Giants – Falcons Preview: Diary of a Giants Fan
Joe B is on vacation and I have stolen his diary. I feel like one of the popular girls from Harriet the Spy.
For the record, that reference kills in the nostalgic young-adult female demo.
Let’s press on. Tell me if you’ve heard this one before Giants fan: the stretch run, playoffs in sight, and all the Giants have to do is win their final few games. This has been the Giants signature late season predicament ever since Plaxico shot their 2008 Super Bowl chances in the leg, and quite frankly it’s getting tiresome. This week, while the Giants battle for their playoff lives, they head into Atlanta to play the Falcons, who are comfortable in the safety of their beloved dome.
Safety… Why does that word seem so eerily familiar in regard to this game? Could it be because New York Giants safety Stevie Brown was just added to the Pro Bowl ballot after another impressive two interception game? Perhaps, but that doesn't feel entirely right. Oh wait, I know; it’s because a measly safety was all the Dirty Birds could muster up in their embarrassing, humiliating and downright emasculating 24-2 loss to the Giants in the first round of last year’s playoffs.
Seriously, putting all cheaply over-manufactured jokes aside, that dominating victory last January is biggest reason why the Giants are in danger come Sunday. The shadow of that game has blanketed this Atlanta team all season long. Before that game, Matt Ryan was a young quarterback poised to take the next step. Before that game the Atlanta Falcons were the hot team to watch and Mike Smith was the “best coach that no one was talking about.” Before that game the Falcons were a team on the rise. But after that game everything changed; after that game the aura of Matty Ice began to melt.
Now Matt Ryan is a “fantasy quarterback” who can’t win the big game. Because of that loss the Falcons are a team that can’t shake the “all style, no substance” tag regardless of how many games they win in the regular season. Despite their gaudy 11-2 record and a nearly sure first round bye, they still sit just fifth in the most current ESPN ‘Power Rankings,’ and even lower than that in the perception of the general public. Their regular season success is valued less than LeBron James’ prior to last NBA season, and they have the New York Giants to thank for it all.
I could try and breakdown the elite receiving duos of Cruz/Nicks and Jones/White. I could talk about Michael Turner’s less than four yards a carry, Eli Manning’s Jekyll and Hyde decision making and the lack of a New York Giant pass rush in recent weeks, but all of that can be thrown out of the window. This game is about a team hunting for a ticket to the tournament vs. a team seeking revenge and some national respect. How this gem got stuck in the 1:00 p.m. time slot, I have no idea.
As far as a prediction, I’m going to take the Giants (begrudgingly) 30-27, because in a battle of wills, I like a team that needs to win more than a team that really, really wants to.
The fact that Roddy White may not play helps too…