As the New York Giants prepare to face the Falcons at 1 p.m. at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, here's one reason for Giants fans to feel good about the game and one reason for concern:
Feeling good: The Giants tend to do well against teams they're convinced they can beat. Decisive victories earlier this year over the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers, two of the teams they beat in last year's playoffs, offer evidence for this. But they didn't beat anyone as badly in that playoff run as they beat the Falcons, who didn't even score on offense in a 24-2 loss. This game is in Atlanta, where the Falcons are unbeaten this year, and that mitigates the memory a bit. But the Giants have a significant psychological advantage as a result of that game, and the fact that they've convinced themselves they're playing playoff games already should only strengthen that advantage.
Cause for concern: Of all of the significant injury absences this week, which include starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw, the toughest injuries for the Giants are in the secondary, where safety Kenny Phillips is out again and top cornerback Prince Amukamara joins him on the shelf. Against Matt Ryan and the No. 4-ranked Falcons passing offense, those absences are bound to show up, and it makes it all the more important that the Giants' pass rush look like it did in January against Ryan rather than the way it's looked for most of this season.