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10 Things to Know About the Falcons


1) The Giants and Falcons have played 20 regular season games, and the series is tied, 10-10. The two teams have never played in the postseason. The Falcons are 2-5 against Coughlin (1-3 while he's been with the Giants).

2) Joining the Falcons in the same year, head coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan are 0-2 in the playoffs, despite a 43-21 regular season record since 2008. They lost in the 2009 Wild Card round at Arizona and again to Green Bay on their path to the Super Bowl in the 2011 Divisional Round. Ryan has a 71.2 passer rating in the postseason (below his career 88.4 regular season rating) with three touchdowns, four interceptions, a 66.7 completion percentage, and an average of 192.5 yards per game.

3) Falcons-Giants Connections: LB Michael Boley was a fifth round draft choice (160th overall) by the Falcons in 2005; Atlanta secondary coach Tim Lewis was the defensive coordinator for the Giants from 2004-06; and Falcons K Matt Bryant played for the Giants in 2002-03.

4) Ryan broke the franchise record for passing yards in a single season in the first quarter of last week's 45-24 rout of Tampa Bay when he hit WR Julio Jones for a 48-yard touchdown, snapping Jeff George's club record of 4,143 yards set in 1995. Ryan finished the regular season with 4,177 passing yards.

5) Likewise, wide receiver Roddy White became the Falcons all-time leading receiver last week when he hauled in a 16-yard pass from QB Chris Redman in the second half. White's 7,374 career receiving yards broke WR Terance Mathis' franchise record of 7,349 receiving yards (1994-2001). RB Michael Turner also broke the 23-year-old franchise touchdown record with his 49th score in four seasons.

6) Ryan has not thrown an interception in 166 straight pass attempts, spanning 16 quarters.

7) The Falcons are 6-3 this season when holding opposing rushers to fewer than 100 yards, and have now done so against 13 of their last 22 opponents.

8) The Falcons have played indoors 11 times this season, posting a 3-2 record outdoors. Ryan is 13-10 outside with a passer rating of 82.3. Indoors, he is 30-11 with a rating of 91.4. 

10) Back in Flowery Branch, Ga., coach Smith broke down the matchup on Monday: *"When you look at their statistics over those last four games, they are really playing good football in all three phases. If you look at the numbers throughout the season, in some areas they may not be what they really are. They're playing much better football here at the end of the season.

"Their quarterback is a Pro Bowl quarterback. They've got a wide receiver that creates matchup issues. And early in the season, they weren't running the ball effectively. They've got a three-headed monster in my mind right now that allows them to run the ball. So it's going to be a big challenge for us defensively.

"Defensively, this is a group that can put a lot of pressure on the quarterback not only with their front four, but they have a very complex blitz package that coach [Perry] Fewell likes to implement…It's a big, strong, physical special teams. They have some thumpers that can run and cover. So they're the NFC East champs, and it ought to be a heck of a ballgame this week."*

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