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NEWARK STAR LEDGER
Giants' Justin Tuck Prefers To "Get Down" In NASCAR Pass Rush Package
Excerpt: "Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell made an interesting admission this week, when he said he had not put the Giants defensive line “in the best position” to get sacks against the Saints.
Fewell explained that was not the main focus of the Giants’ strategy, and it’s hard to argue with the results of a 52-27 win. Still, it seemed like a departure from a tenet of the Giants defense in recent years.
“Yeah, I guess so,” defensive end Justin Tuck said. “I guess you’d have to ask Coach Fewell about that.”
The Giants’ sack numbers are down a bit. They have 31 through 13 games, tied for 12th in the league. Asked if it was a strange feeling to take the field with a game plan that doesn’t set up sacks, Tuck said, “What do you think?”But Tuck added, “We won the football game. So that’s all that matters.”
The Giants still affected Saints quarterback Drew Brees, pressuring him on about half of his 44 dropbacks, based on an unofficial review of the game. They aimed to keep his feet hot and move his launch point.
But Tuck said not scheming for sacks can be frustrating for the pass rushers, who along with quarterback Eli Manning have been the signature component of the Giants’ past two Super Bowl runs.
“Like I said earlier, at times it is (frustrating), and at times it’s great,” Tuck said. “That’s with any other call.” Read more...
Wilson Looking To Turn In Encore Performance vs. Falcons
Excerpt: "The news was expected, but nevertheless jolting.
The Giants Friday officially ruled out starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw for tomorrow’s showdown against the 11-2 Atlanta Falcons, due to sprained left knee he sustained last week.
Bradshaw, who suffered the injury in the first quarter of the Giants’ win over the Saints, did not practice all week and had his knee heavily wrapped as he watched Friday’s practice session.
“It would have been a reach for him to be ready,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “He thinks come game day it’s all going to straighten out for him. In this case, it’s, medically, really the only wise move.”
It will not be the first time this season the Giants’ backfield will be without Bradshaw — who leads the team in carries (196) and rushing yards (869). The six-year veteran missed the majority of their Week 2 win over the Buccaneers when he suffered a neck injury. Bradshaw also didn’t play against the Panthers four days later.
Without a proven running back behind him, the Giants turned to journeyman Andre Brown. He excelled, rushing 20 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns against the Panthers. But Brown, the victim of a broken fibula in Week 12, is now on the injured reserve list. The rushing load will now primarily fall on rookie David Wilson.
“I always have been preparing, because you never know when your opportunity is going to come and when you’re going to be the guy,” Wilson said." Read more...
Prince Amukamara Fined For Horse Collar Tackle
Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw Sits Out Third Straight Day of Practice
Excerpt: "Ahmad Bradshaw's availability for Sunday's game at Atlanta continues to look unlikely, as the Giants running back sat out his third straight day of practice today.
Bradshaw, who sprained his knee against the Saints last week, was in the fieldhouse during the portion of practice open to the media for the first time this week, but he sat off to the side. His left knee appeared to be heavily wrapped." Read more...
Falcons' Roddy White Will Be A Game Time Decision
Excerpt: "Even though Hakeem Nicks is expected to play Sunday, he will do so at less than 100 percent due to a lingering knee injury he first sustained in Week 2.
That was already going to hinder what was billed to be a marquee matchup with two of the league's premier wide receiver tandems between him and Cruz, and Roddy White and Julio Jones. But Nicks won't be the only one battling a knee injury – so too will White, if he plays at all.
White has missed both Falcons practices this week and head coach Mike Smith told reporters that White will be a game-time decision.
"We’re going to be very cautious with Roddy in terms of getting ready for the ball game,” Smith said, via the team’s website. “He will not probably do a whole lot tomorrow or Saturday, and then we’ll get him out there on Sunday and see where he’s at. But it’s hard to keep Roddy White out of a football game.” Read more...
Some Giants' Coaches Believe Redskins Loss Was A Better Performance Than Saints Win
"The Giants delivered a convincing 52-27 win against the Saints last week, but coach Tom Coughlin said that some on his staff actually thought the team's performance was better in the previous week's 17-16 loss at Washington. “That’s been said," Coughlin said in his weekly interview with Giants.com, the team's official website. "That’s been floated around in this building from the coaches, but we had nothing to show for it." The Giants had a better third-down conversion and did not turn the ball over in Washington, but were stunted with an average starting field position of their own 15-yard line. Coughlin, though, made sure to point out that the excellent starting field position at the Saints' 49-yard line last week was the result of great effort on kick returns and coming up with takeaways."
Kevin Gilbride Impressed With David Wilson But Says Rookie Still Needs "Significant Upgrading"
Excerpt: "Rookie running back David Wilson enjoyed a breakout performance in last week's 52-27 win against the Saints, amassing 327 yards of total offense and three touchdowns, one on a kickoff return and two rushing.
Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride praised the first-round pick, but cautioned that Wilson still has a long way to go.
"He’s had chances; that was the first time he’s done anything. That’s where you sometimes overlook those aspects," Gilbride said. "But again, it was great to see him do what he did, both in the special teams and the few times that he ran the ball, and we were able to give it to him at the end. He did a terrific job for us, so we’re ecstatic."
Gilbride pointed out that Wilson had just three carries for 3 yards at halftime (in addition to his 97-yard kickoff return touchdown). He was used more on offense in the second half, as Ahmad Bradshaw's playing time was curtailed due to a sprained knee, and finished the day with 13 carries for 100 yards, and touchdown runs of 6 and 52 yards.
Wilson may need to start this week with Bradshaw's status uncertain.
"He’s still got some areas that you guys won’t see that need some significant upgrading, so we can keep the entire offense going," Gilbride said. "But it was tremendous to see his dynamism, and what he was able to give us in that respect. It was a big lift." Read more...
THE NY DAILY NEWS
With Prince & Ahmad Out, Giants Turn To Pair Of Rookies
Excerpt: "The Giants’ offense won’t quite be its fearsome self on Sunday in Atlanta. But a bigger concern for the Super Bowl champs just may be this: Their defense won’t be itself, either. Wilson Flips Stance On Flips
On Friday, the Giants announced that tailback Ahmad Bradshaw, who is battling a knee sprain on top of his season-long foot issues, would not make the trip to Atlanta. But cornerback Prince Amukamara will also stay home, and against a pass-happy Falcons team in a game that Giants must win, his absence could hurt just as much.
The Giants will replace Bradshaw with rookie David Wilson, who captivated the NFL last Sunday by scoring three touchdowns against the Saints — including one on a 97-yard kickoff return — and Wilson must be ready for the next few weeks; Tom Coughlin said Bradshaw’s injury could be a “week-to-week” issue. The veteran back has fought injuries all season, but he is sitting out for only the second time.
Wilson may be the starting tailback, but that won’t change his responsibilities as the team’s starting kick returner, Coughlin said. “As far as I’m concerned, he’s going to stay there,” he said. “I’m not taking him out of that.”
Amukamara’s replacement will be Wilson’s old teammate at Virginia Tech, rookie Jayron Hosley, a third-round pick who has seen his playing time diminish in recent weeks after a series of small mistakes.
“It gives the next man up an opportunity to compete and play,” defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said of Amukamara’s hamstring injury. “The next man up would be Jayron Hosley. He’s played ball in games, so we feel confident with him, that he can go in and get the job done.”
That challenge figures to be tough, because Atlanta boasts one of football’s most dangerous aerial attacks. One week after calling for fewer compliments for opponents, even safety Antrel Rolle admitted that the Falcons are “a great offensive team” with “a lot of great weapons” and “a lot of different combinations they can go to.” Read more...
Excerpt: "“I think it’s for the team’s best interests,” he said. “I don’t want to make anyone upset or nervous or scared. I want to do something that people enjoy rather than worry about.”
So what will Wilson do if he scores against the Falcons? He’s not quite sure, he said.
“First thing is just get in the end zone,” he said. “Maybe it will be spontaneous. The main thing is just get in the end zone first.” Read more...
THE NEW YORK POST
Bennett Patterns Game After Falcons' Great
Excerpt: "Every week Giants tight end Martellus Bennett watches film of the upcoming opponent, studying its defense to detect any tendencies. That’s not uncommon. What is unique is Bennett will often track down film of Tony Gonzalez to see what tidbit he can learn from the Falcons veteran tight end.
“I study him just about every week,” Bennett said yesterday. “I look to see how he gets open and some of the things he does so I can add it to my repertoire. You wonder how a guy as he gets older continues to get open. He’s just savvy and smooth in how he runs his routes.”
Bennett will get an up close and personal look at the future Hall of Famer tomorrow when the Giants face the Falcons in Atlanta.
“He changed the position,” Bennett said. “There used to be only one Tony Gonzalez, who was big and athletic and could run routes and get open. Now there’s six or seven of them. He started it and that’s what everybody started looking for because of him.”
Bennett considers himself in that group. His stats — 49 catches for 569 yards and five touchdowns — might pale in comparison to Gonzalez’s 81 receptions for 831 yards and seven scores. But Bennett’s impact on the Giants offense has been just as meaningful.
Think back to training camp when the Giants started without tight end Jake Ballard, who suffered an extensive knee injury in the Super Bowl and was eventually waived and claimed by the Patriots.
Signed as a free agent from Dallas, Bennett arrived with a reputation of unfulfilled potential. Over his four seasons with the Cowboys, he averaged 21 catches for 211.5 yards per season, playing second fiddle to Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten. After 13 games with the Giants, Bennett has already established career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns. He’s also a capable blocker, who doesn’t mind getting physical along the line of scrimmage.
“I don’t care if I catch 10 balls a game or I catch one,” he said. “I can contribute to the game in different ways. People look at tight ends as fantasy points. You don’t get fantasy points for blocking well.” Read more...
Bradshaw Out, Leaving Rookie To Carry Load
Excerpt: "There was an alternative to the Giants’ decision to rule out Ahmad Bradshaw for tomorrow’s game against the Falcons. But Tom Coughlin said that wouldn’t have been very smart.
“In this case,” Coughlin said yesterday, “it’s, medically, really the only wise move.”
Bradshaw’s sprained knee will keep him on the sidelines tomorrow in Atlanta, after the running back was officially ruled out yesterday. That means it’s up to rookie David Wilson, who will make his first career start, doing so in a critical Week 15 game.
Bradshaw has missed only one other game this season, in Week 3 against the Panthers, and his replacement fared well — Andre Brown rambled for 113 yards and two touchdowns in the Giants’ win. Brown, though, broke his leg in Week 12. So it’s Wilson’s show.
Bradshaw sprained his knee during Sunday’s win over the Saints. He returned to the game, but didn’t practice at all this week.
“It would have been a reach for him to be ready,” Coughlin said. “With someone like that, his constitution, you have to give him every benefit of the doubt. I’m sure he’d be disappointed right now. He thinks come game day it’s all going to straighten out for him.”
Wilson is coming off a breakout performance, when he scored touchdowns on a 97-yard kick return and on runs of 6 and 52 yards, racked up four touches of at least 52 yards and rushed for 100 yards on 13 carries.
The first-round pick said he’s ready for the starting nod.
“I think I had a great week of practice,” Wilson said. “I know my assignments, and I know what to expect and just having a great week of practice and showing the coaches and building their confidence so they’re not worried and rolling in their sleep hoping that I can pull it together on Sunday.” Read more...
Giants Know Falcons Get No Respect Regardless Of 11 - 2 Record
Excerpt: "Here is the way Michael Boley views what the Falcons are all about, and he should know, considering he spent the first four years of his career playing in Atlanta:
“You got to look at it,’’ Boley said. “Just like last week before their game when you got a team that’s 3-9 calling your team out, that’s not a lot of respect at all.’’
No, not a lot of respect at all. The Panthers before last week’s 30-20 upset victory spent so much time disrespecting the Falcons you would have thought the Panthers were 11-1, instead of 3-9.
The Panthers didn’t like the way Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was caught by television cameras shouting, “Get off our field, you just lost’’ or something close to that — with some obscenities thrown in for emphasis — after a 30-28 Falcons’ victory on Sept. 30.
Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy promised “payback’’ and “punishment’’ and his club delivered ample supplies of both.
So here are the Falcons, at 11-2 owners of the best record in the NFC, having clinched the NFC South title with a full month to go in the season and no one is planning any parades down one of those streets named Peachtree something or other. There has been no sign of disrespect by the Giants, but this game hasn’t generated the same buzz as earlier matchups with the 49ers and Packers, teams considered more worthy of NFC supremacy even though the Falcons have the best record in the conference.
Boley calls the Falcons “a pretty good team’’ and acknowledges: “I don’t think people give them enough credit. They are a good team, but you got to be consistent.’’
Under Mike Smith the past three years, the Falcons are 34-11, but haven’t won a playoff game since 2004.
“That’s what it boils down to,’’ Boley said." Read more...
Giants' Wilson To Retire Back Flips For The Time Being
Excerpt: "David Wilson has backflipped out.
The Giants rookie running back and kick returner, who punctuated each of his three touchdowns last Sunday with a celebratory backflip, said on ESPN today that he’s done doing the flip, at least for this year.
“I think I’ll let that celebration go for the rest of the season,” Wilson said. “I think it’s for the team’s best interests.”
Wilson explained why, saying, “I don’t want to make anyone upset or nervous or scared. I want to do something that people enjoy rather than worry about.” Read more...Bradshaw, Phillips, Amukamara All Out For Giants
Excerpt: "The Giants will officially be without Ahmad Bradshaw, Kenny Phillips and Prince Amukamara on Sunday.
All three Giants starters were ruled out today for their game against the Falcons in Atlanta. None was a surprise since the trio didn’t practice at all this week – Bradshaw has a sprained knee, Phillips has an ongoing knee injury and Amukamara has a hamstring injury.Giants' Hosley: Falcons' Wide Receivers Struggle In Press Game
Bradshaw hurt his knee in the win over the Saints on Sunday, although he did return from it during the game. He did not work this week, though, making rookie David Wilson the starter for the Atlanta game.
“It would have been a reach for him to be ready,” Tom Coughlin said of Bradshaw." Read more...
Excerpt: "Hosley saw what he saw in the Falcons' 30-20 loss last week to the Panthers.
"It's film study, seeing their weaknesses, when I seen 'em play Carolina, I seen a guy who put hands on 'em, and it was a little difficult for them," Hosley said. "So that's something that I definitely want to do this week, just stay in their hip pocket. Just play my game, play my game." Read more...
THE BERGEN RECORD
Giants' Defensive Line In No Rush To Panic
Excerpt: "Osi Umenyiora wants everyone to stop looking at the stat sheets because the Giants promise they have done so.
The sack numbers have not been as lofty as anticipated this season for a pass rush considered one of the NFL's best, leading the New York Post to place Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul on milk cartons suggesting they were "missing" in October.=
But Umenyiora and his teammates up front still believe they are feared by the opposition.
The Giants have embraced the notion they can change games, even if they don't put quarterbacks on their backs as often as expected.
"There's nothing different about the approach to an outstanding quarterback who's had a very, very good year and his team is playing well," Tom Coughlin said. "You have to try and do something to make him uncomfortable."
Last season, the Giants were tied for third in the NFL with 48 sacks.
Through 13 games this season, they have 31 — tied for 12th in the league.
Umenyiora opted to use a baseball analogy Thursday in describing the circumstances facing the Giants' pass rushers lately.
"It's just like a guy who's a slugger, and every single time, they're throwing him balls," said Umenyiora, who registered the game's only sack when he decked Saints quarterback Drew Brees in Sunday's 52-27 victory. "They're trying to walk him. Then you ask him why he's not hitting home runs? They're trying to walk him. If they pitch him the ball, he's gonna hit a home run. … We're not getting pitches. It's really that simple. When we get the pitches, whenever we get ahead, whenever we get one-on-one blocks, we're gonna take advantage of them. But we're just not really seeing them right now."
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell indicated Thursday that, because of how the Giants chose to attack Brees, the pass rushers were sacrificing the potential of attaining personal gain for the benefit of the team.
They stayed disciplined in rush lanes, squeezed the pocket around Brees and forced him to throw passes into coverage rather than working through his natural progressions.
"They executed the game plan for what we felt like we needed to do in order to slow down that football team," Fewell said, refusing to reveal the details of his approach because the Giants will likely look to use a similar blueprint against Matt Ryan and the Falcons come Sunday afternoon in the Georgia Dome." Read more..
NEW YORK TIMES
Showing Tireless Speed, Giants' David Wilson Gets Second Shot
Excerpt: "Thirteen games into the regular season, when many bruised and battered players must will themselves onto the field, the Giants hope the fresh legs of running back David Wilson can help carry them into the playoffs.
Wilson became an afterthought early this season after he fumbled on his second professional carry and struggled with pass protection. That led the coaching staff to look to capitalize on his speed and elusiveness more as a kick-return specialist than as a running back. But injuries to the top two backs, Ahmad Bradshaw (sprained knee, foot) and Andre Brown (broken leg), have thrust Wilson, the team’s first-round draft choice from Virginia Tech, front and center again.
Wilson displayed the explosiveness that many competitors appear to lack this deep in a season when he paced the Giants’ 52-27 romp over the New Orleans Saints last Sunday, emerging as the first player in N.F.L. history to amass at least 200 kick return yards and 100 rushing yards in the same game. He totaled 227 yards on kicks, including a 97-yard touchdown scamper; he also rushed for 100 yards and 2 more scores.
Wilson now sees an advantage to the months the Giants spent smoothing his rough edges and forcing him to learn from the sideline.
While other rookies may be hitting the proverbial wall, he said he feels as though his season has barely begun.
“I haven’t been in for my oil change yet,” he said. “I don’t need one.”
The 5-foot-9, 205-pound Wilson was clocked as fast as 4.29 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He appeared to play at a faster pace than the Saints and is confident he will remain something of a blur when the Giants visit the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday and in the two remaining regular-season games after that. “I feel like I have been through, like, two college games,” he said. “I feel real fresh.” Read more...
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Giants vs. Falcons Game Preview
"On the way to their current perch atop the NFC East, the Giants convincingly defeated two other first-place teams in the conference – San Francisco and Green Bay - by a combined 51 points.
They will have an opportunity to complete a sweep of the NFC leaders on Sunday, when they visit the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome. Atlanta not only sits atop the South, but the entire conference with an 11-2 record.
More importantly than hitting the division-leader trifecta, a victory would assure that the Giants will still be in first place when they return to New Jersey. They are 8-5, one game ahead of Dallas and Washington in the tight division race. The Cowboys host Pittsburgh and the Redskins visit Cleveland this weekend.
“I think we were all very much aware of the circumstances that we’re in,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “It certainly does sharpen your focus when you know that there isn’t a whole lot of margin for error.”
The game presents any number of challenges for the Giants. First and foremost is the fact that any team nine games over .500 is playing some good football. “(That is) a very good Atlanta team, a team that has the most wins in the NFC, tied for the most wins in professional football,” Coughlin said.
The Falcons’ quarterback, Matt Ryan, is third in the league in both completion percentage (67.7) and passing yards (3,932). He throws to Roddy White and Julio Jones, whose 140 catches and 2,137 yards are the most by any NFL wide receiver tandem this season. And then there’s tight end Tony Gonzalez, whose team-high 81 catches has increased his career total to 1,230, the second-highest total in NFL history behind Jerry Rice’s 1,549.
“They’re a great offensive team,” safety Antrel Rolle said. “They have a lot of great weapons. They have a lot of different combinations they can go to and we’re just going to go out there and play our ball, play disciplined, fly around and play fast, play with a mean streak and get the job done.”
That will be particularly difficult in the Georgia Dome, where the Falcons are 6-0 this season and own a 10-game winning streak dating back to last season. They seem to play faster under the roof, thanks in part to the deafening support they get from the home crowd. On the other hand, the Giants are 3-0 in that building, though their most recent triumph there was in 2007.
Atlanta will likely take the field in a surly mood. Last week the Falcons turned in arguably their poorest performance of the year, falling behind 23-0 on their way to a 30-20 loss to the 4-9 Carolina Panthers. Atlanta has already clinched the NFC South championship, but coach Mike Smith wants his team to start postseason play with some momentum.
The Falcons might also find extra motivation in their desire to avenge a 24-2 beating they absorbed from the Giants in last year’s NFC Wild Card Game.
“They’re going to be upset about it, but it doesn’t matter,” defensive end Osi Umenyiora said. “At the end of the day we have to win this game and I think it’s more important to us than it is to them at this point. So we’re just going to go out there and try and get it.”
“I think it’s definitely going to stick with them,” Rolle said. “Those guys are going to come out, they’re going to be hunting for us and as well we’ll be hunting for them also. So it’s going to be a good game. I’m looking forward to a great matchup come Sunday.”
Of course, the memory of losing to the Giants in the 2011 playoffs didn’t help the 49ers or Packers this season, so maybe revenge isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in the NFL.
Frankly, the Giants should have more inspiration in this game. They haven’t clinched anything and a loss could severely crimp both their division title and playoff aspirations.
“These are fun,” Eli Manning said of the high-stakes game. “This is what it’s about. Late in the season, these games are important and they’re big and we’ve got to make sure we continue to play good football and making our strides and getting better each week and have great preparation and get excited for these opportunities.”
For the Giants to take advantage of this one, they must overcome injuries to some key players. The team today declared four players out of the game due to injuries: leading rusher Ahmad Bradshaw (sprained knee), cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring) and safeties Kenny Phillips (knee) and Tyler Sash (hamstring).
Bradshaw was hurt last week against New Orleans.
“It would have been a reach for him to be ready,” Coughlin said. “With someone like that, his constitution, you have to give him every benefit of the doubt. I’m sure he’d be disappointed right now. He thinks come game day it’s all going to straighten out for him. In this case, it’s, medically, really the only wise move.”
Two rookies will play key roles Sunday – first-round draft choice David Wilson will make his first NFL start for Bradshaw and third-round selection Jayron Hosley will step in for Amukamara. Coughlin said he expects Wilson to continue returning kickoffs, no surprise considering the young pro ran back four for 227 yards last week, including a 97-yard touchdown.
“As far as I’m concerned, he’s going to stay there,” Coughlin said. “How many he gets is another question. I’m not taking him out of that. Last week with the plus-49 yard line field position for the day, it was quite a bit different than the minus-15 the week before.”
Wilson said he is prepared for the double duty.
“I did it in college and I did it last game, but I had a little bit of help with Ahmad,” Wilson said. “I think the coaches can decipher if I took a long return and I’m out of breathe or anything then they’ll know how to figure it out. But I’m in shape; I’ve been working out and going through all the processes and doing it in practice. So I think I should be fine.”
*Aside from Wilson, the other running backs in uniform Sunday will be Kregg Lumpkin and ,Ryan Torain both of whom were signed on November 27, after Andre Brown fractured his fibula.
“They’ve worked hard; they’ve worked very hard at it since they’ve been here,” Coughlin said. “They have been in the classroom since they got here to catch up and they’ve done a pretty good job at it. They’ve been on (special) teams, so they know what to expect. Hopefully, if we can categorize how we use them, and their knowledge in that area is sufficient, they’ll do fine.”
*Linebacker Michael was limited in practice today and is listed as questionable.
“I think he’ll be fine,” Coughlin said.
*Four players were listed as probable: wide receiver Hakeen Nicks (knee), tight end Travis Beckum (knee), center David Baas (shoulder) and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (back). Nicks was limited and the other three players practiced fully. Coughlin said Nicks improved as the week progressed.
“I feel good and I’m ready to play,” said Nicks, who caught four passes, including a 25-yard touchdown, last week in a victory over New Orleans. “Big game. We need it. Focused on playing team ball and get the job done.”
Moments later, Nicks, who has had a sore knee for most of the season, said, “I feel real good actually right now. This week… I had a good practice today, yesterday as well. The legs are feeling pretty good, so I’m looking forward to playing.”
*The Giants-Falcons regular-season series is tied, 10-10. They last met in the regular season on Nov. 22, 2009, when the Giants won in overtime, 34-31, in Giants Stadium. Prior to that Giants triumph, the visiting team had won the previous 12 games in the series dating back to 1981, the longest such streak in NFL history. The Giants have won their last seven games in Atlanta, where they are 8-3 overall. They defeated the Falcons, 27-14, on Oct. 15, 2006 and 31-10 exactly a year later.
*The Giants are 28-16 in regular-season games played indoors, including 10-4 under Coughlin (plus 2-0 in Super Bowls). They are 3-0 in the Georgia Dome, winning in 2000, 2006 and 2007."
Giants' General Manager Jerry Reese, Man Of Many Hats
Excerpt: "While there’s a temporary lull in the bashing of New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese and how he does what he does, he is continuing to ensure that this team remains a contender for the long haul.
The NFL is in Week 15 and slowly but surely, playoff brackets are taking shape. Many teams don’t have the shot that Big Blue has before them as they remain “on the outside, looking in.” Reese’s vision -along with his approach (since 2007)- is to keep the franchise he manages on the inside track. This includes more than just sitting back and watching his players go out and execute or scouting for replacements of injured/IR’d players.
Every off season, teams are met with decisions on the hows and who’s to keep in their uniform. Solid organizations work on this all year long. Planning is crucial, as are player contracts and backups. While most of the world is focused on this week’s games and possible playoffs scenarios, Jerry Reese is behind the scenes preparing to maintain blue continuity for the future.
Rewind to this past March when the gates were unlocked for free agency and the impending NFL Draft. You remember – when many teams made their annual splashes and grabbed the biggest-named players from the available skill positions list? This was also the time when many novices (or so it seemed) spoke out about retaining certain Giants players and how there wasn’t a sound backup plan in place.
This organization isn’t brand new. They don’t approach things all willy-nilly. There’s a constant process that goes into what’s already established here. Waiting until the worst possible moment to admit there’s a problem with your team puts said team in the precarious position of constant under-achieving. Contingency plans and consistency are what Reese is all about 24/7." Read more...
Temple Offers Head Coaching Job To Giants' Assistant Offensive Line Coach Matt Ruhle
Excerpt: "We'll keep it short and sweet today. It's hard to seriously report about New York Giants football when there are so many more important things going on in our world right now. But we're going to give it a go anyway.Temple University has offered its head coaching position to New York Giants asst. offensive line coach Matt Rhule. It remains unclear if Rhule will remain a part of the Giants coaching staff for the remainder of the season, or if he will leave the team immediately (in the event he accepts the offer).
Rhule played football under Joe Paterno at Penn State University and then went on to begin his coaching career at Penn State as a volunteer assistant coach in 1998. Rhule would then bounce around to Buffalo, Western Carolinaand then arrived at Temple in 2006 to coach the defensive line. In 2008, he was promoted to offensive coordinator where he helped the Owls have some of the most usccess that the program had seen in decades." Read more...
Giants' Prince Amukamara, Ahmad Bradshaw Out Against Falcons
Excerpt: "The New York Giants are going to be relying on some rookies this Sunday in Atlanta. This afternoon, the team released the final injury report for the week. There were not any surprises that we didn't already know about. However, there are several key players that will not make the trip for Big Blue's Week 15 showdown with the Falcons.
Here is your final Week 15 injury report.
Out: Ahmad Bradshaw, Prince Amukamara, Kenny Phillips
Questionable: Michael Boley
Probable: Hakeem Nicks, Jason Pierre-Paul
The Falcons could be playing without Roddy White, which would significantly lessen the blow of not having Prince Amukamara in the lineup. However, Boley is arguably the team's most dependable linebacker. Without him in the lineup, the Giants will have trouble defending both the run and the pass without changing their personnel on every play. He's still listed as questionable, so we'll get a final determination on his status before the game on Sunday." Read more...
Falcons' Roddy White Misses Third Practice; Game The Decision Against Giants
Excerpt: "The New York Giants have a wide variety of injury problems headed into Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons, but they are not alone. The Falcons, too, have injury issues, including that of wide receiver Roddy White who has missed three straight practices this week with a knee injury.
"We’re going to be very cautious with Roddy in terms of getting ready for the ball game,” Falcons head coach Mike Smith said on Thursday. “He will not probably do a whole lot [Friday] or Saturday, and then we’ll get him out there on Sunday and see where he’s at. But it’s hard to keep Roddy White out of a football game.” Read more...
BIG BLUE VIEW
Giants vs. Falcons: What To Watch For
Excerpt: "As we try to do every Friday, let's take a look at a few things to watch Sunday when the New York Giants travel to the Georgia Dome for a critical game against the 11-2 Atlanta Falcons.[h=5]Giants' backs vs. Falcons' blitzers
OK, let's assume that Ahmad Bradshaw will not play. If I had to guess right now I think the Giants list him as 'doubtful,' and that Bradshaw (knee/foot) misses Sunday's game.
That means rookie David Wilson and his work-in-progress blocking skills will carry the bulk of the running load. I would expect increased snaps forKregg Lumpkin, particularly on third down, and I would also expect to see fullback Henry Hynoski in more one-back sets -- especially in passing situations.
Bradshaw is one of the best pass-blocking backs in football -- if not the absolute best. The Falcons, with linebackers Sean Witherspoon and Stephen Nicholas, and perhaps with occasional corner or safety blitzes, will probably test the remaining backs to see if they can take advantage of Bradshaw's absence. Will Wilson and Co. know there assignments, and will they be able to carry them out?
Eli Manning vs. Atlanta's secondary
It seems like Atlanta cornerback Asante Samuel has made a living baiting Manning into interceptions. In eight career games against the Giants Samuel has picked off Manning three times. Falcons' free safety Thomas Decoud has five interceptions, and Atlanta also has veteran cornerback Dunta Robinson. The Giants should be able to make some plays against a Falcons' secondary ranked 16th in the league (234.9 yards per game) against the pass. Provided, that is, Manning throws the ball to the correct team." Read more...
NFL Week 15 Predictions: Mikey's Crystal Ball
Excerpt: "Greetings fellow NFL fans. When it gets toward Christmas, you know and feel that the NFL season is nearing a painful conclusion. The games are usually the best of the season, the playoff scenarios ping-pong all over the place, and the playoff games are even better. But of course, there is the letdown of February and March and beyond. But hey, let's not talk about that inevitability. Let's pick some games, yo!
NY Giants at Atlanta--Since 2007, the Falcons are 32-6 at home, an .842 winning percentage, including 6-0 this season. Holy crap. But hey, we are the Super Bowl champs and annihilated these guys last year. Giants 26, Falcons 24." Read more...
Week 15 NFL Picks:
Excerpt: "Week 15 is the most wonderful time of the year—in the NFL regular season, at least. Among the six must-watch games, there are intense divisional rivalry matchups and potential playoff previews. Two of the marquee games, however, are interconference clashes between championship-rich franchises.
In the Steelers vs. Cowboys and 49ers vs. Patriots matchups, you have franchises that account for 19 of the 46 Super Bowl winners. They are the best games of one great week:
Rematch of the Week
New York Giants at Atlanta Falcons (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX). T
he Falcons had a brief 2-0 lead in the teams’ playoff matchup last season, but those were the only points they would score in a frustrating road loss. The Falcons are perfect at home in 2012 and are trying to make sure they stay there for this year’s NFC playoffs. Matt Ryan hasn’t been great in the Georgia Dome this season, but Atlanta’s defense plays a lot better there. Eli Manning and the Giants’ up-and-down offense also are due for an off game. You can bet the Falcons have heard about everyone disrespecting them and will rise up here to prove their worth.Falcons 24, Giants 17" Read more...
David Wilson Responds To Giants' Tough Love With Explosive Rise At Crucial Time
Excerpt: "They all had to learn the lessons before they got on the field. Brandon Jacobs. Derrick Ward. Ahmad Bradshaw. All three running backs turned into 1,000-yard runners for the New York Giants and helped fuel Super Bowl-winning rushing attacks, but they didn’t get the ball in their hands until they proved they could protect Eli Manning.
Jacobs was a fourth-round draft pick. Ward was signed off the New York Jets’ practice squad. Bradshaw was a seventh-round pick.
David Wilson, the 2012 first-round draft pick of the Super Bowl champion Giants, arrived with a much more impressive resume and more substantial pedigree than the others that came before him. But the job requirements remained constant and week after week, Wilson’s rookie year was a waiting game.
After he lost a fumble on his second rushing attempt in his NFL debut, Tom Coughlin assigned Wilson a seat in the head coach’s doghouse and the diminutive speedster was assigned to kickoff returns and not much else.
“Just because you’re a first-round draft pick doesn’t mean you’re ready to play or they all would be great,” running backs coach Jerald Ingram said during the Giants’ bye week in mid-November. “It’s about winning games—it’s not a popularity contest. It’s time for you to grow up and be a man now and see what you can do with the whole ball of wax. Until he proves that, it’s hard to stick him out there and feel comfortable.”
The waiting was the hardest part for Wilson—he had just 18 rushing attempts in the first 10 games as Bradshaw and Andre Brown carried the load—but he handled it without complaint. He and the Giants were finally rewarded in Week 14 in a convincing 52-27 rout of the Saints." Read more...
Folger's Forecast: Giants vs. Falcons
Excerpt: "The biggest thing missing from the Giants of 2012 is consistency. It’s obvious that they can play with anyone. The Giants seem to need an opponent that gets their attention, which certainly bodes well if/when they reach the playoffs. All of which makes this week’s game against an 11-2 Falcons team a likely “up” performance from this very up-and-down team.
The Falcons have won a lot of close games against marginal competition; therefore, they don’t get a lot of respect. This week will be a big opportunity to correct that situation. Revenge for last year’s playoff loss is also likely on their minds. However, because they have such a big divisional lead, this is not a must-win game for the Falcons. The Giants are in a much more desperate mode.
Giants on Offense
Last week’s 52-point explosion came against a woeful New Orleans defense. Atlanta’s defense is not all that great either. The Giants should be able to move the ball and dictate terms, especially if they can run the ball. Though it’s not always a necessity, a running game sure makes a quarterback’s job that much easier.
The running back situation is most intriguing. With Ahmad Bradshaw’s knee injury, a heavier burden could be placed on David Wilson’s shoulders. We don’t think he’s quite yet ready for starter snaps, but it will be interesting to see how the coaches use him. The more touches this rookie gets, the more we worry about ball security.
If Bradshaw can’t go, then Ryan Torain would dress but we suspect Kregg Lumpkin would be next up in the rotation. Lumpkin has the size for short yardage and has already been given some shotgun snaps, so the coaches have some confidence in him. However, all eyes will be on Wilson every time he’s on the field. Wilson certainly has the fans excited.
All this attention on Wilson could help open things up for the passing game. Despite Eli Manning’s two bad interceptions last week, he played a very good game. We’re waiting for Manning to enter that “playoff mode” zone, which is when his focus rises to optimum levels. The efficiency of his playoff numbers makes his regular season numbers appear pedestrian. Manning has also had a lot of success throwing the ball indoors.
The Giants’ tackles will be tested by defensive end John Abraham’s edge speed. Abraham leads Atlanta with ten sacks. Look for the Falcons to line him up over David Diehl’s outside shoulder on most every snap. Manning will have to identify Abraham and make sure he’s doubled.In the secondary the Falcons’ safeties have nine interceptions, while old friend and Giants nemesis Asante Samuel is still watching, waiting and lurking. However, he’s banged up and may be limited." Read more...
THE RED ZONE.
Victor Cruz: Giants Best Backed Against A Wall
Excerpt: "Victor Cruz said this is right where the New York Giants want to be -- in a tight race for their playoff lives. Forget the strategy of rolling through the regular season and getting that first-round bye. The Giants prefer the grimy way.
"We have a group of guys that never want to back down," Cruz said on "NFL AM" on Friday. "I think it takes us to be backed up against the wall in order for our best to come out."I know it's unfortunate. I know coach (Tom) Coughlin doesn't like it very much. But it's something that we've been accustomed to doing, and I think it's going to hold true this year as well."
The Giants had to win their final two games to sneak into the 2011 playoffs with a 9-7 record. Those two victories began the run to Indianapolis and a Super Bowl victory. The Giants currently hold a one-game lead over the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys with a 8-5 record in the NFC East. The Giants could win the division or miss the playoffs entirely.
"Every year at this time, people count us out, nobody picks us and then we go on this tremendous run to win the Super Bowl," Cruz said. "We're right where we want to be. Nobody's talking about us, and we want to continue to keep this trend going of the last year." Read more...
Boley Makes Trip To Atlanta
Excerpt: "Giants linebacker Michael Boley (back) made the trip to Atlanta, according to the Giants. The linebacker is the one Giant who was classified as questionable for the game, so it seems Boley is on the right path to playing Sunday." Read more...
Countdown Daily Prediction: Giants vs. Falcons - WATCH VIDEO
W2W4: Giants At Falcons
Excerpt: "The last time they saw each other, the Giants crushed the Falcons in the playoffs last January to start their Super Bowl run.
Now the Falcons are looking for payback. Here are five things to watch for on Sunday:
Flip out:David Wilson gave us a glimpse of what he's capable of last week against the Saints.
With Ahmad Bradshaw ruled out this week with a sprained knee, Wilson will start, and should be in line for even more touches. Until last week against Carolina, Atlanta had allowed at least one rushing touchdown in four straight games, and 100-yard rushers in three of those four games.
While offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said he liked what he saw from Wilson, don’t be surprised to see Kregg Lumpkin get some snaps on third downs and passing situations, and perhaps Ryan Torain as well.
But it will be exciting to see what Wilson does for an encore against the Falcons.
Dirty birds: The Giants' secondary will be put to the test by Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez.
With Prince Amukamara ruled out with a hamstring injury, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said rookie cornerback Jayron Hosley is ready to step up. Hosley has struggled at times in the nickel package, but Fewell said he has confidence Hosley will be fine on the outside and will start.
The Giants found ways to slow down the Packers' and Saints' aerial attacks in recent weeks, and they’ll have to do the same against the Falcons' talented wide receiver duo. And Jacquian Williams and perhaps Antrel Rolle will have to find a way to contain Gonzalez, especially in the red zone." Read more...
Victor Cruz Has Something To Prove
Excerpt: "Victor Cruz was supposed to be in for a "rude awakening."
Once NFL defenses got a taste of the salsa dance last year, Roddy White naturally figured things would get much tougher for Cruz the second time around.
The Falcons receiver also said in September that Cruz is a slot receiver and not one of the "big boys" who "play on the outside."
Cruz won't say exactly how he feels about what White said, other than pointing out back in September that he has a Super Bowl ring. But after posting a 1,000-yard season and scoring nine touchdowns for the second straight year, Cruz figures his numbers should silence his critics."Without saying it verbally, yes," Cruz said with a smile, when asked if his stats this season should quiet White and any other doubters. "It is an honor to play for this team, and to come from the way I came up and to have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. If you were to tell me that five or 10 years ago, I wouldn't have believed you."If White still doesn't believe in Cruz, the Giants receiver hopes to show what he is capable of Sunday when the Giants travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons in a rematch of an NFC wild-card playoff game last January." Read more...
Nicks Feels Good, Ready For Falcons
Excerpt: "As he's been hampered by foot and knee issues this season,Hakeem Nicks has continually said he's feeling better each week. Even this week, as Nicks sat out a day to manage his injuries, the wide receiver believes he's on the right path.
"I feel real good actually right now," Nicks said Friday. "This week ... I had a good practice today, yesterday as well. The legs are feeling pretty good, so I'm looking forward to playing."
Coming into the week, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said the team was going to have to slow it down with Nicks. The receiver missed Wednesday before having limited practices on Thursday and Friday. Nicks said he's been doing the reps in practice he needs to be on the same page with quarterback Eli Manning, and believes the slowed down schedule has been beneficial.
"I feel good and I'm ready to play," Nicks said. "Big game. We need it. Focused on playing team ball and get the job done." Read more...
Week 15 Predictions: Giants vs. Falcons
All but one picks Giamts????
PFT's Week 15 Picks:
Excerpt: "Three weeks remain, and I’ve gradually built the lead back to four games.
But MDS has a chance to trim the gap down to one, if he’s right and I’m wrong on the three games on which we disagree.
And yes, Raiders fans, after four weeks of picking your team to lose, getting the exact score of two games right, missing a third exacta by one point, and correctly predicting the Raiders’ point total in all four games, MDS is picking your team to win this week.
Our picks on all Week 15 games appear below. (Then again, where the hell else would they be?)
For last week, I eked out the win, 11-5 to 10-6. For the year, I’m 134-73-1, a 64.4 percent accuracy rate. MDS is 130-77-1, which keeps him at 62.5 percent.
GIANTS AT FALCONS
MDS’s take: The Falcons are still the favorites to earn home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, but I think the Giants are the better team. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Giants win in Atlanta in December and then do it again in January.
MDS’s pick: Giants 30, Falcons 20.
Florio’s take: The Falcons need a win to prove they can win in the playoffs. The Giants need a win to help ensure they’ll get to the playoffs. This one feels like the NFC version of Texans-Patriots.
Florio’s pick: Giants 31, Falcons 21." Read more...
Ahmad Bradshaw Out For Sunday
Excerpt: "David Wilson had better get ready to do some more backflips.
Giants starting tailback Ahmad Bradshaw has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Falcons with a knee injury, according to Art Stapleton of the Bergen Record." Read more...
Giants Counting On More From Their Rookies
Excerpt: "It appears the Giants will need more from their rookie class than they did in last season’s championship run when injuries and incubation time prevented most of the first-year players in 2011 from making significant impacts. No such luck this time around — the Giants are asking for more from their rookie class.
First-round RB David Wilson has shed the fumbling and pass-protection issues (for a game, anyway) and is coming off a game in which he was the first NFL player to rush for 100 yards and return more than 200 yards worth of kickoffs, also scoring three TDs along the way. He’ll figure to be a key element on offense and special teams down the stretch, starting with Sunday at Atlanta if starting RB Ahmad Bradshaw can’t play. Bradshaw’s myriad injuries concern the Giants beyond this week, too.
Second-round WR Rueben Randle has been in and out of the mix this season. He played only one play on offense (none on special teams) in the Week 14 blowout of the Saints after playing 42 offensive snaps in Week 13 and 20 (including a TD catch) in Week 12. Randle has been used on punt returns, where he has been a bit shaky at times. Still, you figure they'll have to use him at some point more heavily as a receiver, especially with Victor Cruz getting beaten up and Hakeem Nicks battling through his own share of ailments." Read more...
PFF Pick 'Em: Week 15
Excerpt: "Hitting on only three of six consensus picks in Week 14, the staff is looking to rebound and has tabbed four across-the-board winners this week. Getting the call are New Orleans (at home against Tampa Bay), Miami (at home against Jacksonville), Detroit (visiting Arizona), and perhaps surprisingly, New England playing host to San Francisco in a potential Super Bowl matchup." Read more..
All but one picks the Falcons
Cowboys DT Ratliss Unlikely To Return This Season
ESPN Suspends Commentator Rob Parker For Comments About Redskins' QB Robert Griffin III
RG III Questionable After Practicing Again