“We’ve had him on a play count all season long, and now it’s an opportunity for us to go and extend his snaps as we get into the postseason,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said.
During the season, the Falcons freely rotated in Kroy Biermann with Abraham and Ray Edwards. Abraham suffered a minor groin injury in second game of the season, but continued to play. He has a history of groin injuries, and with the low snap count he started 15 of 16 games.
Without a play-count limitation, the Falcons plan to unleash Abraham, who leads the team with 9.5 sacks, for the entire game.
“They have a good line, but everything is pretty much controlled by [quarterback] Eli [Manning],” Abraham said. “He does a good job of getting the ball out. He recognizes rushes. He recognizes pressure. He does a good job of helping them out a lot.”
Abraham, 33, was fine with the play count. By being held back, he recovered more quickly from the groin injury and showed that he could still turn the corner against Jacksonville on Dec. 15, when he had 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
The Giants’ offensive line allowed 28 sacks during the regular-season, seventh lowest in the league. Abraham knows it will be a challenge to put pressure on Manning.
“He’s a smart guy,” Abraham said. “He does a great job with the play action fakes. He does a good job of getting the ball out quick. In order for us to have a good day, we actually are going to have to get in his face and try to get him to move out of the pocket.”
Abraham started his career in the Big Apple playing for the New York Jets. He has been with the Falcons since 2006. He’s not looking at the game as any kind of homecoming.
“It’s not the same, but it’s going to be fun to go back to New York,” Abraham said.
Abraham played in the old Giants Stadium. MetLife Stadium, the new stadium, is in the same area.
“The big thing is trying not to worry about the cold,” Abraham said. “It’s going to be cold. It’s cold here now. Hopefully, the mental thing won’t get to them. Once you start playing in all of the cold or heat, it really doesn’t matter.”
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog