GAMEDAY CENTRAL: Giants vs. Falcons, 1 p.m. Sunday

QB corner: Matt Ryan discusses the Giants

Atlanta Falcons' Matt Ryan (2) throws a pass against the Carolina Panthers during the third quarter of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

Atlanta Falcons' Matt Ryan (2) throws a pass against the Carolina Panthers during the third quarter of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and the offense was shut out when they last faced the New York Giants in the wild-card round of the playoffs last season.

With a revamped offensive line and wide receiver Julio Jones now fully integrated into the offense, the Falcons need a better showing in order to secure at least a first-round playoff bye and possibly the top seed in the NFC.

In the previous game, Atlanta’s Will Svitek played left tackle and Joe Hawley played right guard in a shuffled offensive line. With Sam Baker back at left tackle and Peter Konz at right guard, the Falcons are hoping to better handle New York’s outstanding defensive line rotation of seven players.

Here’s a brief Q&A with Ryan and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter.

Q: Is there a revenge factor for this game after the loss in the playoffs last year?

A: It’s one of the motivations that pushes you when you fall short in the playoffs. But we’re a different football team than we were last year and they’re a different football team than they were in the playoffs last year.

Q: What’s the game plan against their defense?

A: We need to play well. Obviously, it’s a very good defense. I think they’re second in the league in takeaways. They do a good job of creating turnovers. I think it starts with their front four. They do a great job of rushing the passer. … We’ve just got to find ways in terms of scheme and with our effort and with the way we play to negotiate their front four. Then we have to win our one-on-one matchups when we have them on the outside.

Q: What’s your assessment of the Giants secondary?

A: They’re aggressive. They make plays. They create turnovers. I think a lot of it has to do with how good their pass rush is in the front four. They pressure quarterbacks to get the ball out faster than you would like to, but their guys on the back end know that and they play to that. I think it’s a good mesh between the two.

The X-factor: Giants quarterback Eli Manning

Eli Manning has two Super Bowl rings and two Super Bowl MVP trophies. (Photo by Getty Images)

Eli Manning has two Super Bowl rings and two Super Bowl MVP trophies. (Photo by Getty Images)

The Falcons have a chance for a Manning Brothers Sweep.

They picked off Peyton Manning three times and went on to defeat the Denver Broncos 27-12 on Sept. 17.

Now New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who has guided the Giants to two Super Bowl titles, and is the X-factor for Sunday’s game.

Eli Manning said he planned to call his older brother for some tips on how the Falcons disguised their coverages and baited him into some ill-advised throws.

Manning led the Giants to a 24-2 victory over the Falcons in the wild card round of the playoffs last season. He’s also won his last four meetings with the Falcons. He has studied the Falcons defense, which is under the direction of coordinator Mike Nolan this season.

“It’s a little bit of a different scheme than last year,” Manning said. “They are still a four-down [linemen] team but kind of more of a 3-4 style. Their safeties have been playing outstanding and getting interceptions. John Abraham has always been a strong pass rusher. It seems that they are very aggressive on defense and are doing a good job getting turnovers.”

The Falcons have an ample amount of respect for Manning.

“He’s able to figure out coverages and what the defense is doing before the snap,” safety Thomas DeCoud said. “But I feel like our disguise packages have been able to confuse quarterbacks of his caliber. I feel like if we can keep doing that and then make sure that we are disciplined in our disguises, that we can confuse him as well.”

Even the best disguises might now work against Manning, who trusts his receivers and will throw the ball into tight spots. His pass to Mario Manningham in double coverage in the Super Bowl last season was a thing of beauty.

“He definitely has the gumption and the trust in his receivers,” DeCoud said.

On the hot seat: Falcons coach Mike Smith

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and head coach Mike Smith look on in apparent dismay. (Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com)

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and head coach Mike Smith look on in apparent dismay. (Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com)

Over 77 regular season games under coach Mike Smith, the Falcons have dropped back-to-back games just three times.

After losing to Carolina 30-20 last Sunday, the Falcons are in jeopardy of losing consecutive games again when they play the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants on Sunday at the Georgia Dome. Smith and his resilient team are on the hot seat for a pivotal game that has serious playoff implications.

“It’s the mindset that you try and get the guys in after (losing) the ballgame,” Smith said. “You want to stop the streak at one when you don’t get the outcome that you want. That’s what we’ve talked about from the very beginning.”

The Falcons have dropped back-to-back games with Matt Ryan at quarterback twice, but those losses were all on the road. Ryan has won 32 of his first 36 starts at home, the best mark by quarterback in the Super Bowl era. He’s shooting for his 11th consecutive home win.

In 2009, Dallas beat the Falcons 37-21 on Oct. 25 at Cowboys Stadium, followed by a 35-27 loss at New Orleans on Nov. 2. They also lost at Carolina 28-19 on Nov. 15 that year and at the Giants 34-31 in overtime on Nov. 22.

Overall, the Falcons have not dropped back-to-back games since Games 12 and 13 of the 2009 season. With Ryan out with a turf toe injury, they lost to Philadelphia (Dec. 6, 2009) and New Orleans (Dec. 13, 2009) with Chris Redman in Ryan’s place.

“You’ve got to flush the previous game out as quickly as possible,” Smith said. “You’ve got to make your corrections, move on, flush it out and get prepared. Don’t let the last game have an effect on the next game.”

Connections: Michael Boley is questionable with a back injury

Giants linebacker Michael Boley celebrates his sack of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers during the second half Sunday. / The Associated Press

Giants linebacker Michael Boley celebrates his sack of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers during the second half Sunday. / The Associated Press

Giants linebacker Michael Boley was selected by the Falcons in the fifth round (160th overall) of the 2005 draft. He played four seasons in Atlanta before signing with the Giants as a free agent in 2009.

Other connections include:

  • Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan held the same position with the Giants for four seasons (1993-96).
  • Falcons secondary coach Tim Lewis spent three seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Giants (2004-06).
  • Falcons kicker Matt Bryant began his NFL career as a free agent signed by the Giants in 2002, where he played until he was released prior to the 2004 season.
  • Falcons tackle Tyson Clabo spent two weeks on the Giants practice squad in September 2004.
  • Giants RB Kregg Lumpkin played at Stephenson High School. He also played with Falcons linebacker Akeem Dent at Georgia.
  • Giants defensive line coach Robert Nunn spent one season (1991) as the defensive coordinator and seven seasons (1992-99) as the head football coach at Georgia Military College.
  • Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff was New England’s director of college scouting when Giants assistant special teams coach Larry Izzo was with the Patriots.
  • Falcons wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie coached with Giants tight end coach Michael Pope (1997-99) and Giants offensive line coach Pat Flaherty (2000) in Washington.
  • Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan played with Giants linebackers Mathias Kiwanuka and Mark Herzlich at Boston College.

Stat corner:  Dominate on third downs

Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton (1) throws a pass as Atlanta Falcons' Sean Weatherspoon (56) defends during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton (1) throws a pass as Atlanta Falcons' Sean Weatherspoon (56) defends during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

A big factor in Carolina’s upset of the Falcons last weekend was the Panthers’ domination on third down.

Offensively, the Falcons were 2-of-8 (25 percent) on third down conversions against the Panthers. Defensively, the Falcons allowed the Panthers to convert on 9-of-15 (60 percent) of their third downs.

By winning on the key downs, the Panthers were able to keep Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense off the field.

Offensively, the Falcons were 1-of-11 in the previous game against the Saints, making them a disturbing 3-of-19 (15.7 percent) over the last two games.

Ryan said the solution is not a simple. It’s not just a matter of teams blanketing Roddy White or Tony Gonzalez on third down.

“It’s different every third down,” Ryan said. “Each play shakes out differently. If it was one thing, I think we would pinpoint it, be done with it and move on.”

Overall, the Falcons offense is tied for second in the league on third down conversion at 45 percent (74-of-166). They trail New England 52 percent (96-of-183) and are tied with Dallas at 45 percent (80-of-178).

The Giants have the 17th ranked defense on third down at 39 percent (60-of-153). The Falcons are 24th in the league at 41 percent (65-of-160).

“I need to get to the quarterback,” defensive end John Abraham said. “We have to play like we’re supposed to play on third downs. We are getting them in third downs like we want to, but we’ve got to get off the field.”

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59 comments Add your comment

JSS

December 15th, 2012
6:05 pm

Well, tomorrow is Sunday… There’s your only given fact…

SeenThisBFalcon

December 15th, 2012
6:17 pm

TIME TO RSIE UP@!!!!!!!! FALCONS 30 GIANTS 24.

waynester

December 15th, 2012
6:33 pm

the playing surface is getting a beating this weekend with all the playoff games plus the Falcons home game…..

JSS

December 15th, 2012
6:45 pm

…Oh and I’m an idiot.

Esquire

December 15th, 2012
6:49 pm

Giants – 28
Falcons – 18

This time, the offense scores, but just field goals.

David

December 15th, 2012
7:26 pm

Time to Man Up and quit playing like a bunch of sissies !

NFC South Champs

December 15th, 2012
7:36 pm

FALCONS make it 7-0 at home in the dome.

dickelsby

December 15th, 2012
8:02 pm

I’ve been watching this team since ”75….got a feeling goin on and its all good…just like Ben Crenshaw a few years ago

Gee

December 15th, 2012
8:08 pm

if the falcon lose it over!!!!

Esquire "THE GREAT"

December 15th, 2012
9:19 pm

NFL on CBS: Week 15 Early Game – December 16, 2012
Denver @ Baltimore
Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf
Indianapolis @ Houston
Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Jacksonville @ Miami
Marv Albert, Rich Gannon

None in Atl market

NFL on CBS: Week 15 Late Game – December 16, 2012

Pittsburgh @ Dallas (Atlanta Market)
Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
Kansas City @ Oakland
Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots

NFL on FOX: Week 15 – December 16, 2012
Early Game
Green Bay @ Chicago
Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
NY Giants @ Atlanta
Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa
Tampa Bay @ Caints/wilted flowers
Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick
Minnesota @ St. Louis
Gus Johnson, Charles Davis
Washington @ Cleveland
Ron Pitts, Mike Martz

Late Game
Seattle vs Buffalo (in Toronto)
Dick Stockton, John Lynch
Detroit @ Arizona
Chris Myers, Tim Ryan
Carolina @ San Diego
Sam Rosen, Heath Evans

UPDATES:
Jacksonville FL: NYG-ATL to SEA-BUF
Montgomery AL: TB-NO to NYG-ATL
San Diego: GB-CHI to NYG-ATL
Ottumwa IA: MIN-STL to GB-CHI back to MIN-STL

Thursday, December 20

8:00 Poinsettia Bowl (in San Diego)
San Diego State vs BYU ESPN Carter Blackburn, Rod Gilmore

Friday, December 21

7:30 Beef O’Brady’s Bowl (in St. Petersburg)
Central Florida vs Ball State ESPN Dave Neal, Andre Ware, Desmond Howard

Saturday, December 22

12:00 Stink City Bowl
East Carolina vs ULL ESPN Beth Mowins, Joey Galloway
3:30 Las Vegas Bowl
19 Boise State vs Washington ESPN Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit

Esquire "THE GREAT"

December 15th, 2012
9:27 pm

I think the SceneThisB4 “Esquire” from the nasty crescent wrench city has that score wrong.

Falcons win 30-27……………and not with 10 field goals.

WE ARE THE MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS!!!!

JSS

December 15th, 2012
11:29 pm

(FAKE) JSS
December 15th, 2012
6:45 pm
“…Oh and I’m an idiot.”

Hey user-name thief, you couldn’t have described yourself better… Thanks for proving the point with such skill and accuracy… You have me confused with this short-timers who don’t know how to protect the brand…

JSS

December 15th, 2012
11:31 pm

Clarification: “these”

JSS

December 15th, 2012
11:35 pm

dickelsby
December 15th, 2012
8:02 pm
“I’ve been watching this team since ”75….got a feeling goin on and its all good…just like Ben Crenshaw a few years ago”

“A few years ago?” Goodness, that was 17 years ago!!!

Falcons Rule.

December 16th, 2012
12:48 am

ANGRY BIRDS IN A ROUTE……42 – 17……BOOK IT……ONLY A MATTER OF TIME UNTIL 17 – 2 AND THE LOMBARDI WHERE IT BELONGS…..FIRST OF MANY……Get of the wagon you azzclown doubters!!! You too Michael M………………Fool.

Esquire "THE GREAT"

December 16th, 2012
12:53 am

5-6-7-8
Everywhere we goooO,
Everywhere we goooO,
People wanna knooOw,
People wanna knooOw,
Who we aaa are,
Who we aaa are,
So we tell theem, So we tell theem,
We are the FALCONS!! We are the FALCONS!!
MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS, MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS !!
OHH AHH OHH YEEAHH

5-6-7-8 WHO DO WE APPRECIATE???? GOOOOO FALCONS!!!!!!

I’m so pumped! I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep again tonight. I think the Mighty Falcons will take this one? This is my life; I’ve memorized the announcers to all of the games tomorrow. HeHe. As always you guys are welcome to come by and practice our fight song.

GOOOOOOOOO FALCONS!!!!!

Esquire "THE GREAT"

December 16th, 2012
12:54 am

By the way, WHERE’S MIKE’S COX????? I NEED IT BAD TONIGHT!!!! Please??? It’ll help me sleep. Please!

Esquire "THE GREAT"

December 16th, 2012
12:58 am

NY Giants @ Atlanta
Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa

I was expecting Fox’s A-team for this one….Aikman and Buck…what happened??? No respect…we’ll show them.

5-6-7-8 WHO DO WE APPRECIATE??? GOOOOO FALCONS!!!!

Anybody else here? Come on….I need some company here.

Grady

December 16th, 2012
1:04 am

Esquire “THE GREAT”, I’m here. Looks like you lookin’ to get some some. Give me your digits.

Grady

December 16th, 2012
1:18 am

I’m waitin’ Esquire “THE GREAT”…Where u at? I ain’t no Mike Coxx but I got me somethin’ bigger to take care of your itch once and for all.

Choke On My Grits

December 16th, 2012
3:12 am

I think the Falcons will turn the corner tomorrow and play like they did against Philadelphia and San Diego and get some respect finally !

J

December 16th, 2012
3:36 am

I know there might be many that disagree with this statement. But the Giants defensive lineman are so much more athletic in comparison to the Falcon’s offensive front-line. We can dispute it all we want. But, that won’t change these facts. The only way we win? Is if our defense has a game very similar to the last Falcons vs Saint’s out-ting and create the same type of atmosphere the Giants will create for Manning. Our defensive much match the Giants defensive intensity. Or the Giant’s win based on the difference in specific athleticism working in the trenches.

Esquire "THE GREAT"

December 16th, 2012
8:02 am

(FAKE) Esquire “THE GREAT”
December 16th, 2012
12:53 am

********************************************

JSS, is that how ya do it……………

(FAKE) Esquire “THE GREAT”
December 16th, 2012
12:53 am

(FAKE) Esquire “THE GREAT”
December 16th, 2012
12:58 am

(Scene’s Lovin Brother) Grady
December 16th, 2012
1:04 am

(Scene’s Lovin Brother) Grady
December 16th, 2012
1:18 am

SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK SCENETHISB4 = PEESHWANK ROFLMAO

ENJOY THE CAINTS LOSS TODAY, DROPPING ANOTHER GAME IN THE NFC SOUTH!!!

WE ARE THE MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS!!!

JSS

December 16th, 2012
8:19 am

Obviously you have quite gotten under the skin of our resident troll.

Will SceneThisB4 ever be back?

One can only hope.

JSS

December 16th, 2012
8:20 am

DLed – Check your filter.

SeenThisBFalcon

December 16th, 2012
8:27 am

TIME TO RISE UP FALCONS WIN IT 30-24 TODAY…MY PLAYOFF TICKETS ON HOLD BABY SHOW DADAY SOMETHING TODAY DIRTY BIDS!!!1

SeenThisBFalcon

December 16th, 2012
8:28 am

SEENTHIS B4 IS DONE FOR THE SEASON LOL……PUT A FORK IN HIS A$$

SeenThisBFalcon

December 16th, 2012
8:35 am

Go Falcons, let’s whip some Giants AZZ!!

Tarryuga

December 16th, 2012
9:00 am

REVENGE!! WAKE UP!! WIN THE TOSS!! WIN THE TRENCHES!! WIN THE DAMN GAME!!
GO BIRDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JSS

December 16th, 2012
9:13 am

No Wannabe cheerleader…
When dealing with 6 year old like yourself, you just point them out to Ledbetter because he’s a beat writer and does not have the time to sit here and babysit you morons…

I.E.
(FAKE) JSS
December 16th, 2012
8:19 am
“Obviously you have quite gotten under the skin of our resident troll. Will SceneThisB4 ever be back? One can only hope.”

(FAKE) JSS
December 16th, 2012
8:20 am
“DLed – Check your filter.”

By the way fake, that is a grown man with a name, I’ve never disrespected him (even when I have a qualm with his stance) by calling him: “DLed.” You can’t even tell a lie straight…

DePlane

December 16th, 2012
9:41 am

Good Job with this article D-led. Thanks!

[...] a Q&A with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan spoke candidly about being motivated by the Falcons’ 24-2 loss [...]

[...] a Q&A with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan spoke candidly about being motivated by the Falcons’ 24-2 loss at [...]

Answer This

December 16th, 2012
10:34 am

Checking in Nation! Its that time….time to Rise Up! Lets show them what we got! Matt I need it today….a BIG game from you! Lets throw the first punch and keep hitting them! Rise Up on three!
1
2
3

Answer This

December 16th, 2012
10:34 am

Mikey

December 16th, 2012
11:10 am

Our Falcons have done a remarkable job of avoiding consecutive defeats and in racking up home wins. I expect to see much better execution today here ahead of our home fans. I am hoping for a win against the Giants. That would be a great confidence builder for our guys heading into the playoffs. The Giants are truly a playoff caliber team and a Falcons’ win would strike fear in the hearts of future competitors. GO FALCONS! YOU ARE RISING UP!

Esquire "THE GREAT"

December 16th, 2012
11:23 am

5-6-7-8
Everywhere we goooO,
Everywhere we goooO,
People wanna knooOw,
People wanna knooOw,
Who we aaa are,
Who we aaa are,
So we tell theem, So we tell theem,
We are the FALCONS!! We are the FALCONS!!
MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS, MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS !!
OHH AHH OHH YEEAHH

5-6-7-8 WHO DO WE APPRECIATE???? GOOOOO FALCONS!!!!!!

Answer This

December 16th, 2012
11:24 am

5-6-7-8 WHO DO WE APPRECIATED??? GOOOOO FALCONS!!!!

I NEED ME SOME OF MIKE’S COX RIGHT NOW!!!!! Please??

Answer This

December 16th, 2012
11:26 am

WE ARE THE MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS!!!

MIKE…I’M WAITING HERE!

Esquire "THE GREAT"

December 16th, 2012
11:38 am

Esquire “THE GREAT”
December 16th, 2012
8:02 am
______________________________________________________
^^^^ Not the REAL Esquire – just some loser with nothing else to do

Answer This

December 16th, 2012
11:38 am

Whos the troll stealing names @ 11:24 and 11:26?

Grady

December 16th, 2012
11:44 am

Answer This, it must be that wacko Esquire

Rick Patel

December 16th, 2012
11:49 am

Flaccid Falcons will be mauled & manhandled by NY Giants today.

Falcons Rule.

December 16th, 2012
11:54 am

ANGRY BIRDS WILL DESTROY THE G-MEN 42 – 17….BOOK IT!!!! THIS WILL BE A LAUGHER….THE BIRDS WILL SHOW THE NFL WHO THE TRUE KING IS…..ONLY A MATTER OF TIME UNTIL WE ARE 17 – 2 AND HOISTING THE FIRST OF MANY LOMBARDIS……RISE UP!!!!!!!!!!

Get off the wagon you fake azzclown fans………you too Michael M. the moron.

Answer This

December 16th, 2012
12:56 pm

Lets go Birds!!!!!!!!!

Jimmy Crack

December 16th, 2012
1:09 pm

Falcons Rule.

December 16th, 2012
1:15 pm

HA HA I TOLD YOU CLOWNS……5 INTS TODAY…..BOOK IT……BLOW OUT BABY.

Falcons Rule.

December 16th, 2012
1:30 pm

BLOW OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Goodgod

December 16th, 2012
2:13 pm

How many points will M ryan leave on the field. Red zone, then punt. 4th down stop, 3 and out. I know this is the season of giving, but this is really bad.

Goodgod

December 16th, 2012
2:14 pm

meant red zone, field goal