2012 Wild Card Prediction: Atlanta Falcons vs New York Giants
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
by BetOnline Sportsbook
The NFL betting players have an intriguing choice to make for Sunday’s NFC wild-card matchup between Atlanta Falcons and the New York Giants, and it really boils down to one thing: Eli Manning or Matt Ryan? Lean towards the player that has guided their team to a Super Bowl, while the other has stumbled in the playoffs.
Why Bet On Atlanta Falcons (10-6 SU, 7-7-2 ATS)
The Falcons finished the regular season with three wins in their last four games to wrap up the No.5 seed in the NFC, but some would say they padded their numbers against bad teams as the Falcons beat teams like Minnesota, Carolina, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay in the second half of the season, while losing twice to New Orleans and on the road in Houston.
Quarterback Matt Ryan finished the season eighth in passer rating and everyone knows he is a solid pivot, but he has to lift his game on the road as he has a 102.9 rating at home, but only 84.6 away from the Georgia Dome. It isn’t like he doesn’t have the weapons with receivers Roddy White, Julio Jones and Harry Douglas, along with tight end Tony Gonzalez and running back Michael Turner coming out of the backfield. Atlanta is sixth in the NFL against the run, but only 20th against the pass and their secondary is going to be targeted by the Giants.
It may be even worse as the Falcons may be without cornerback Brent Grimes (knee) and linebacker Stephen Nicholas (knee) is doubtful, but Atlanta’s remaining defenders have to pull it together because they’re facing a New York offense that can be explosive. The offense will have to carry their weight, but the line has to protect Ryan against a fierce pass rush. The Atlanta line has been called out for dirty play this season and most recently, by Justin Tuck of the Giants, so they have to be tough, but within the rules because Atlanta can’t afford penalties.
Why Bet On New York Giants (9-7 SU. 8-7-1 ATS)
Some NFL betting players would suggest for you to stay away from the Giants, who started out strong, had a poor stretch in the middle of the season and then finished strong to win the NFC East, although they also needed a couple of collapses by the Dallas Cowboys to get there.
Quarterback Eli Manning may have had his best season as a professional, finishing seventh in passer rating, and he has a solid group of receivers with Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz, who may be the surprise of the season and is a threat to score each time he catches the ball. The passing game has had to be on top of its game as the Giants are 32nd in rushing and the duo of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs have been incredibly disappointing. The defense has been inconsistent, especially against the pass, where they are 29th in the NFL, but the emergence of end Jason Pierre-Paul as a terror has been fun to watch. If the Falcons can’t control him, they’re in for a long day, especially Ryan and Turner.
Tight end Jake Ballard (knee) is the main injury worry, but he says he’ll be fine and the Giant should have all hands on deck for this wild-card game, a game that a lot of people figured the Giants would be out of after their midseason slump, but they came together as a team, never gave up and here they are, hosting a playoff game. This is a team full of veterans that have been in these types of pressure situations and they thrive on this time of year. This is a dangerous team that NFL betting players should really consider.
How It Will Play Out
NFL betting lines have the Giants as a 3-point favorite at home, and they’re 3-2 SU and 2-3 ATS in their last five meetings with the Falcons since 2003, with four falling under the posted total. Three of those games were in New Jersey, with the Giants going 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS.
Ryan is the key to this game as he has to be great on the road to get his team to the next round, and we’re not quite sure he can raise his game to that level. Meanwhile, we’ve seen Manning do it a few times and he’ll outplay Ryan, even though it would be good if the Giants could run the ball, even a little bit to keep the Falcons off balanced. We’re taking the home team and riding with the Giants to cover the NFL betting spread.
Falcons Giants Betting Pick: The Giants
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