Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. EST, September 20
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Announcers: Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Pam Oliver
Radio: 92.9 The Game
The Atlanta Falcons head up to East Rutherford, New Jersey to take on the New York Giants. The Falcons (1-0) play their first road game, while the Giants (0-1) host an opponent for the first time this season. Atlanta has not fared well in MetLife Stadium the past two times they have played there, as they lost 24-2 in the NFC Wild Card Game in 2012. They also failed to beat the G-Men last season, as they fell 30-20 as the Giants took over the second half. But both teams are different in 2015, and Atlanta has the feel of a better football team.
Going on the road is never easy, but every team in the league has to do it. You could say the Giants should be 1-0 if RB Rashad Jennings does not score against Dallas, but it happened, and they are 0-1. The Falcons must capitalize on every opportunity they get, no matter how they do it on Sunday. New York was 3-5 in home games in 2014, so they definitely are vulnerable at their own house. If Atlanta wants to win though, they will have to play at their pace and play their brand of football.
Matt Ryan once again will play a huge factor in today’s matchup. But a unit who will have just as big, if not a bigger role, will be the Atlanta’s offensive line. The unit should fare better with the loss of Giants DE Jason-Pierre Paul. But other players such as Robert Ayers Jr., Cullen Jenkins, Devon Kennard, and other pass-rushers can find their way to be disruptive in the backfield. Running back Tevin Coleman makes his first start on the road ever, and if the offensive line can create holes for him, this offense can be dangerous. Look for Atlanta’s passing game to open up their running game on Sunday. The battle in the trenches always is a key matchup, but today is especially important if Atlanta wants to establish an effective offensive game plan.
The secondary will have their hands full in today’s matchup. Facing one of the top wide receivers in football in Odell Beckham Jr. will be tough, but they also have other receivers too. Rueben Randle, Dwayne Harris, and Larry Donnell find ways to help their quarterback, and Atlanta must find ways to contain them. Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz will not be suited up for the game, as that is a break for the Falcons. Look for Desmond Trufant to be a ball-hawk, and he will probably be the man covering Beckham throughout the football game. Ben McAdoo, New York’s offensive coordinator, always finds creative ways to get Beckham the ball, and Atlanta will have to counter that in finding ways to mess up that connection between Manning and Beckham. Mess up the timing between the two and it can create opportunities that the Falcons will be looking for.
Whether people want to believe it or not, this is one of the big games in Week 2. Atlanta looks to continue their winning ways, as New York looks to put a win on their record. The weather looks to be great, as it will be 75F and clear skies. Can the Falcons find ways to beat the Giants in MetLife though? It will be interesting to see, as it will be a great matchup between two solid football teams. The Falcons wide receivers will have to find ways to get open against the Giants secondary. Giants cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie did great in containing the Cowboys’ receivers in Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams, and they will play tough against Julio Jones and Roddy White. Do I think Atlanta can win this game? Yes, but with the losses every year in East Rutherford, I have to go with the home team.
The Pick: New York Giants 27, Atlanta Falcons 20