The “must win” moniker is often over played, but for these two 5-4 teams, it is the real deal. Win and you have a shot at one of the two Wild Card slots, lose and you are almost assuredly out of the Playoff hunt. Well, maybe not for the Giants; they are only one game back in the East, but for the Falcons, the South is already lost.
The Falcons come into this one at an extreme disadvantage. First the numb-nuts that provided for Atlanta’s blatantly unfair scheduling having giving the Falcons another game, this time on the road, against a team coming off a bye week. This makes for of these on the year, which is the highest in the league. What did Atlanta do to piss off the scheduling folks? Second, the Falcons are getting hit hard by the injury bug, with Turner doubtful to see any action, and Norwood, for the first time in four games, will see limited action at best.
Then there is the case of the slumping Ryan. I am not in favor of the sophomore jinx thing, but I think the more he presses, the worse things get. I have written a good deal about this over the last few weeks, so I am not going to go into more detail right now. Just suffice it to say that Ryan has to avoid turnovers and re-introduce the deep ball to have a chance against the Giants.
I love the Falcons media packages that Atlanta puts together for each game. There is some hope for the Falcons because the road team has won the last 12 meetings. If Atlanta gets off to a quick start, and holds the lead at the half, they are 16-1 under Coach Smith. The Falcons rank fourth in strength of schedule, of course as mentioned above that number should have an asterisk due to the number of bye games crap. At any rate, the amount of statistical information in the Falcons media packages, including break downs by games and players is amazing. Well worth a read!