This matchup was a lot sexier when the schedules were being made. Nobody expected the Giants and the Falcons to combine for three wins over the first six weeks. Nonetheless, they were given Monday Night Football for week 7, and the show must go on.
Despite their poor records, this game has the opportunity to be wildly entertaining because of their contrasting styles of play. The Falcons have been a tale of two stories. On offense, they might be the best in all of football, especially at home, where they are averaging more than 34 points per game. Meanwhile, the defense has been sad to watch without the likes of Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, and several others.
That should allow the Giants, who have only managed to score over 20 points once all season, the opportunity to know what it feels like to reach the end zone. From the opening snap, the G-Men will be leaning heavily on #2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. Barkley has proven he will be a star in the league if he is not already as a rookie. There is rarely a time where he is brought down by the first defender, which spells major trouble for a Falcons defense that has well-documented tackling problems.
Virtually every running back, from Alvin Kamara to Peyton Barber, has had a field day when facing the Atlanta defense. That has been the case even more so against running backs that are dual threats. Barkley is the definition of such a threat, and you don’t have to look very far in the past to notice that. In last week’s Thursday night loss to the Eagles, Barkley ran the ball 13 times for 113 yards and caught 9 passes for 99 yards. He is going to be a headache for the Falcons the entire 60 minutes.
New York will, not only cruise past the 20-point mark on Monday, they will eclipse 30 points against a defense that can’t stop anyone.
That means it is going to be on the shoulders of Matt Ryan and this Atlanta offense to get the job done again. The positive thing about that: Ryan has been unstoppable at home.
Take a look at these ridiculous numbers:
Matt Ryan at Mercedes-Benz stadium in 2018: 76.2% completion, 1,419 yards (355 ypg), 13 touchdowns and 1 INT.
Atlanta’s offense has been flat out automatic in their building, and there is no reason that should change with a suspect Giants defense in their way.
Both Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley exited last Sunday’s game with injuries and did not return. However, they are expected to be ready for this primetime matchup and should be in for a big day. The Giants don’t have the bodies in the secondary to slow down the Atlanta receivers, so there best hope will be getting after Matt Ryan. The Falcons haven’t been great at protecting their quarterback, but have been much better at home and should be up to the task against the Giants pass rush.
Here are the scores of the four Falcons home games thus far:
Falcons 31, Panthers 24
Falcons 37, Saints 43 (OT)
Falcons 36, Bengals 37
Falcons 34, Buccaneers 29
Every single game, regardless of opponent, has gone down to the final seconds. The Giants are probably worse than all of the aforementioned teams, but Atlanta has not proven they can put anybody away. Look for the Falcons to jump out to an early double-digit lead, and for the Giants to slowly work there way back into it with numerous dump off passes to Barkley and quick looks to Odell Beckham Jr. By the time the two-minute warning arrives in the 4th quarter, you can bet it will be a one-score game, and the Giants will probably have the ball.
With that being said, the Falcons should find a way to beat a lowly Giants team in a must-win game at home. It’s not going to be easy, but the Falcons squeak by on a game-winning field goal by the newly signed Giorgio Tavecchio, because why not.
Falcons 37, Giants 34