Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants Sun. Jan. 8, 2012 1 p.m. EST

The Atlanta Falcons have been one of the more intriguing football teams in the NFL this season with Matt Ryan and company playing extremely well when firing on all cylinders. Even though this team can play with anyone when on their game, the Falcons have also been very streaky with this team either showing up or struggling right out of the gate.

Despite their struggles this season on both sides of the football, the Atlanta Falcons have been able to clinch a playoff spot via the NFC Wild Card and will take on the NFC East division champion New York Giants as a result. Much like the Falcons, the Giants have also been very good when on their game and terrible when not. The Giants were able to turn it on in the second half of the season and takeout the arch division rival Dallas Cowboys in the regular season finale, but there is no telling what team will show up in the playoffs.

As arguably one of the more even matchups in the first round of the NFL playoffs, the New York Giants or the Atlanta Falcons could easily get the win on Sunday and advance to the next round. The team to watch though should be the Giants as they have been impressive over the last few weeks of the NFL regular season and might have hit their stride at just the right time.

With Eli Manning playing more like a healthy Peyton Manning recently, the Giants have a great chance of winning this football game with some potent offense and decent defense. New York has been more of a defensive-minded football team over the year, but this season their bread and butter seems to be on offense with a good mix of run and pass.

This team definitely wins and loses games with the play of Eli Manning and with that being said the two-time Pro Bowler will have a lot of pressure on him to put up some big numbers this weekend. The running game will also play a big factor for the Giants in this matchup with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs looking to get involved in the offense.

As for the Atlanta Falcons, Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Michael Turner and rookie wideout Julio Jones could be potentially huge for this team. The Falcons are as good as any team in the league on offense when all four of these guys are playing up to their potential, but it is definitely hit-or-miss with this bunch.

As of right now, the New York Giants are favored to come out on top at home in this NFC Wild Card matchup with a -3 point spread. Conclusion: Our Football Betting Tips Guru says: This game could definitely go either way, but in the end I believe the Falcons will get the win at MetLife Stadium.

Take the Falcons at +3.

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