Heading into this game, both teams have kind of met their expectations. Atlanta was expected to win the NFC South and be in the hunt for one of the top seeds and they are. The Giants were expected to get off to a good start, go through a slump and round into form as December approaches; that too has happened.
The Giants are coming off a huge blowout versus the New Orleans Saints, a team who beat the Falcons. However, they are still involved in what has become a fierce battle for the NFC East crown with the upstart Washington Redskins thanks to the play of Robert Griffin III. The New York Football Giants head into Sunday only a game up over the 7-6 Redskins, who have a date with the Cleveland Browns. That being said, even though they are on a roll, they need a win versus the Falcons.
Atlanta heads into Sunday needing a win as well; not so much for their record but for their confidence and morale. They got hammered against the Carolina Panthers last week en route to their second loss on the season. NFL analysts and fans were already questioning the validity of the Falcons as an elite team and the way they lost to the Panthers has raised those questions again. To add to that, based off sheer record alone, Atlanta really has not played any of the elite teams in the NFL this season. In fact, the only team they have played so far who is definitely going to the playoffs is the Denver Broncos. Needless to say, Atlanta needs to make a statement against the Giants this weekend.
The main reason this is a make-or-break game for Atlanta is because they have so many skeptics. They are tied for the best record in the league and still have people calling them pretenders. Meanwhile, the Giants go through a slump and everyone says, “Oh, they do that every year, they’ll be fine.” The reason fans feel that way is because the Giants have done that before, while Atlanta has failed to win a postseason game the last three seasons. If the Falcons can pull out the win it will not only give the team a huge confidence boost but their fans too as they head into the playoffs.