The Giants have a great opportunity Monday night in Atlanta.
They face an injury-riddled and reeling Falcons team that has been trying to find ways to stop team all season long. Atlanta is coming off a 34-29 shootout victory over Tampa Bay that snapped a three-game losing streak in which they allowed 120 points. They also have missed an abundantly high amount of tackles.
The Falcons’ defense is ranked 30th overall, 29th against the pass and 24th against the run. However, they will have some key people on both sides of the ball returning Monday.
The Giants also need to take advantage of having 10 days to prepare for Atlanta.
With that in mind, here are three keys to a Giants’ victory Monday night.
BALL CONTROL: Saquon Barkley will need a 15 to 25-carry game and Wayne Gallman will need to be utilized efficiently. Barkley’s rush per carry average has been on the move upward and here is the chance of a breakout game on the ground. This is all predicated on a steady performance from offensive line.
Patrick Omameh was pulled from the starting lineup this week and the new shuffle will need to be effective to uncork Barkley and Gallman. Spencer Pulley takes over, and the entire line will have to deal with the return of Grady Jarrett.
Eli Manning can stay with his short passing game here, but he also needs to find Odell Beckham Jr. and company down field. If the line can give Manning time, Beckham, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram can all have big nights.
The Giants need to control most of the clock with some long drives with the balanced mix.
PASS RUSH: For the most part, the Giants’ defensive unit pulled a disappearing act against the Eagles 10 days ago. They simply can’t do that against Matt Ryan.
When given time, Ryan has showed why is one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Julio Jones had 44 catches, but he hasn’t found the end zone. Calvin Ridley has 29 catches with six touchdowns, and he looms as a real threat.
Coming into the game, the Giants have just seven sacks with rookie BJ Hill taking the top honors with a pair.
This is a great opportunity for the Giants to spend some time chasing Ryan. If they can’t, it could be a long night watching Ryan generating some big numbers.
KICKING GAME: The Giants caught a break when Falcons’ kicker Matt Bryant was ruled out. Bryant has nine field goals and is one the clutch kickers in the league.
The Giants’ Aldrick Rosas is off to a great start and had his lone miss among his 13 converted kicks against the Eagles. He could be a key factor Monday night.
Riley Dixon also has been consistent with a 41.7 average and has six of 26 boots inside the 20. The Giants have done a good job on punt coverage.