get after the QB in a variety of ways, which will make Eli uncomfortable and force him into some bad spots much like last week.
The Falcons offense is still one of the better units in the league. We know they can air it out to guys like Julio and Calvin Ridley, but they are going to have to find more consistency in the run game if they want to control this game. The Giants defense lacks any difference makers outside of Landon Collins, who can be gameplanned around. We expect another huge Julio game, and Atlanta to get the running backs more involved in the pass game. This line has actually moved quite a bit in favor of the Giants, but at 4.5 we like the Falcons to cover handily at home here.
Final Pick: Falcons (-4.5)