Matchup: Falcons’ o-line vs. Giants’ d-line

Falcons running back Michael Turner bulls his way into the end zone following a block by Justin Blalock for a 1-yard touchdown run and a 28-0 lead over Tampa Bay during 1st half action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012. The touchdown gave Turner a franchise best with 49 career touchdowns. Curtis Compton

Falcons running back Michael Turner bulls his way into the end zone following a block by Justin Blalock for a 1-yard touchdown run and a 28-0 lead over Tampa Bay during 1st half action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012. The touchdown gave Turner a franchise best with 49 career touchdowns. Curtis Compton

FLOWERY BRANCH — The reputation of the Falcons’ offensive line for blocking through the whistle has made its way to the Big Apple.

The Falcons call it being nasty, but earlier this season the Green Bay Packers called them dirty. The Giants seem to agree.

“Most people would call them dirt bags,” Giants defensive end Justin Tuck told on Monday. “But it is what it is. We got to make sure we do our job, and, if we are doing our job well, then they will be upset and they will be trying to do things to get us off our game. We’ve got to take that a as a compliment.”

Green Bay nose tackle B.J. Raji previously accused the Falcons of flopping for the referees when the Packers retaliated with an extra shove.

“Yeah, we have seen it,” Tuck said. “We know that they have that quote-unquote reputation. But in a way it is kind of exciting. … In the same sense you got to protect yourself, and hopefully the referees have 20-20 vision this week.”

With a chance to advance to the NFC divisional round of the playoffs, the Falcons (10-6) face the New York Giants (9-7) in the wild-card round at 1 p.m. Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Here is a look at how the Falcons’ offensive line matches up against the Giants’ defensive line:

Falcons’ starters: Left tackle Will Svitek, left guard Justin Blalock, center Todd McClure, right guard Joe Hawley and right tackle Tyson Clabo.

Falcons’ key reserves: Tackles Sam Baker and Kirk Chambers, guard Garrett Reynolds and center Brett Romberg.

Giants’ starters: Left end Justin Tuck, defensive tackles Linval Joseph and Chris Canty, and right end Jason Pierre-Paul.

Giants’ key reserves: Ends Osi Umenyiora, Justin Trattou and Dave Tollefson, and tackles Rocky Bernard and Jimmy Kennedy.

Matchups to watch: Svitek vs. Pierre-Paul

The Falcons will face one of the best young pass rushers in the league in Pierre-Paul, a second-year defensive end who had a breakthrough season with 16.5 sacks.

Pierre-Paul leads a unit that registered 48 sacks, which was tied for third in the league. Umenyiora had nine sacks, Tuck five, Tollefson five and Canty four.

Pierre-Paul’s emergence has been important because Tuck, a two-time Pro Bowler, has been slowed this season by neck and groin injuries, and Umenyiora has missed seven games because of knee and ankle injuries.

The unit had six sacks and forced a fumble in its 31-14 victory over Dallas to clinch the NFC East title on Sunday. It had five sacks in the previous week’s game against the New York Jets.

The Giants received a boost by the return of Umenyiora against the Cowboys; he’d missed the previous four games with an ankle injury.

The Giants sacked Dallas quarterback Tony Romo with a four-man rush and didn’t have to manufacture pressure with their blitz packages.

In passing situations, Tuck will play some tackle in order to get three defensive ends rushing. Also, the versatile Pierre-Paul played some linebacker against Dallas.

The Falcons had trouble early in the season with athletic pass rushers before they settled on a unit and solidified their blocking schemes.

The Falcons allowed 26 sacks during the regular season, which was the sixth lowest in the league. Only Cincinnati (25), Oakland (25), New Orleans (24), Tennessee (24) and Buffalo (23) allowed fewer sacks.

Matchup advantage: New York Giants.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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80 comments Add your comment


January 3rd, 2012
10:23 am

This is where the game figures to be won or lost, and the matchups aren’t good for the Falcons.

The G

January 3rd, 2012
10:25 am

If Turner rushes for over a hundred, we win. Very simple. 1st?


January 3rd, 2012
10:31 am

line on the incline

Michael M.

January 3rd, 2012
10:34 am

Atlanta 30 – Giants 27…..time for that next step


January 3rd, 2012
10:47 am

I think the matchup that nobody is talking about is each team’s receiving corp vs. the secondaries. The Falcons are 20th in the league against the pass, the Giants 29th! I think Roddy and Julio got to be licking their chops. I’m not blown away with the Giants, they’re hot and cold like the Birds. I like the Birds on the road.

Falcon Fan

January 3rd, 2012
10:51 am

Svitek scares me a bit with the playmakers on defense for the Giants. Other than that, I think the Falsoncs line will do fine.

I agree with Dan above, I think the bigger area is pass defense.


January 3rd, 2012
11:00 am

Falcons win if:

#1 – No turnovers
#2 – Turner rushes for 100 yds
#3 – pressure on eli


January 3rd, 2012
11:01 am

Clarification to my last post: I think we win if 2 of the 3 things happen of my top 3…with #1 having to happen.


January 3rd, 2012
11:01 am

This could be one of those 42-38 kind of games.

Mike is Back

January 3rd, 2012
11:02 am

DLed, Pierre-Paul is the guy that worries me…Svitek will need some help…we have to chip Pierre-Paul any time we are in second and third and long.

The Ice Man will have to get the ball out quick…some well timed screens…with Rogers…could help too.

RISE UP BIRDS…LET’S GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


January 3rd, 2012
11:04 am

tuck shoulda kept his fat mouth shut. someone is gonna take care of him. they dont call us dirty birds for nothing. atl wins 27-20. go birds


January 3rd, 2012
11:07 am

Really still has the same 2 faces on our problems. Will Mike Mularkey figure out how to put up 35 with all those weapons? And, will BVG ever figure out how to stop a 3rd down conversion? We need pressure dialed up on every play. If Eli gets time, we will be doomed.


January 3rd, 2012
11:07 am

THe Falcons can’t handle the Giants pass rush. Matt will be getting knocked every which way. Not that I
want to see that happen, I’m just being realistic. The Falcons just are not a good enough team to play with the Giants and the Giants are’nt that good a team. It kills me to say this, but I’ve seen the Falcons for Forty
years. They usually do a good tease, but never produce in the way they thik they can.

Michael M.

January 3rd, 2012
11:08 am

Predicted weather forecast for Sunday’s game against the Giants……………………………………………..43° | 26° Partly Cloudy Hum.: 66% Precip.: 60% Wind: SSW at
11 mph

Brian A

January 3rd, 2012
11:10 am

When the Giants D line is on, there secondary looks a lot better, which has always been the issue for the Falcons. Our D line is rarely on. Unless we are playing a team that has lost 9 in a row. I think the teams are pretty evenly matched. Both teams have running games that can be explosive, but are inconsistent. Qb and receiving corps on both teams cancel each other out. So, I think it absolutely goes down to our Oline vs their Dline. Should be a fun game. The biggest wild card is coaching. Our coordinators have been our biggest issue all year long.

Michael M.

January 3rd, 2012
11:20 am

Weather Outlook for Green Bay Packer playoff Game………………………………………………………………. 23°/-4°
81 % precip/ light snow

We love the Giants kind of weather !

Michael M.

January 3rd, 2012
11:22 am

Thought I would throw that one up there for whoever plays em ^^^^^^^^^


January 3rd, 2012
11:25 am

@Dan; Julio & Roddy can lick their chops all they want. If Ryan can’t set & throw, it won’t much matter.
Keys to the game are in the trenches on Both sides of the ball. Watching our D line w/o Abraham was sad on Sunday.


January 3rd, 2012
11:31 am

I think our line will hold up. We’ve done well against some pretty good DLines this year. This game will be won or lost on our defensive side of the ball. Will we get to Eli or rush 3 or 4 and play a soft @ss zone? If we blitz and mix in a lot of man cover, we could shut them out.

Play a soft zone and get behiind, we’re in big trouble. Then Osi and JPP will just tee off on Matt.

Innocent Bystander

January 3rd, 2012
11:37 am

I have to give the O-line and offensive play calling a lot of credit for finishing 6th in sacks allowed. At the start of the season, I was sure we’d finish near the bottom of the league.


January 3rd, 2012
11:46 am

Just want to see the Falcons line be physical and tough DURING the play for once against a good team and not after the whistle.

They need to run the ball effectively. They need 61 run blocking like he did against Tampa.

good old joe

January 3rd, 2012
11:46 am



January 3rd, 2012
11:50 am


Stevie B

January 3rd, 2012
11:56 am

The Falcon’s will dominate this game. Baby Manning is going to need eyes in the back of head!


January 3rd, 2012
12:23 pm

I dont think our Falcons get enough credit !! The gaints backed into the playoffs and are not that goood, they to got whooped by the anits!! So here is the deal , if the Falcons come out with passion and energy which sometimes they lack the Gaints will lose!! If we We can sack Eli at least 3 times and tackle well then i say we win 27-17.. Now if we dont show up with energy hmmm I say we still pull out a close one 24-23…


January 3rd, 2012
12:25 pm

Falcons offense has struggled with the run but Matt Ryan and co have been really really good over the last 4 games.


January 3rd, 2012
12:32 pm

Falcons don’t play well In big games….The only big game the Falcons have ever won was against Minnesota to advance to the Super Bowl….Prove me wrong Dirty Birds…I’m afraid their going to go up there and lay an egg like they always do against a good team….


January 3rd, 2012
12:35 pm

If Ryan doesn’t throw interceptions, Falcons win.


January 3rd, 2012
12:36 pm

I’m with DawgDad & Mike is Back: our OL doesn’t match up particularly well against the Giants. Mike is back is certainly right that we need someone staying in the backfield to chip anyone coming free. We’d be best off doing this with Mike Cox, of course, but the problem is that he seems to be part of only about a third of our formations or sets. Jacquizz is actually a good blocker (we saw some of that last Sunday), but I don’t expect he can handle Pierre Paul (few in the NFL have). I suspect we’re going to see more two TE sets to get some help keeping Ryan off the ground. The big worry is that it seems to me to have been proven that when Ryan gets jittery about the rush, his throwing accuracy (which is only average at best anyway) goes right down hill. If we lose this game, I think it will be the Giants defense that does it, not Eli.


January 3rd, 2012
12:55 pm

I imagine if we wear Redskins helmets, borrow a few Hoggets from FedEx Field, and place them strategically in the stadium in NY, we’ll do fine.


January 3rd, 2012
12:55 pm

Run more no huddle


January 3rd, 2012
12:58 pm

Giants not a blitz happy saints team but stout on the front four. run more no huddle


January 3rd, 2012
1:00 pm

I suspect the Falcons will look a lot like the Bulldogs looked yesterday, with the O-line beaten like a red-headed step-child.


January 3rd, 2012
1:08 pm

Biggest matchup:

do the NYG have the personnel and schemes to force us into our season-long issues of:
Stagnation of running game (Offense)
Bogging down in ‘Red Zone’ (Offense)
Failure to get off the field on 3rd down (Defense)
Failure to get pressure on the QB (Defense)

Eric C.

January 3rd, 2012
1:24 pm

I’m not saying the G-line won’t give the Falcons a tough game, or that the Falcons don’t have some deficiencies on the O-line, but since the first few games…the scheme has worked pretty well.

Consider the fierce pass rushes the Falcons have faced including the Lions, Texans and Vikings…the O-line held it’s own against them and that is with Ryan making a record number of pass attempts.

Ryan’s quick timing and threat of a rushing attack will exploit the Giants weaknesses on defense.

Frankly, my biggest concern is the Falcons D-line vs the Giants O-line…it would help a lot if Ray Edwards would play the game of his life and for Grimes to be close to 100%. Eli must not be allowed to sit in the pocket undisturbed…and that is what I’m afraid might happen.

In consistent BloGGer

January 3rd, 2012
1:25 pm

Can anyone tell me where an illegal massage parlor is? Somewhere near the airport.


Average Joe

January 3rd, 2012
1:30 pm

Giants won’t be able to stop the Falcons run game. Falcons win by 10.

Big Crimson 75

January 3rd, 2012
1:31 pm

Dirt Bags !!! That’s a compliment. Our Dirt Bags open holes for Turner game after game. Believe me, he needs it, to squeeze his rear end through there. Matty Ice has time to throw. They are not as good without Dahl, but still easily a top 10 O-Line in the NFL. I still think our 5 best lineman are blalock, mac, clabo, svitek & Baker – yes Baker.
Would you rather be a Hog or a DirtBag?
Oh yea, Tuck is just mad cause JPP has taken over their line. He is the one teams prepare for. He makes Tuck a better player.
Wasn’t lil’ Mora & McKay in love with Tuck when he came out???

Jacob V

January 3rd, 2012
1:36 pm

I’m going to throw something out that I don’t seem to have seen in any of the comments. I think the key is the red zone. It’s no surprise here that neither of these teams pride themselves on defense, although the Falcons’ is a bit better. The key to this game will be scoring touchdowns when we’re in the red zone and limiting Eli and co to field goals when they’re in the red zone. Fact of the matter is they have NO ONE who can cover Julio or Tony Gonzalez, not to mention Roddy White. They’re also sorry against the run. This has to be a favorable matchup in terms of getting points when we get inside the 20. If we settle for field goals, I don’t think we win. If we score touchdowns, I don’t think they can possibly keep up, especially if we’re limiting them.

ed the giant

January 3rd, 2012
2:04 pm

You Falcons fans are delusional. These comments are a mirror image of last year’s comments before GB humiliated your team. And oh how the tone changed afterwards. Get ready for a repeat. The Giants have indeed been up and down, but they have an excellent running game, very good receivers and a very good QB having the best year of his career. Most importantly, they have a number of stud pass rushers. Matty will be checking down all day and Julio will be rendered useless. Yet another one and done for the birds.


January 3rd, 2012
2:09 pm

The thing that scares me is if you watched the Houston game our O-Line looked rattled against that rowdy crowd & our no-huddle effectiveness was significantly minimized because of it. This whole week they have to be emphasizing silent no-huddle audibles, & O-line discipline because false start & holding penalties will kill us in this game if we don’t have it tight! I also agree that we’ll have to chip/double Pierre Paul on the end, but Clabo has also been lackluster on the opposite end, so lets not exclusively focus & worry about Svitek

P B Orr

January 3rd, 2012
2:28 pm

What the Falcons MUST do is pull block, use Turner on the sweep, screens, and designed rollouts. But it’s Mularkey, so just don’t turn the ball over, that’s all we can hope for :)


January 3rd, 2012
2:42 pm

failclowns o vs. g-men d–advantage-g-men by a wide margin. don’t forget to bring your mittens matty


January 3rd, 2012
2:42 pm

With that whuppin the Birds tasted at N.O. a couple of weeks ago, I don’t think that they are that intimidated by the G-Men. Facts are facts, N.O. is who we want to be. I ain’t hatin on them, cause N.O. are the prototype that all non N.O. fans wants their team to perform like. When I watch the Giants, they didn’t impress me, not at all. They are a good football team, and yes, they can get hot in a hurry, but so can the Falcons. Expectations for the Falcons is that they do not turn the ball over and establish the running game, which will be the factor in this game. I look for the Falcons to score early and Roddy and Julio will have an impact. The Falcons won’t beat themselves in this one. Falcons 58 Giants 10.

Leeman Bennett

January 3rd, 2012
2:50 pm

To In consistent BloGGer


January 3rd, 2012
3:35 pm

@Leeman Bennett LOL! That guy? Really?!
@1game@atime I agree that the Falcons have the upperhand in this matchup but I wouldn’t say the score will be that high unless Ray Edwards plays the game of his life and Peria Jerry acts like a round 1 pick. The Giants have a make shift O-line that hasn’t been tested. Sure the talking heads were all in the O-lines sack during the Cowboys game, but it’s the Cowboys not the Saints. The only reliable receiver that I saw that could hurt the Falcons is Cruz. He weighs what 120 dipped in water? Knock him down at the line of scrimmage and he’s out of the play. I’m talking to you Robinson. Cover everyone else with the corners and send Moore to sack the mess out of Eli. The line is not experienced enough to handle Abe and Bierman and a blitzing safety.

joe white

January 3rd, 2012
3:54 pm

Man falcons going to kill new york, falcons 31-14 eli throws about three ints falcons ready for this run this year.

SeenThis B4

January 3rd, 2012
4:14 pm

Eli’s going to destroy that weak falca n’t defense, absolutely destroy. giants 31 – falc an’ts 6

Yo Vince

January 3rd, 2012
4:35 pm

After Suh breaks Brees’ neck on Saturday Night and drags a tea bag across his face, Aint’s will lose again and Falcons will kill G-Mans run and pass D

Long Time STH

January 3rd, 2012
4:39 pm

Michael Wrote: Weather Outlook for Green Bay Packer playoff Game………………………………………………………………. 23°/-4°
81 % precip/ light snow

We love the Giants kind of weather !
The only problem with your post Michael, is that the Packers will be sitting at home watching the games. They have a first round bye..unless you looked up the forecast for a week and 5 days from now which can’t be very reliable at this point.