Will the New York Giants become THE GIANTS for the rest of the 2012? Or, will they falter and miss the playoffs? We begin to find out on Sunday.
You can analyze Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons pretty much any way you want. Bottom line is the Giants need to win to keep control of the NFC East and set themselves up to reach the playoffs and defend their Super Bowl title.
Here is pretty much everything you need to know.
The Basic Stuff
Game: Giants (8-5) at Falcons (11-2)
Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV: FOX -- Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa
Line: Giants +1
1. Eli Manning -- He is the guy who makes the Giants' offense go. He pretty much has permanent residence on this list.
2. David Wilson -- Ahmad Bradshaw won't play, which means Wilson will be counted on to carry the Giants' running attack. coming off his franchise-record 327 yards of total offense against the New Orleans Saints last week Wilson seems to have arrived just in time. No more back flips from Wilson, but the Giants will certainly take the touchdowns.
Oh, and this little clip of the real Flip Wilson as his famous character 'Geraldine' is here just for the fun of it.
Flip Wilson Show with Geraldine and Muhammad Ali (via gladteck)
3. Jayron Hosley -- Prince Amukamara has been the Giants' best cornerback this season, and he won't play against the Falcons due to a hamstring injury. Hosley, a rookie third-round pick drafted to be a slot corner, will take Amukamara's place on the outside. The pass-first Falcons are sure to test him early and often.
1. Roddy White -- Leads Falcons' wide receivers with 77 catches, but is questionable with a knee injury. His presence undoubtedly changes the game for both teams, especially with the Giants playing without Amukamara.
2. Matt Ryan -- Can he take advantage of a Giants' secondary without Amukamara and Kenny Phillips? Can the Giants disrupt the potent Atlanta passing attack with their pass rush?
3. Asante Samuel -- The Atlanta cornerback has tortured Eli Manning over the years, intercepting three Manning passes in eight career games. He's a gambler, and the Giants need to make him pay.
for the Giants, it's a simple situation. They need to win the game. New York leads the NFC East by one game, and both the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins are hot, with Dallas having won four of five and Washington having won four straight. If the Giants win, they keep control of the division. If they lose, their playoff chances could become very cloudy.
For Atlanta, the game is about respect. The Falcons are 11-2 and headed toward home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Atlanta has played a weak schedule, however, and many analysts aren't sure exactly how good the Falcons are. This is an opportunity for Atlanta to show its true colors against an upper-echelon team.
I think for us it's an important football game because we've got a lot of stuff in front of us that we want to finish off with this season. I think more so than anything else, and more so than worrying about what they're worrying about, that's where our focus is. That's where it needs to be. I'm sure that they'll be giving us their absolute very best as everybody does at the end of the year, but we need to concentrate on playing our very best because some of the things that we set out to achieve at the beginning of the season are still there for us in the regular season.
-- Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan on whether Sunday's game is a 'benchmark' game for the Falcons
NEW YORK GIANTS
CB Prince Amukamara - Hamstring
RB Ahmad Bradshaw - Knee/Foot
S Kenny Phillips - Knee
S Tyler Sash - Hamstring
LB Michael Boley - Back