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Week 2 preview: Falcons at Giants


The Sports Xchange

Atlanta Falcons (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J. – TV: FOX

*TV announcers: Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Pam Oliver

*Keys to the game: The Falcons looked unstoppable at times at home in their season opener, with new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan mixing in some no-huddle looks and calling a well-balanced game. WR Julio Jones is clearly the focal point, with Shanahan moving him all over the field and trying to get the ball into Jones’ hands quickly and letting him make plays with his feet. There are still some concerns about the offensive line, especially on the road, and QB Matt Ryan threw a pair of interceptions last week while having several others nearly picked.

The Giants need to flip the field with a few turnovers because their offense lacks a big-play punch. QB Eli Manning attempting just one pass of 20-plus yards last week and the approach has been more geared toward extended drives. The Falcons debuted a far more physical and aggressive defense last week under new head coach Dan Quinn. The Giants need production out of RB Rashad Jennings to help control the clock and protect the defense far better than New York managed against the Cowboys.

*Matchup to watch – Falcons CB Desmond Trufant vs. Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr.: Beckham was targeted eight times last week, but was never tested as a vertical threat and finished with five catches for only 44 yards and a long of 16. Trufant wants to play the Richard Sherman role in Quinn’s offense, and got off to an excellent start in lock-down coverage in Week 1.

*Player spotlight – Giants WR Dwayne Harris: Noted for his return skills, Harris is expected to see increased snaps in the slot this week after Preston Parker had three critical drops on third downs last week.

*Fast facts: Ryan has a 102.2 passer rating with 31 TDs vs. 12 INTs in 13 September games since 2012. … Manning needs 52 passing yards to become the 15th player in NFL history to reach 40,000 for his career.


It’s easy to overreact to storylines in Week 1. It’s also easy to be impressed by the new-look Falcons, who are faster and more aggressive on defense and have talented offensive personnel capable of keeping the Giants’ defenders on their heels.

*Our pick: Falcons 30-23

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