Even though it gets the primetime spotlight, no one is mistaking this one for a premier matchup. Two of the NFL’s bottom dwellers meet in Week 7, as the Atlanta Falcons (2-4) host the New York Giants (1-5) at Mercedes-benz Stadium on October 22nd (8:15pm EST kickoff).
The Falcons opened as 6-point favorites.
New York Giants
The best way to describe the Giants’ offense is mediocre. They own the NFL’s 18th-ranked passing attack and 27th-ranked rushing attack. As you may have guessed, the result has been an embarrassing 19.5 points per game (27th).
Eli Manning has struggled to consistently threaten defenses with his arm, throwing for 1,662 yards and 6 touchdowns with four interceptions. He just refuses to throw the ball deep down the field and his pocket awareness has just been terrible.
Saquon Barkley just broke through a tackle attempt from every player on the Eagles pic.twitter.com/fHftajIb05
— Barstool Sports (@barstooltweetss) October 12, 2018
Saquon Barkley has failed to consistently find much running room, totaling just 438 yards on the ground. But the second-overall pick from the 2018 NFL Draft has contributed 373 receiving yards, and is a threat to take it the house every time he touches the rock.
Rushing: 130 yards, TD
Receiving: 9 catches for 99 yards.
— NFL (@NFL) October 12, 2018
It’s quite easy to see why New York is struggling this season: not only do they have trouble scoring points, but they cannot stop others from scoring. The Giants give up 27 PPG, ranking 24th in the NFL.
New York is in desperate need of some big changes.
Giants vs Falcons Statistical Comparison
|19.5 (27th)||PPG||27.8 (9th)|
|348.3 (24th)||YPG||397.2 (8th)|
|87.5 (27th)||Rushing YPG||86 (29th)|
|260.8 (18th)||Passing YPG||311.2 (5th)|
|27 (24th)||PPG Allowed||32 (31st)|
|358 (14th)||YPG Allowed||417.5 (30th)|
|121.7 (24th)||Rushing YPG Allowed||121.7 (25th)|
|236.3 (10th)||Passing YPG Allowed||295.8 (29th)|
|-4 (28th)||Turnover Differential||+4 (T4th)|
New York’s defense is in tough this week against an Atlanta offense that is scoring points at will.
Thanks to a lethal passing attack, the Falcons are scoring 27.8 PPG (ninth). Matt Ryan has been exceptional for Atlanta this year, throwing for 1,955 yards (3rd) with 14 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions, good for a 113.6 passer rating.
Matt Ryan 2018:
Dome (4 games)
PFF Grade: 89.7
Passer Rating: 134.3
Outdoors (2 games, in Pennsylvania)
PFF Grade: 49.8
Passer Rating: 77.0
— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) October 18, 2018
Ryan wouldn’t want all the credit, though, as Julio Jones and the rest of his receivers have been great.
His favorite target has hauled in 44 passes for 707 receiving yards (2nd), but still has not found the end zone this season.
Time to take a deeper look into the BIZARRE relationship between Julio Jones & the end zone. pic.twitter.com/FEQMQSkH39
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) October 18, 2018
That could change in a Week 7 matchup with Janoris Jenkins, who has allowed four TDs in the last two weeks.
The Falcons have needed this kind of effort from Ryan and his receivers, however, as they have not been able to efficiently move the ball on the ground. Led by Tevin Coleman, Atlanta averages an awful 3.8 yards per carry (27th in the league). Defenses have been able to sellout to take away the pass, but that hasn’t come with very positive results.
Matt Ryan in Weeks 3-6 (4 games) this season:
• 1,432 pass yards (Most in NFL)
• 12 pass TD (T-most in NFL)
• 0 INT (T-fewest in NFL)
• 128.2 passer rating (Best in NFL)
A more amazing stat:#Falcons won the first of those 4 games today against the Buccaneers
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) October 15, 2018
And it won’t get any easier with Devonta Freeman being placed on the IR.
There’s not many positive discussions you can have involving the Falcons defense. They’re allowing a humiliating 32 points per game, the second-most in the NFL.
Teams are able to score with such ease because they can attack in whichever way they please. Atlanta gives up 295.8 passing yards per game (29th) and 121.7 rushing (25th). This could be exactly what Eli Manning and the Giants offense needs to get on track.