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Monday Night Football Preview: Can the New York Giants Rebound Against the Atlanta Falcons?

Will Saquon Barkley continue his early-season dominance on Monday night against the Falcons?

This week's edition of Monday Night Football features the New York Giants traveling to take on the Atlanta Falcons. The Giants stumble into this game 1-5 after dropping their last three, including last week's primetime 34-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Likewise, the Falcons limp into this contest with a 2-4 record after narrowly beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week by a score of 34-29. With both teams in last place in their respective division, they will look to make a statement win in this primetime showdown.

Quarterback Breakdown

For this quarterback analysis, we begin with Eli Manning's 2018 late-career breakdown. The 37-year-old signal caller owns 1,662 passing yards, 6 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions through six games. Manning has also struggled based on our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric. His 0.01 Passing NEP per drop back ranks 23rd among 27 passers to drop back at least 150 times. Lucky for Manning, the Falcons will be without Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen, and Deion Jones, softening his matchup.

On the other side, Matt Ryan has made up for his team's defensive struggles by passing for 1,956 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Ryan has been superb by our metrics as well. His 0.34 Passing NEP per drop back ranks third among the aforementioned group. He will look to continue his early season success with help from stud receiver Julio Jones and standout rookie Calvin Ridley.

Running Back Breakdown

Unlike Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley has absolutely set the world on fire to begin his rookie season. The young star has at least 100 total yards in every game this season, including 438 rushing yards and 373 receiving yards. His 0.07 Rushing NEP per carry is tied for fifth among 21 running backs with at least 70 carries. However, Barkley currently leads the league in receiving yards for running backs, arguably making him the most valuable player in the league at his position.

The Falcons will turn to a committee comprised of Ito Smith and Tevin Coleman after Devonta Freeman landed on injured reserve last week. In Freeman's absence, Coleman has a mere 260 yards rushing. Likewise, his -0.13 Rushing NEP per carry is tied for 17th among the aforementioned group. With Coleman struggling, Smith has stepped up for 102 yards on 32 carries. His 0.02 Rushing NEP per carry would rank 11th if he qualified for the above group. Look for the Falcons to continue with a running back by committee while Freeman remains sidelined.

Defensive Matchup

Both of these teams have disappointed on the defensive side of the ball. Based on our metrics, the Giants slot in 24th, while the Falcons come in 31st. The Falcons particularly have struggled in both phases ranking 31st against the pass and 28th against the run. Conversely, the Giants rank 27th against the run and 21st against the pass.

With both teams largely struggling on defense, both offenses should move the ball freely.

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