FALCONS-GIANTS MATCHUP; TEAMS STRONG UP FRONT
"With a chance to advance to the NFC divisional round of the playoffs, the Falcons[/i] (10-6) face
the Giants (9-7) in the wild-card
round at 1 p.m. Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Here is a look at how the Falcons'[/i] offensive line matches up
against the Giants' defensive line:
Falcons'[/i] starters: Left tackle Will Svitek, left guard Justin Blalock, center Todd McClure, right guard Joe Hawley and right tackle Tyson Clabo.
Falcons'[/i] key reserves: Tackles Sam Baker and Kirk Chambers, guard Garrett Reynolds and center Brett
Giants' starters: Left end Justin
Tuck, defensive tackles Linval Joseph and Chris Canty, and right end Jason Pierre-Paul.
Giants' key reserves: Ends Osi
Umenyiora, Justin Trattou
and Dave Tollefson, and tackles
Rocky Bernard and Jimmy Kennedy.
Matchups to watch: Svitek vs. Pierre-Paul
The Falcons[/i] will face one of the best young pass rushers in
the league in Pierre-Paul, a second-year defensive end who had a breakthrough
season with 16.5 sacks.
Pierre-Paul leads a unit that registered 48 sacks, which was tied for third
in the league. Umenyiora had nine sacks, Tuck five, Tollefson five and Canty
Pierre-Paul's emergence has been important because Tuck, a two-time Pro
Bowler, has been slowed this season by neck and groin injuries, and Umenyiora
has missed seven games because of knee and ankle injuries.
The unit had six sacks and forced a fumble in its 31-14 victory over Dallas
to clinch the NFC East title Sunday. It had five sacks in the previous week's
game against the Jets.
The Giants received a boost by the return of Umenyiora against the Cowboys; he'd missed the previous four
games with an ankle injury.
The Giants sacked Dallas quarterback Tony Romo with a four-man rush and
didn't have to manufacture pressure with their blitz packages.
In passing situations, Tuck will play some tackle in order to get three
defensive ends rushing. Also, the versatile Pierre-Paul played some linebacker
The Falcons[/i] had trouble early in the season with athletic
pass rushers before they settled on a unit.
The Falcons[/i] allowed 26 sacks during the regular season,
which was the sixth lowest in the league. Cincinnati (25), Oakland (25), New
Orleans (24), Tennessee (24) and Buffalo (23) allowed fewer.
Matchup advantage: Giants."