The New York Giants (8-5) travel to the Georgia Dome Sunday to face the Atlanta Falcons (11-2) in a game that -- on paper -- should mean more to the Giants than it does to the Falcons.
The Giants lead the NFC East by a single game over the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys. The Falcons, despite losing to the Carolina Panthers last week, have already clinched the NFC South and seem virtually certain of earning both a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
So, the motivation should be on the Giants' side Sunday. Right? Well, maybe not entirely. The Falcons would like to erase the sting of last season's embarrassing 24-2 loss to the Giants in the Wild-Card Round of the NFC Playoffs. Plus, the Falcons know that the last two Super Bowl champions -- the Giants and the Green Bay Packers -- were on late-season rolls when the playoffs started.
From the Atlanta-Journal Constitution:
Defeating the Giants could start a surge to the playoffs for the Falcons. At the very least an Atlanta victory could provide evidence that its poor effort in the 30-20 loss at Carolina was an aberration rather than a sign of real trouble.
"We have a standard here and obviously [last Sunday] did not live up to that standard," Clabo said. "We are disappointed we performed the way we did. On the flip side of that, we are excited we have the world champs coming in and we can respond and put on a performance that lives up to that standard that we’ve set for ourselves."
When: Sunday, Dec. 16, 1 p.m. ET
Where: Georgia Dome
TV: FOX -- Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa
Line: Giants +1