Falcons Flyover: December 12, 2012

Asante Samuel and William Moore are both on the mend and could be ready to play on Sunday against the Giants. - Josh D. Weiss-US PRESSWIRE

Your daily collection of Falcons and NFL news and notes from around the Web.

Run Defense Must Regroup
After allowing Cam Newton to run wild last week, the Falcons run defense has gone back to the drawing board and will attempt to re-group before Ahmad Bradshaw comes to town on Sunday. Atlanta is now 23rd in the NFL in rush defense.

“Defensively, we didn’t do a whole lot of good things in the ballgame,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “Probably the most significant thing that we did was we were 3-for-3 when they got the ball in the red zone. When they got the ball down in the red zone, we played some good red-zone defense.”

Samuel Expected to Return to Practice
After missing almost all of the Saints game and the entirity of last week's contest, cornerback Asante Samuel is expected to return to practice on Wednesday and perhaps be ready to return to action against the Giants. Robert McClain has done an admirable job filling in for the former Pro Bowler, but getting Samuel back will be a huge boost to a defense that desperately needs to rebound from a poor showing in Carolina.

Additionally, safety William Moore could be cleared for practice as well after running for team trainers. If both can suit up versus the G-Men and play near full strength, Mike Nolan's defense will receive a huge (and much-needed) boost going up against Eli Manning and his talented group of receivers.

Bryant Stands Up to Hardy
As expected, Carolina defensive lineman Greg Hardy ran his mouth following last week's game. Atlanta's kicker responded with what many of us Falcons fans were saying in the stands.

"Enjoy watching us in January," Bryant said with a wry smile.

Amen.

Falcons Mindful of Saving Counters for the Playoffs
With a division championship locked up and a first round bye in the playoffs almost guaranteed, the Falcons don't exactly have any crucial games left to play until the new year rolls around.

For that reason, Mike Smith may be saving some new wrinkles for the postseason to keep them hidden from opposing teams. This is a sound strategy to an extent, but that all depends on what the Falcons are holding off on.

New York Aims to Put Pressure on Ryan, Falcons
After falling to the lowly Panthers, things are only going to get more difficult when the Giants come to town on the 16th.

"We know that we are going up against a great team that is hungry, especially coming off a loss to Carolina," Antrel Rolle said. "But the game has to be played Sunday. And we are going to go after them. We have our foot on the pedal now and we are not going to let off under any means necessary. You know, the dogs will be down there hunting come Sunday."

After facing a team with nothing to lose last week, the Falcons will take on a New York squad fighting to maintain the top spot in the NFC East. With the Redskins having beaten the Giants and challenging for the division title, a lot will be on the line for Tom Coughlin's squad this week. The Falcons, while not in a must-win situation by any means, have a lot to prove versus the team that eliminated them last year.

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