New York Giants vs. Atlanta Falcons Preview and Pick

New York Giants (3-2) -4, o/u 44 at Atlanta Falcons (1-4), 8:30 pm Eastern Monday, ESPN
by Zman of

The New York Giants go looking for their fourth win in a row while the Atlanta Falcons will look to give their season some kind of meaning when the two teams meet Monday night at the Georgia Dome on ESPN.

New York started 0-2 this season, but since then has won at Washington and beaten Philadelphia and, last week, the Jets 35-24. So the Giants sit at 3-2 and tied for second place in the NFC East, a game and a half back of the division-leading Dallas Cowboys.

Atlanta, on the other hand, is 1-4 after falling at Tennessee last week 20-13. The Falcons are tied for last place in the NFC South, 2 games behind 4-2 Tampa Bay and Carolina.

Atlanta had lost its first three games of this season, but beat Houston 26-16 two weeks ago. The Falcons then had chances last week to pull out a win vs. the Titans, but gave up a TD on an INT return (they returned a fumble for a score earlier in the game themselves) and got stymied on a first-and-goal from the one in the waning moments. Atlanta outrushed Tennessee 99-92, but managed just 99 yards passing. The Falcons also missed three field goals, but they came from 48, 50 and 53 yards.

So on the season, Atlanta has scored a grand total of 69 points over its first five games.

These two teams met last October in Peach City, when New York beat the Falcons 27-14 as three-point road underdogs. The Giants, led by the now-retired Tiki Barber, outrushed Atlanta 259-223 on their way to rallying from a 14-3 third-quarter deficit. Michael Vick, who’s also off doing his own thing these days rather than playing football, ran for 68 yards for the Falcons that day, and 90 other of Atlanta’s rushing yards came on one Warrick Dunn TD dash. The game pushed its total of 41.

This season New York is 3-2 against the spread, and 1-1 both straight up and vs. the numbers on the road.

On the other side, Atlanta, despite its 1-4 mark, is also 3-2 ATS, and is 1-1 both SU and vs. the numbers at home.

On average, the Giants are getting outscored this season about 25-24 (rounding off), but are outgaining their opponents by a 333-315 yards-per-game margin and outrushing foes 117-95.

The Falcons are getting outscored 20-13, outgained 325-291 and outrushed 121-92.

Also, New York ranks 12th in the league with an average time-of-possession of 30:46, while Atlanta ranks 14th at 30:28.

Giants QB Eli Manning has completed 59% of his passes this season and owns both a 9/6 TD/INT ratio and an 82.7 passing rating.

Falcons QB Joey Harrington, who was replaced late in last week’s game at Tennessee by Byron Leftwich, has hit on 67% of his throws this year and owns a 4/3 TD/INT ratio and a respectable 87.3 passing rating.

The o/u is 3-2 in New York games this season, which are averaging 49 points per, while the totals are 2-3 in Atlanta games, which are averaging 34 points.

The Falcons will be without both starting offensive tackles, and will start two rookies on the O-line.

The Giants opened up as 3 1/2-point road chalk for Monday night’s game, with a total of 43. But New York has been bet up to 4 and even 4 at many outlets, and the total has been bumped up to 44. Also, the G-Men are listed at around -225 on the moneyline, with Atlanta getting +190 as home dogs.

The Zman Pick: We’re in kind of a dilemma here. There are two conflicting things that we’re not very happy about. 1. Manning has historically had issues vs. Atlanta. 2. Atlanta is missing half their offensive line which should mean that the Giants good pash rush should be beating ATL up good. The Giants aren’t as much of an “easy winner” as most think, but we’re going to side with them here due to the offensive line being so important in a game and the Falcons having a depleted one. Grab this one quick before it goes up to a touchdown.