We might as well call it desperation Monday, as the Atlanta Falcons host the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. With both teams in need of a win, the Falcons are 4-point favorites at home with an over/under of 53.5 points.
After a disastrous 1-4 start to the season, the Falcons have a small glimmer of hope after last week’s home win over Tampa Bay. Atlanta has another winnable game against the Giants on Monday, which will be followed by their bye week. Coming out of their bye, the Falcons have a somewhat manageable schedule for the rest of November, so with a win on Monday, there’s still hope for them to turn things around.
For the Giants, it’s now or never. Playing in a rather mediocre NFC East has them just a couple games behind the pack, even at 1-5. Much like the Falcons, the Giants have a fairly manageable schedule over the next month, so there will be opportunities to win some games. But if they can’t win Monday and start stringing some wins together, it’ll be another lost season for the G-Men.
While the Falcons have struggled as a team this year, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Matt Ryan and the team’s passing attack. Ryan is throwing for over 300 yards per game and has just two interceptions against 14 touchdowns through six games. The problem is that Atlanta’s running game is going nowhere without Devonta Freeman, who’s now on IR, so there’s not enough balance to Atlanta’s offense.
The Giants, who have a fair amount of talent in the secondary, may be able to focus on stepping the Atlanta passing game without worrying about getting hurt on the ground. It’s also worth noting that both Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu are a little banged up heading into Monday’s game, which could make it a little easier for New York’s defense to focus their efforts on slowing down Ryan and Julio Jones.
Still Not Fixed
Despite having a top-10 offense, the Falcons still have the second-worst defense in the NFL, as they’re giving up 32 points per game. In fact, over the last four weeks, that total is closer to 38 points per game. The Falcons have not been able to replace the loss of both starting safeties or linebacker Deion Jones to injury. The Atlanta defense also has just 10 sacks in six games, so they may not even be able to take advantage of New York’s terrible offensive line.
One area where the Falcons have been vulnerable is against pass-catching running backs, which is one area where the Giants excel with Saquon Barkley. Eli Manning doesn’t look deep because he doesn’t trust his offensive line to hold their blocks. However, throwing short passes to Barkley could lead to some big plays against the Atlanta defense.
Both teams need a win, and that should lead to a close game. More importantly, Atlanta’s defense can’t stop anyone, so it’s unlikely they’ll be able to pull away, even if Ryan and the offense have a good game. The Giants need this game just as much as the Falcons do, so they’ll at least keep it close enough to beat the spread. Bet on the Giants +4 on Monday night.