Getting Grady Jarrett back in the lineup and the team seeming to find just a bit more consistency on defense is going to pay dividends with prolific talents like Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley coming to the Georgia Dome. But the offense could be without a fully healthy Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu, which is going to impede Steve Sarkisian’s ability to run the kind of scheme he wants (example: the second-half of the Buccaneers game).
The Giants are abysmal this year, but so are the Falcons, when it counts. They came a bumbling, bonkers Bucs play away from losing last week, and while Eli Manning is likely in his last season, he’s still got a wily veteran mind that can take advantage of sloppy defensive play. This one will be close throughout, but I’ll say it comes down to if Ridley plays. He’s the spark that drives this offense to special heights now. If he’s in, they can get the win. If not? Say hello to 2-5.
Falcons 38 - Giants 28
From this point on, every game is a playoff game for the Falcons. Including this one, against a one win Giants team that has a top-five wideout, an already dangerous rookie running back, an athletic tight end, and a few playmakers on defense. I overlook the record because the Giants have enough talent to win this one. But for the Falcons to be victorious, QB Matt Ryan has to continue on his current hot streak and the defense has to somehow make a key stop or two, as they did against Tampa Bay.
Can the Falcons get the run game going? That element is 29th in the NFL, and a 150-yard outing combined from backs Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith would do wonders. The return of Grady Jarrett is a much needed shot in the arm for the defensive unit and a bad Eli Manning may be in the giving mood with turnovers in this one.
Falcons 21 - Giants 24
I’m not sure what to predict here. The Giants are terrible and the Falcons should win. However, I’ve felt that multiple weeks and have picked Atlanta to win every week but last week. I’m continuing my George Costanza and doing the opposite of what I think. The reverse jinx worked last week, so lets keep it going. If anyone can make Eli look good, it’s the Falcons defense. I’m going for the unthinkable.
Falcons 31 - Giants 24
Aside from the Steelers game, I’ve looked at every single week as a winnable one for Atlanta, which is why it’s so disappointing they’re currently 2-4. I’m doing it again this week, because the Giants are a team miles away from being good, regardless of how well their particular strengths align with Atlanta’s current weaknesses. The Falcons are at home, they’re healthier now than they’ve been in weeks and Eli Manning seems good for at least one catastrophically bad interception.
Just please don’t let this come down to a field goal.
Falcons 34 - Giants 27
Another topsy-turvy game filled of explosive plays and defensive breakdowns is on the horizon. For all the talk about injuries derailing the Falcons season, things are starting to look slightly better. The return of Grady Jarrett should be a massive boost against the Giants’ horrific offensive line. It’s also encouraging to see Derrick Shelby make his return, as he will be crucial in setting the edge to keep Saquon Barkley from turning the corner.
The problems at linebacker and safety don’t appear to be going away anytime soon. If they can show some improvement in the tackling department, there is hope against a dangerous yet limited Giants’ offense. The Falcons will score more than 30 points in this game. It’s on the defense to prevent Eli Manning from having a one-week resurgence. They’ll do just enough.