HERE NOW THE NEWS
THE DATA WILL UPDATE THROUGHOUT THE DAY AND SHOW THE UPDATE TIME IN THE HEADER.
NFC EAST DIVISION CHAMPIONS
NEWARK STAR LEDGER
GIANTS' JAKE BALLARD CERTAIN HE'LL PLAY
Excerpt: "Giants tight end Jake Ballard said
the biggest test to see whether he would play Sunday would be going through
Thursday’s practice smoothly. He was able to do that and practiced again today
and is certain he’ll take the field against the Atlanta Falcons.
“Absolutely. No doubt (I’m playing),” he said.
“He seemed to have ended on an up note,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “He moved
well today so I am very optimistic about that, too.”
Ballard has missed two games after partially tearing the posterior cruciate
ligament in his knee against Washington in Week 15. He is listed as probable on
the injury report and expects to play at “full speed.”
“It’s not going to be feel 100 percent, but it feels better than it did a
week ago,” he said.
He doesn’t plan to wear a knee brace, but expects to have his knee wrapped
and wear extra padding.
“If I put a big brace on it, it might slow me down,” he said. “I’m already
not fast to begin with.”
RB D.J. Ware had an Atlanta Hawks cap in his locker,
representative of his Atlanta-area roots. Ware grew up in Rockmart, Ga., about
40 minutes northwest of the city, but never called himself a Falcons fan.
“I would say I was a Deion Sanders fan, but I wasn’t really a fan of the
team,” Ware said. “I was too busy worrying about me and making myself better to
be a fan.”
The fifth-year running back out of the University of Georgia said a few
friends from college have reached out to him on Facebook saying they were
rooting for him individually, but the Falcons to win the game.
In order for that to happen the Falcons will have to stop the Giants run
game, which has picked up lately. Ware has been effective in his third-down
running back role and ran for 15 yards on two carries last week against
“We’re running the ball well and I’m just happy to help out where I can,
whether it be picking up blitzes, catching it out of the backfield or running
it,” he said." Read more...
GIANTS-FALCONS GAME PREVIEW: A LOOK AHEAD AT WHAT SHOULD BE A CLOSE PLAYOFF GAME
"Usually, by this point in a regular-season week, we've talked about most of
the coming game but have left a few dangling keys and matchups.
This week, we've covered Giants-Falcons from top to bottom.
So let's just do a quick brush-up on a few things, with some added analysis
by me where I can provide it, and get to your opinions, predictions and insights
* * * *
SUNDAY'S GAME: vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m., Fox
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Offense: I recall watching the Falcons' game against the
Saints two weeks ago and hearing Jon Gruden say New Orleans wanted to make CB
Brent Grimes tackle. It was Grimes' first game back since
having knee surgery a few weeks prior.
Well, Grimes then sat out this past weekend's game and two practices this
week. He returned to work today and is listed as questionable, though I'd highly
doubt he'll sit out on Sunday. So why not make him tackle again? The Giants have
a couple of guys who are tough to tackle in RBs Brandon Jacobs
and Ahmad Bradshaw, so that could be a nice way to soften
Grimes up early. Get those guys to the edge and see how the undersized,
banged-up guy responds.
Also, the Giants might be wise to throw some "now" routes (quick throws at
the line) with WR Hakeem Nicks - if he gets the chance to see
Grimes. Nicks is a physical guy, so he could be an issue. Plus, there's that
receiver screen they like to throw to RB D.J. Ware, which could
be effective. And if WR Victor Cruz is covered by Grimes, well
his shiftiness could be a problem for that achy knee.
Long story short, the Falcons are at a disadvantage because Grimes is
hurting. Let's see if the Giants try to attack that potential weak spot.
Defense: You have to give the Falcons credit. They went out
and tried to get their hands on A.J. Green in the draft but couldn't get to him
before the Bengals did. Sensing the need to add another target for QB Matt Ryan,
they stayed aggressive and traded up for WR Julio Jones. They
wanted to create matchup nightmares for opposing defenses who had to deal with
Jones, WR Roddy White and TE Tony
Now, after a very good rookie season for Jones (54 catches for 959 yards and
eight touchdowns in 13 games played), they have exactly what they want heading
into Sunday's game against the Giants.
Okay, so how do the Giants defend it? Whom does CB Corey
Webster cover? He's been the guy to match
up against an opposing team's No. 1 receiver for much of the year and has
been very successful at times. Still, the Giants didn't play the matchup game
against the Cowboys' balanced group of receivers this past weekend. (For most of
the game, though they seemed to match up Webster on WR Dez Bryant in no-huddle
situations.) And I don't think they'll do it here, either.
In doing some research, it sounds like they might have Webster and CB
Aaron Ross play sides and however the Falcons line up, so be
it. That's actually a pretty wise approach, I think, because you get to have
each guy play the side on which he's most comfortable - Ross on the right,
Webster on the left. And it's not like either guy is a slouch, so there's really
not a clear No. 1 there. I do think Webster has to do a good job of stopping
Jones from getting vertical quickly when he lines up against him. If that guy
gets going into a deep route easily, look out.
As for Gonzalez, you're going to have to let LBs Michael
Boley and Jacquian Williams cover him and just pray
they show up ready to play. They have at times, and I thought Boley did a pretty
decent job against the Pats' Rob Gronkowski earlier this year, so to devote an
extra man to Gonzalez with White and Jones on the outside would be a mistake, in
THE LINE: Giants by 3. Over-under 47.
THE PREDICTION: I've given only a general feel for things in
the blog this season instead of exact scores but after my call of 31-13 Giants
last week (just 1 point off the final), the pressure's on. I'll say 27-24 Giants
ONE MORE THING: Falcons LB Curtis Lofton might be one of the
more under-appreciated defensive players in the league. This guy can hit and
isn't bad in coverage, either. Keep an eye on No. 50, particularly when the
Giants try to run the ball right up the gut. I wouldn't mind seeing him and
Jacobs go 1-on-1 a few times to see who wins that battle."FALCON'S INJURY REPORT: LB STEPHEN NICHOLAS DOUBTFUL, CB BRENT GRIMES QUESTIONABLE
"The Atlanta Falcons finished practice yesterday a lot more confident their top
cornerback will be available tomorrow against the Giants.
Brent Grimes, who missed the team’s regular-season finale against the Tampa
Bay Buccaneers, missed practice Wednesday as a precautionary measure due to a
knee issue but practiced on a limited basis Thursday and yesterday.
“It’s the playoffs, so I need to be out there helping the team,” Grimes said.
“My knee feels good, and today was all about getting my timing down in
The team officially listed him as questionable for tomorrow, but Grimes is
likely to start.
The only Falcons player listed as doubtful is linebacker
Stephen Nicholas, who was off to the side with the training staff yesterday
working through a toe injury.
All of the following players are listed as probable and are
expected to play tomorrow: DE John Abraham (non-injury related), DT Jonathan
Babineaux (hamstring), RB Mike Cox (finger), WR Harry Douglas (groin), TE Tony
Gonzalez (non-injury related), DT Peria Jerry (calf), WR Julio Jones (thumb), TE
Reggie Kelly (back), LB Curtis Lofton (ankle), C Todd McClure (non-injury
related), WR Kerry Meier (groin), S William Moore (groin), CB Christopher Owens
(hand), TE Michael Palmer (knee), RB Jason Snelling (knee), RB Michael Turner
(groin), LB Sean Weatherspoon (head) and WR Roddy White (hip).
Abraham, Gonzalez and McClure are typically rested early in the practice week
but have to appear on the report as non-injury-related absences."
GIANTS' JUSTIN TUCK DOESN'T PRACTICE BUT IT ISN'T A CONCERN
Excerpt: "Justin Tuck didn't practice today due to a shoulder injury he aggravated
against the Cowboys last week, but Tom Coughlin said he was just sore and it
isn't a concern. He is listed as probable for Sunday's playoff game against
Tuck has battled injuries all season -- from his neck down to a toe -- but
turned the corner over the final two weeks of the regular season by fighting
through the pain mentally, as he put it. Last week against the Cowboys, after
suffering the shoulder injury, he sacked Tony Romo to force a fumble.
Tuck wouldn't talk to reporters, who asked him several times about the injury
and his status. All he offered was a "no comment."
TE Jake Ballard went through today's practice without a setback and said he
expects to go "full speed" against the Falcons. Ballard hasn't played since
partially tearing his PCL against Washington in Week 15." Read more...
GIANTS' VICRTOR CRUZ TURNS DOWN DANCING WITH THE STARS OFFER; SAYS MAYVBE IN THE FUTURE
Excerpt: "It was only a matter of time.
It began as homage to his Puerto Rican roots. Nine touchdowns and 1,500-plus
yards later, Victor Cruz, the Giants' breakout receiver, was offered a spot on
the upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars. But, citing where he's at in his
football career and the time commitment the show calls for, he turned it down.
"I just didn't want to do it," Cruz said. "I'm just not at a point where I
felt like I should be doing that stuff."
Cruz said the show would air from approximately from March to May and would
require about 20 hours of practice per week.
"We're in the postseason, that's like 18 weeks," said Cruz. "I had enough
practice for now. I'm not trying to go into another three months worth of
Then there were the outfits the performers on the show wear.
"Yeah, that was definitely one of the reasons," Cruz said." Read more...
NY DAILY NEWS
GIANTS' VICTOR CRUZ TURNS DOWN OPPORTUNITY TO APPEAR ON ABC'S "DANCING WITH THE STATS"
Excerpt: "Yes, Victor Cruz can salsa
with the best of them in a one-of-a-kind TD dance. No, that doesn't mean he has
any interest in showing off that salsa on ABC.
Cruz said Friday that he turned down an offer from ABC's "Dancing with the
Stars." He said he "kind of knew" the offer was coming, but as soon as his agent
mentioned the letter from ABC, Cruz knew he'd decline.
"Probably a no," Cruz said. "Definitely a no. Because I just want to be
focused on football and focused on what's to come. I'm just not at the point in
my career where I feel like I need to do that."
Cruz said ABC would have wanted him "like March through June or May or
something like that," and the time commitment was just too rigorous for him to
strongly consider it." Read more...
THE VOTES ARE IN, JPP NAMES ALL-PRO, JUSTIN TUCK PROBABLY FOR FALCONS' GAME
Excerpt: "The latest accolade for Jason
Pierre-Paul? The second-year defensive end was named to the Associated Press
All-Pro team. JPP received 34 of a possible 50 votes after racking up 16-1/2
sacks and making 86 tackles this season.NY POST
It's worth noting that Minnesota Vikings DE Jared Allen, who
finished the year with a ridiculous 22 sacks, received 49 of 50 possible votes.
That means he's the front-runner for the AP Defensive Player of the Year
Victor Cruz finished
fourth in WR voting, behind Detroit's
Calvin Johnson, New England's Wes Welker and Arizona's
Cruz received nine votes.
Chris Snee received two
votes, placing eighth among guards.
No other Giant received a vote. No, not even Eli Manning, he of the
nearly 5,000 yards passing and the NFL-record 15 fourth-quarter TD passes.
Good news on the Giants' injury front: The only player
who will not suit up on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons is rookie LB
Mark Herzlich (ankle)." Read more...
GIANTS LOOK TO SHUT DOWN FALCONS' RUNNING GAME
Excerpt: "Among the NFL’s top 20 rushers this year, no one weighs more than Atlanta’s
Michael Turner. Most are not within 20 pounds of the 5-foot-10, 247-pounder, and
just three are shorter than him.
Excerpt: "Defensive end Justin Tuck did not participate in Giants practice Friday, a
potentially alarming development heading into Sunday’s NFC Wild Card playoff
game against the Falcons.
The Giants said Tuck’s issue involves his shoulder. He’s listed as probable
for the game.
Tom Coughlin downplayed it, saying he did not expect the shoulder to hamper
Tuck on Sunday.
“He was just sore. He’s sore,” Coughlin said. “It’s not what you want, but we
had good work out of everybody else.”
Tuck has been hampered all season with neck, groin, ankle and toe woes, but
the team’s defensive captain was not even on the injury report this week,
practicing fully Wednesday and Thursday.
Tuck would not answer any questions about his shoulder or his status, saying,
“No comment” to all of them.
If Tuck is limited Sunday, the Giants defensive line will be significantly
altered. Osi Umenyiora could get more playing time, though how many snaps he can
give the Giants is questionable because he returned last week from a sprained
ankle. Reserve end Dave Tollefson could see more time." Read more...
THE BERGEN RECORD
THE NEW YORK TIMES
GIANTS SAY CAPTAINS EARN RESPECT
Excerpt: "Not many Giants watched the boiling point moment in the
Jets’ season-ending defeat last weekend, when an in-the-huddle fracas
banished wide receiver Santonio Holmes to the sideline and a solitary seat on
the bench. But the Giants knew what had happened or had seen televised video of
Focused on Sunday’s playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons and with the
Jets in their rearview mirrors, the Giants this week were not eager to make
comparisons, but when asked, several said it was a situation they could not
envision in one of their games.
“Everyone knows their place in our huddle and everyone knows who the leader
is,” tackle Kareem McKenzie said. “Eli talks and we listen. He’s in control, he
has the information we need to move down the field. I personally have never seen
anything like that.”
The backup quarterback David Carr dresses near Eli
Manning in the locker room, practices daily at his side and is connected to
every Manning deliberation during games, via the sideline communication system.
“I could not conceive of chaos breaking out in Eli’s huddle,” Carr said after
Giants practice Thursday. “It’s not in the makeup of the team or the leaders we
pick. In our locker room, we value people who don’t call attention to
themselves. So people find leadership in Eli’s understated manner. It’s real and
Mathias Kiwanuka, the sixth-year linebacker, in fact insisted that unity was
a franchise core value purposefully developed.
“When things are going bad — and we’ve had plenty of those moments — we have
had no bickering this year,” Kiwanuka said. “People might express some things,
but it’s face to face and meant to help the entire team. It’s a code of behavior
passed down from ownership to the coach to the team captains and then to the
rest of us.”
In a week when Jets Coach Rex
Ryan announced he would not have captains next season — regretful after
anointing Holmes a captain this year — the Giants were heartily rallying behind
the importance of team captains.
“You can’t have a football team at any level without captains,” the defensive
tackle Dave Tollefson said. “In the ultimate team game, where one player often
has to sacrifice his body for a teammate’s gain, you need leaders who show the
way. They don’t talk about it, they do it.”
By paper ballot, the three Giants captains are voted on at the end of
training camp in August. “That’s important, too,” Tollefson said. “The players
write down names and the cream rises to the top.”
This season and last, Manning is the offensive captain, Justin
Tuck is the defensive captain and the long snapper and two-time Pro Bowler
Zak DeOssie is the special-teams captain. “It’s not a role anyone takes
lightly,” DeOssie said. “The captains get together periodically to compare notes
to be sure we’re on the same page about what we might be doing. With another
five or six players, as a leadership council, we meet with Coach Coughlin.”
DeOssie described other duties: getting the rookies together at training camp
for extra film preparation and counseling players after bad and good games.
“People think being a captain is yelling at halftime,” he said. “And there is
a time for that. But it’s not as important as little steps behind the scenes —
patting somebody on the back for a good block not many people saw or getting on
somebody for not paying attention.”
Manning, who takes credit for something about as often as he dyes his hair
pink and orange, meekly acknowledged that it was his responsibility to do things
like organize the unofficial workouts at Hoboken High School in New Jersey
during the N.F.L. lockout. Other Giants on the offensive unit said Manning
deserves some of the acclaim for the breakout performance of Victor Cruz this
“Eli threw a lot of balls to Victor outside of regular practice,” running
back Brandon Jacobs said. “And when he wasn’t passing to him, he was talking in
his ear. Eli is more persistent than people think.” Read more...
DOES RESILIENCY DEFINE THESE NEW YORK GIANTS?
"Making a comeback as of late has been the ever-famous Super Bowl XLII intro
from the New York
Giants that placed many (former) players in studio preaching about resiliency.
Not one Big Blue die-hard fan can watch that clip and claim to be
The few Giants left from that 2007 run are said to be drawing from those
emotions and experiences and schooling the young’uns on how to approach their
“playoffs” (that started in Week 16).
Here’s where the questions coming from the fans that never stop thinking
How did this current roster of rookies, walking-wounded and frustrated
playmakers honestly look at their serious adversity, use it to make an attitude
change and put “All In” to turn the 2011 Regular Season into a 2012 Post-Season
What “saved” this team from the second-half collapse that so many (including
some Giants fans) predicted?
One answer (and an easy one) is head coach Tom
Coughlin. That’s a knee-jerk response here, but without a doubt he is a huge
catalyst. The Giants keep most team information “in-house”, but who’s to say
that in team meetings, the Team First; Team Always; Team Forever mantra wasn’t
reiterated as a segue into Giants Pride/”All In”? Remember, Coughlin is from the
Parcells coaching tree (he was wideouts coach in ’88-’90) and an admitted
student of the game. He knows what works and has adapted his “old coach” ways to
reach most players in a positive, structured way.
“All In” seems to include his coaches under him too. Pay attention, because
Fewell and Kevin
Gilbride have enrolled in Big Blue 101 with Professor Coughlin. You saw it
in Weeks 16 and 17. Admit it already. The trickle-down theory is working since
the players have read the syllabus and bought the (play)books for class…
What else made the game day portion of this great franchise roll out the
dusty looking glass, polish it off and each take a turn gazing into it? There
had to be an epiphany at some point—more than likely post-Week 15: the
Washington/$@!# the bed game.
As many were well ahead of their deadline in writing the Giants’ epitaph, the
team was doing self-evaluation/introspection and realizing that despite
injuries, NFL analyst
opinions, meaningless power-rankings and sheer negativity, the current 2011
roster had more than enough talent on it to make a legit run.
Giving up should never be an option for those privileged enough to wear NY
Giants Blue. Coming together and becoming a team again before the world and
winning because of it is a major confidence-booster. This team again believes in
itself—in each other. Oh yeah…and the health factor is swinging back in their
favor. Underestimating a Giant is done out of ignorance, fear or both…but go
ahead. Adversity leads to Resiliency in these parts. Sound familiar?"
GIANTS VS. FALCONS: NFL PLAYOFFS WILD CARD PREVIEW
Excerpt: "After 17 weeks of ups, downs, big plays, big games, impressive performances
and not so impressive performances, the New York
Giants are where they want to be. They won the NFC East and will host a
playoff game at MetLife Stadium tomorrow afternoon. The Giants are once again
peaking going into the postseason, playing arguably the most complete defense
we've seen from the team in the final two weeks of the season, and the offense
starting to get some big runs out of the ground game to go along with the
success of Eli
Manning and this explosive passing attack.
New YorkNew York
Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) goes past his team bench as he makes a
74-yard touchdown run against the Dallas Cowboys during their NFL football
game in East Rutherford, New Jersey January 1, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED
STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
and the Atlanta
Falcons kick it off at 1:00 PM eastern tomorrow, with a shot at either the
Packers or 49ersin the divisional round, in the battle of the last eight teams
left standing in the 2011 season.
Be aggressive in attacking the Falcons running game on the early
One thing that can almost guarantee a Giants loss in this football
game is playing the way they did against the run in October and November. The
Giants know this is true for two reasons, the first being the fact that
everything the Falcons like to do offensively starts with getting Michael Turner
going. That takes all the aggressiveness out of the safeties in the secondary,
and forces them to hesitate to drop back in coverage off the snap and opens up
some big plays through the play-fake.
The second thing a breakout game from the Falcons running game will do is
neutralize this Giants pass rush – which is something the Giants desperately
need to have success on defense with the inconsistent play of its secondary. If
the Falcons are consistently getting into 3rd and 3 type situations rather than
3rd and 7's, it's going to make this game a far, far tougher one to win because
of the aggressiveness it takes away from the Giants defensive line.
Look to take away TE Tony Gonzalez on third down and in the red
is going to be feeling some pressure going into this game as a young quarterback
looking to establish himself as a winning quarterback. Outside of getting after
the quarterback and the hostility of the crowd at MetLife stadium, the best way
to take that pressure on Matt Ryan
to the next level and force him into mistakes – is to take away the target that
makes him comfortable in those critical third down, red zone type
That target is the big, sure handed veteran tight end over the middle in Tony
Gonzalez. The Giants have to knock Ryan out of his comfort zone and force him to
look elsewhere to make a play on third down than the easy throw to the big
safety blanket over the middle.
Show a commitment to the running game offensively early in the
It's very clear what the Falcons will be talking about doing defensively
coming into this game. Their top three priorities will be containing Victor
Cruz, containing Hakeem
Nicks, and getting pressure on Eli
Manning – in some order. The Giants should have opportunities to run the football
well to start this game, and will need their offensive line group at their best
against the Falcons top ten ranked rush defense.
If the Giants can get Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs going, it will start
to take away the Falcons intense focus on the Giants passing attack, and create
those critical opportunities for Cruz and Nicks to do what they do on the
THE GIANTS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF…
They can keep the Falcons running game contained and are efficient on third
down offensively. If New York keeps putting their defense right back out there
against this big, physical Falcons offense it's going to take away a lot of
their ability to be explosive and on the attack defensively. And we talked about
just what could unfold should the Giants be unable to keep the Falcons run game
BIG GAME CANDIDATE – WR Hakeem
The Falcons are going to come into this game looking at what Victor Cruz has
been doing after the catch down the stretch and will look to really do
everything they can to keep him from beating them the way he beat the Jets and
What is overlooked is the Pro-Bowl caliber player on the opposite side and
arguably the best receiver on this Giants team in Hakeem
Nicks. Nicks has been bothered by a hamstring injury all season, but is one
of the tougher players in football, and has still commanded double teams throughout
the year allowing Cruz to be freed up and do what he does on the other
The roles could be reversed this weekend with the Falcons likely to roll a
lot of coverages to Cruz's side and have #80 as the number one thing on all
eleven defenders minds going in. That could really open things up for Nicks, who
is going to be a handful for whoever draws him in coverage. I expect a big game
This is a scary game for the Giants. It's going to test all the things the
Giants really struggled with at various points throughout the season – stopping
the run, stopping big play receivers on the outside, running the football.
With that said, I see a different Giants football team the last two weeks of the season. I have
seen fire, intensity, and a ton of confidence. Stiff arms, hurdles, spin moves
across the defensive line, well-timed pass deflections in coverage – these
seemingly very little things all point to a team in a rhythm, a team playing
with confidence and a team very comfortable with what they are doing.
If this Giants defensive line continues to play the way it has the past two
games, I think Eli
Manning and the offense will certainly be capable of taking care of the
Giants 27, Falcons 21"GIANTS' FANS WITNESSING HISTORY
"As unpredictable as this entire 2011 NFL regular Season has been, from start to finish,
there’s so much more to it upon closer look.
Entering 2011 with fear of an NFL Lockout-turned reality, the draft was the only real
highlight to the off-season drama. Majority of the spring and mainly the summer
was spent in a paranoid stupor of “what am I gonna do without my Giants football?!”
off-season with nothing to focus on but doom for many. It was almost laughable
at times, because once the Collective Bargaining Agreement was finalized and
signed, the celebration was but brief. Football hunger set in as gridiron bellies were beyond
It was as if the history of the New York Football Giants was all but forgotten, because as certain
teams (ahem, division rivals) signed almost every well-known fantasy football
name available, the Giants conducted business as usual. No multi-million dollar
player signings. No block-buster trades for their top pass-rushing Defensive
End. No “Wow! Look what the Giants just did!” new for the media to report.
Typical cut-the-injured/injury-prone player, draft for the future, evaluate
what the team does have type of Giants free-agency approach. It’s how the
franchise has always done it in an effort to build stability and depth for the
The NFL Lockout
frustration and ire from the fans spilled over and onto Giants GM Jerry
Reese and a good portion of the fanbase, well, lost it—temporarily,
thankfully. Hey now.
Fast-forward to present day and week so as to give way to be able to utilize
the new year trend of looking back, reflecting and realizing. Realize what, as a
die-hard and ever-critical New York Giants fan, you have just become a part of:
History ladies and gentlemen. Not only have you watched a Giants team this
season that some claimed “had no identity” or was “schizophrenic”, but you
witnessed many records being made and broken..
You’re still witnessing a young quarterback (poor Eli) come into the ELIte
leader that Ernie
Accorsi dreamed he’d be. Pishaw all you want. This is all being recorded and
will end up in the Legacy Room at MetLife (see: Giants) Stadium one day.
In case you feel uninformed Giants record-wise for 2011:
[*]Most consecutive passes completed (Giants record)[*]Most completions in a season (Giants record)[*]Most passing yards (Giants record)[*]Most consecutive starts by an active QB (NFL record)[*]Most game-winning drives in 4th Qtr/OT (Giants record)[*]Longest TD pass at 99 yds. (Tied NFL record/set Giants record)[*]15 4th Quarter TD (NFL record)[/list]
[*]Most receiving yards in a season w/ 1,539 (Giants record)[*]Longest TD reception at 99 yds. (Tied NFL record)[/list]
[*]Most playoff appearances now with 31[/list]
Upon closer review, your Giants pride should be oozing blue. This isn’t
happening league-wide. There’s only a handful of organizations that can claim
these records in one season, less than that have the 86-year-long history the New York Football
Wake up. Bear witness with mind and eyes wide open. You’ll appreciate that
you did one day."FALCONS AT GIANTS, WHO WILL BE THE X FACTORS?
"You've heard the talk all week: Eli Manning, Matt Ryan, the New York
Giants pass rush, the Atlanta
Falcons run game, the weather conditions, dome team, cold weather team, it
has all been discussed. Beyond the headlines and spotlight however, there are
going to be players at the center of the big matchups in this football
Tonight, Giants 101 takes a look at the players that will be critical to the
outcome of this football game beyond the obvious buzz surrounding the Eli
Manning vs Matt Ryan showdown at the quarterback position.
GIANTS OFFENSIVE X-FACTOR: WR Victor
And really, who else? With the outstanding big play ability Cruz has shown
throughout the 2011 season, he's sure to be at the top of the list of priorities
for this Falcons defense, and getting the football in his hands and allowing him an opportunity to
make plays will be at the top of the list of priorities for the New York
offense. Something has got to give.
If the Falcons look to use bracket coverage and shift a lot of attention to
his side defensively, look for Cruz to create plenty of opportunities for Hakeem
Nicks on the other side, who while dealing with a hamstring injury, is still a
clear pro-bowl caliber wide receiver in his own right. Jake Ballard is expected
to return at tight end and could also see several one on one opportunities down
the seam with all the attention on Cruz going into this game.
FALCONS OFFENSIVE X-FACTOR: TE Tony
Gonzalez may be nearing the end of his career, and may not be the same
explosive guy he was in Kansas City – but make no mistake, this is a guy who is
a bigtime difference maker for this Falcons offense on third down and in the red
Matt Ryan trusts him in big spots, and while the Giants have plenty to focus
on on the outside with Roddy White and Julio Jones, those third down situations
and red zone snaps are when they will have to make sure Ryan doesn't get easy
looks for his big target over the middle and force him to look elsewhere to make
a conversion. You take away what a quarterback is comfortable with in those
crucial situations, and it can go a long way in taking him off of his game.
GIANTS DEFENSIVE X-FACTOR: LB/DL Mathias
Jason Pierre-Paul has had an incredible rise to superstardom in just his
second season, Justin Tuck is looking like the Justin Tuck we've seen since 2007
in the past few games, and OsiUmenyiora is back and flashing that explosive
first step that makes him one of the league's most disruptive pass rushers.
But everyone seems to be overlooking #94 a bit – the guy who has really been
a very valuable wild card in this defensive front seven for the G-Men. Atlanta
will look to open up its downfield, playfake based passing game with Michael
Turner – and Kiwanuka has been the best run stopper on this football
team this season. He's been very aggressive in attacking the gaps and found his
way into the backfield to disrupt plays and stop runners behind the line of
With so much attention on JPP, Umenyiora, and Tuck, Kiwanuka will also get
his opportunity to get after the quarterback with one on one matchups.
FALCONS DEFENSIVE X-FACTOR: LB Curtis
Lofton is a one man tackling show for the Falcons at the linebacker level –
and he will need to be that this Sunday against the Giants. If the Falcons allow
the Giants rushing attack to get going along with the big play ability of their
weapons on the outside, the Giants could get up over 35 in this football
Cruz and Hakeem Nicks are also quite capable of yards after the catch, and
the Falcons will want Lofton's motor running at 100% in this game to ensure
Giants receivers aren't taking slants and quick routes underneath for big
EXAMINING ONE KEY MATCHUP IN BATTLE BETWEEN GIANTS AND FALCONS
Falcons head to MetLife Stadium Sunday with a balanced attack that poses a
threat on a number of fronts for the New York Giants.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan
(2) passes against the New Orleans Saints in the fourth quarter during their NFL football
game in New Orleans, Louisiana December 26, 2011. REUTERS/Sean Gardner (UNITED
STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Over the course of the season, teams have seen their share of success against
the New York
Giants running the hurry-up offense and that is something the Atlanta
Falcons do frequently.
With RoddyWhite on one side, Julio Jones on the other, and Tony Gonzalez
roaming the middle of the field, the Falcons have the ability to stick with base
personnel and both run and pass with effectiveness.
Seattle, New Orleans, Dallas, and others have tried the no huddle offense in
a pinch against the Giants, but for the Falcons it is a staple.
would be the first to tell you.
“It’s a good change of pace for us, it really is,” Ryan said. “And as a
quarterback, it’s always fun to be in that situation where you’re out there
calling plays and trying to get your team in the best possible situation. It’s
rewarding, it’s satisfying when you put your guys in good spots and you’re
The Giants and their ability to contain this aspect of theFalconsgame will
be of colossalimportance on Sunday. Their approach comes from offensive
coordinator Mike Mularkey who learned the no huddle offense in the 1980s from
CincinnatiBengals head coach Sam Wyche.
Fewell is aware of the the Falcons ability to deploy this offense.
“We know it’s an up-tempo offense,” Giants defensive coordinator Perry
Fewell said. “We know it’ll be run-pass option. We just got to get our hands
in the dirt and play as fast as we possibly can play and disrupt the timing of
the run and the pass.”
The Giants and their ability to contain this offense is the matchup of the
Fewell is operating right now as comfortably as he has this season in terms
of personnel. With Antrel Rolle taking over as the nickel cornerback, Deon Grant
and Kenny Phillips have been able to play their deep halves where they feel most
natural. Corey Webster and Aaron Ross have handled the top receivers on the
opposing teams typically with help from one of the safeties.
Expect more of this with the threat of Jones and White.
The onus will be on the defensive line to bottle up Michael Turner and earn
the right to rush Matt
The defensive line of the Giants is as healthy as it has been and if the
Falcons so choose to drop Matt Ryan
back 40 or more times they do run the risk of opening him up to hits by the
Giants defensive line which could lead to big plays for the defense.
The best way for the Giants to throw this offense off is to jump out early
yet again this week. They were able to do it to Dallas and controlled the tempo
of the game.
Look for both teams to try and get a grasp on that early in Sunday's ball
GIANTS' JASON PIERRE-PAUL NAMED TO AP ALL PRO FIRST TEAM, VICTOR CRUZ MAKES SECOND TEAM
Giants defensive end Jason
Pierre-Paul in his second year in the National Football
League, has been named to the AP All-Pro team. Pierre-Paul finished
the season for the Giants with 86 tackles, 16.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles.
He finished second amongst defensive ends in the voting with 34 votes.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) is sacked byVictor Cruz, who had a sensational break out season setting the franchise record
Pierre-Paul during the first quarter of their NFL football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, January 1,
2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
for single season receiving yards with 1,536, was named to the All-Pro second
team with 15 votes, fourth among wide receivers.
Snee also got two votes, finishing eighth among guards.
This news comes on the heels of both players being named to the 2011 PFF All-Pro Second Team, which is,
admittedly, not nearly as prestigious as the Associated Press All-Pro Team.
Congratulation to the both of them! These honors are well deserved."
CHANGES COULD BE ON THE HORIZON FOR NEW YORK GIANTS
"It is a great time to be a New York
Giants fan. The team will be hosting a home playoff game this coming Sunday
and seem to be getting healthy.
Giants head coach Tom
Coughlin yells onto the field during the second half of their preseason game
against the Pittsburgh Steelers in East Rutherford, New Jersey August 21, 2010.
REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Sounds like an odd moment to talk about change considering fans spend the
better part of the season talking about that, but it it worth
Recently, there have been a number of signs that point to the possibility
that head coach Tom
Coughlin is considering retirement in the very near future. One of these signs came from Antrel Rolle, who said that he would fight in
order to allow the beloved Coughlin to go out when and how he wanted.
"But I took time this offseason and got my mind right," Rolle continued.
"Whatever (Coughlin) said, just try to go by and let's see how it works. And it
worked out fine. Hopefully he can be here for my whole time here and if not, we
will send him out with a bang."
That was just one quote from Rolle from what turned out to be a passionate
speech about the Giants head man.
Sure, that wouldn't be enough to sell anyone on this theory, but what about
the recent news that the Giants "quietly" extended Perry Fewell's con