Eli Manning of the New York Giants looks to pass against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on January 1, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Breaking down the offenses of the New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons, position-by-position
As we continue to preview the New York Giants-Atlanta Falcons meeting Sunday at Metlife Stadium (1 p.m. ET) in the wild-card round of the 2012 NFL Playoffs, let's break down the offenses of the two teams, position-by-position.
A quick look at the overall numbers would seem to indicate that the Giants -- despite their lack of a running game -- are the more explosive offensive team. See the chart below:
Overall Offensive Numbers
Yards Per Game -- 385.1 yards per game (8th)
Total Points -- 394 (9th)
Passing Yards Per Game -- 295.9 (5th)
Rushing Yards Per Game -- 89.2 (32nd)
Football Outsiders' Offensive Efficiency -- 15.6% (7th)
Yards Per Game -- 376.6 (10th)
Total Points -- 402 (7th)
Passing Yards Per Game -- 262.0 (8th)
Rushing Yards Per Game -- 114.6 (17th)
Football Outsiders' Offensive Efficiency -- 10.3% (12th)
Now, let's get on with looking at the two offenses position-by-position.
Both Eli Manning of the Giants and Matt Ryan of the Falcons have established franchise records for passing yardage this season. Manning passed for 4,933 yards and had a franchise record eight 300+ yard games while throwing 29 touchdown passes, 16 interceptions and compiling a 92.9 passer rating. He led five fourth-quarter come-from-behind victories and set an NFL record with 15 fourth-quarter touchdown passes. Ryan passed for an Atlanta record 4,177 yards while compiling 29 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 92.2 passer rating.
The difference here is postseason success. Manning has a ring, while Ryan has only two postseason losses, four interceptions and a 71.2 passer rating on his resume.
The Falcons have Michael Turner, who rushed for 1,340 yards -- his third season in the last four with at least 1,300 yards. Turner is by far the best running back in this game, and a guy the Giants will have to control. His primary backup is Jason Snelling, who has 44 carries this season and 26 receptions.
The Giants have Ahmad Bradshaw (659 yards, 3.9 yards per carry), Brandon Jacobs (571 yards, 3.8 per carry) and D.J. Ware (3.5 yards per carry and 27 receptions as primarily a third-down back).
Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez is a five-time first-team All-Pro and 12-time Pro Bowler who is heading to the Hall of Fame. At 35, though, Gonzalez still has a lot in the tank. He caught 80 passes this season, seven for touchdowns.
For the Giants, it will be nice if first-year starter Jake Ballard (38 catches in 14 games) is able to play. That will help the Giants' passing attack and their running game. If he can't play due to the knee injury that sidelined him the final two weeks of the season, Bear Pascoe and Travis Beckum will split time.
The Giants have the dynamic duo of the record-setting Victor Cruz (82 catches, a franchise-best 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns) and Hakeem Nicks (76 catches, 1,192 yards, seven touchdowns). The third receiver is Mario Manningham, an inconsistent but talented play-maker. The Giants have lived by the big play all season, and Cruz and Nicks have provided most of them.
Atlanta has Roddy White, who caught 100 balls for 1,296 yards and eight touchdowns this season and play-making rookie Julio Jones (54 catches, 959 yards, eight touchdowns).
Advantage: Giants (slightly)
The Giants' line has been a sore spot much of the season. Free-agent center David Baas has not met expectations, starting left tackle Will Beatty is lost for the season, David Diehl has struggled at both guard and tackle, Chris Snee has had a sub-par season and Kareem McKenzie appears to be showing signs of age. All that said, the line has played better in recent weeks. The Giants are ranked 28th in the league in run-blocking efficiency and sixth in the league in pass-blocking efficiency by Football Outsiders.
Atlanta's line will face a task of handling New York's vaunted pass rush (48 sacks, third in the league). The Falcons are ranked 27th in the league in run-blocking efficiency and seventh in the league in pass-blocking efficiency.