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2012 NFC Wild-Card, Giants Vs. Falcons: Special Teams Breakdown

Steve Weatherford (5) of the New York Giants celebrates the winning field goal with Lawrence Tynes (9) against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium on October 16, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Steve Weatherford (5) of the New York Giants celebrates the winning field goal with Lawrence Tynes (9) against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium on October 16, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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NFL games often come down to a game-changing play or two made on special teams. So, let's look at the two special teams units for the New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons heading into Sunday's NFC Wild-Card game at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m. ET/FOX).

We will go team-by-team here.

Giants

The Giants signed veteran Steve Weatherford this season to replace Matt Dodge, and Weatherford has had an exceptional year. He has a career-best 45.7 yards per punt average and his net of 39.2 is an improvement for the giants of nearly five full yards per punt from a season ago.

Placekicker Lawrence Tynes made 19-of-24 attempts this season (78 percent). He did well on kickoffs with 41.5 percent of his kicks resulting touchbacks.

The Giants kickoff and punt coverage has been solid most of the season.

The problem for the Giants has been in the return game. They are 29th in the league in punt returns, averaging 6.1 yards per return, and 20th in kickoff returns with an average of 23.3. Will Blackmon is the primary punt returner, and Jerrel Jernigan, Da'Rel Scott and Devin Thomas have been handling kickoff returns.

Falcons

Former Giant Matt Bryant made 27-of-29 field goals for Atlanta this season (93 percent). Atlanta punter Matt Bosher averaged 42.7 yards per punt with a net of 38.9 yards.

Atlanta is similar to the Giants in kickoff returns, averaging 23.5 yards per return. The Falcons average 9.5 yards on punt returns, 20th in the league. Eric Weems handles all of Atlanta's returns.

Advantage: Even ... really not much to differentiate here.