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What to Watch For in Week 11


Stingy Defense

Stopping the New York Giants offense is not impossible, but it is a daunting task. The Giants offense ranks eighth overall and averages 25.8 points per game. The Giants also ranks fifth overall in yards per game with 377.7 and seventh over all in rushing with 138.9 yards per game. The Giants offense ranks high, but has only found the end zone seven times on the ground this season. Seven touchdowns on the ground is not bad, but does not compare to the 16 touchdowns the Giants have scored through the air. What counts is the matchup the Giants face with the Falcons defense. The Falcons defense does not rank well, allowing 21.5 points per game and 216.7 passing yards per game, but the Falcons defense has played stingy in the second half. The Falcons allowed only seven points in the second have against the Panthers and if a missed field goal was made, the game could have changed drastically. The New Orleans game was much of the same. The Falcons defense held the NFL's top offense to seven second-half points. Watch for the Falcons to defense to allow yards, but have a shot to keep the Giants out of the end zone.

New looks
Despite the high offensive and defensive rankings the Giants have lost four straight games and have only beat one team with a winning record. The Falcons have lost three of the last four. As both teams look to bounce back, watch for run games to pick up. The Falcons were forced to play the second half of last weeks' game without Michael Turner(ankle sprain) and his status is yet to be determined. However, the Falcons have a talented back up with Jason Snelling. Snelling has carried the ball 37 times this season for 183 yards averaging 4.9 yards per carry. The new-look Snelling also gives the Falcon offense a receiving threat. This season Snelling has 14 catches for 132 yards and 9.4 average. The most impressive stat for Snelling comes courtesy of Falcons Radio's Dave Archer... In college Snelling touched the ball 310 times. Of those touches 115 of them were first downs. Snelling averaged a first down every 2.7 times he touched the ball. His success has carried over to this season with 17 first downs on 51 touches. As Snelling gets more action this week watch for Falcons offense to have slightly new look.

Looking back to last week sacks were crucial. The Falcons did not get to hit-or-miss quarterback Jake Delhomme once allowing him to complete his second game this season with no turnovers. The Giants have given up only 15 sacks this year and rank seventh in the NFL tied with four other teams. Looking back to What to Watch for in Week 10, in three of the Falcons five wins the defense had more then two sacks. In those three games the Falcons won by an average of 20.3 points. The Falcons offense ranks third in the NFL with only 12 sacks this season. Matt Ryan's so called "sophomore slump" may fade away if he stays well protected.

Second Quarter
The Falcons are young with several starters inside five years in the league; the problem, they have sometimes played that way. The Falcons have played well in every game this season, but seem to lose the game in one poorly played quarter. That quarter has been the second quarter. As the Falcons travel to New York for Week 11 a key to the game is the same as in Week 9. Win the second Quarter. The second quarter has determined every Falcons game this season. In the Falcons four losses they have been outscored 55 to 14 in the second stanza. If the Falcons can play tough just before halftime, fans could see a second road win of 2009.

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