Although the teams haven't faced each other in the playoffs, Atlanta is no stranger to playing in New York against the Giants. And the success rate has been high as Falcons posted three straight victories in the "Big Apple" from 2002-04.
In 2003, the Birds flew east in Week 10 with the G-Men in the midst of a seven-game winning streak. The Falcons relied on a winning formula that day which could be copied in this year's first-ever postseason matchup.
The Atlanta offense generated 216 yards on the ground and the defense forced four turnovers, including three deep in its own territory.
RB Warrick Dunn gouged the vaunted New York defense for a season-high 178 rushing yards. Dunn started out the scoring with a 45-yard touchdown jaunt to cap the team's first drive of the game and a quick 7-0 lead. A second quarter Giants score knotted the contest at halftime.
The Falcons exploded out of the gate in the second half to record a pair of third quarter touchdowns to take command of the game 20-7. The defense did their part with an interception off of QB Kerry Collins at the Giants eight-yard line to set-up one of the scores.
With New York trying to mount a fourth quarter comeback, the defense continued it's stingy ways as S Keion Carpenter stripped RB Tiki Barber of the ball at the Atlanta seven-yard line to thwart a potential touchdown. A 12-yard gallop by RB T.J. Duckett closed out the scoring in a dominating 27-7 Falcons victory which snapped the Giants win streak.
Some of the key factors that swayed the balance in the Falcons favor that day were three winning tries in the red zone for the offense and a crafty defense that tallied two fumble recoveries and a pair of interceptions to stop drives.
A strong running game, red zone success, no turnovers, and opportunistic defense that forces turnovers is a formula that was used successfully in 2003 in Gotham. The Falcons might want to bottle up that plan again and take it on the road with them this weekend.
It's playoff time and there's nothing like it. The energy and intensity is at a different level now. The "second season" is here!