Bad Weather Would Favor Giants
Eli Manning (Star-Ledger/US Presswire)
Eli Manning (Star-Ledger/US Presswire)
Publisher
Posted Jan 4, 2012


Predicted inclement weather for MetLife Stadium on Sunday may have more of an effect on the Falcons than the Giants.

The late season and playoff weather used to be considered "Giants weather" at old Giants Stadium. Rain, muck and the tricky winds of the big funnel in East Rutherford would favor the Giants' ground-based game.

But since they're more of a throwing team these days — an observation based on Eli Manning's 4,933 passing yards and the Giants' season-long troubles with running the ball — could the inclement predictions for Sunday affect the Giants' offensive game plan?

The opinion here is no. But it won't be up to the weather to determine the deciding factor. It'll strictly be up to Manning and his receivers. He's proved in the past that he can throw in all sorts of elemental adversity.

Remember the NFC Championship game in 2007? He outperformed Brett Favre, even as the mercury sunk to minus-23 degrees that night. Tom Coughlin's face was as red as a beat, and Lawrence Tynes, who provided the winning points in overtime, said kicking the football was like kicking a rock.

It was awfully cold for Ice Bowl II. But Manning still went 21-for-40 with 254 yards and no interceptions in that frigid 23-20 win at Lambeau Field.

Now, he's likely to have to throw the ball on another cold, possibly wet, and windy day.

"I never really thought about it," Manning said. "You just have to go out there and play the game. You don't think about it.

"I don't know if I play better or worse in bad weather. It's just a matter of guys making plays, guys giving me an opportunity to get the ball off and guys getting open."

Of course, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan basically said the same thing. He plays his home games in a dome, where the Falcons went 6-2 during the regular season. But he, too, can hold his own outside of the dome since he played his high school ball in Philadelphia before he went off to Boston College.

"I've played plenty of terrible weather games, so I am not too worried about it," Ryan said.

"Matt is from up there in the Northeast and has played a lot of games in the pros and in college in the outdoors even though we play our games indoors," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "I don't think that is going to be a concern. I think most of our guys are accustomed to playing outside. I would say that we are a muddier team, and we are an indoor team."

Still, one can assume that Manning has made a study of the wind patterns of the new stadium. So he'll have the decided advantage on Sunday over a quarterback who has had a solid, though unspectacular, season.

Remaining a pass-first team on Sunday may become a prerequisite for the Giants if they hope to beat the Falcons. But that doesn't worry Tom Coughlin: rain, wind, or calm.

"I think we're going to have to be," the Giants coach said. "But I think we will be. Hopefully we will run the ball better than we did last weekend, for example. Consistency is the word.

"I'm not trying to say good, bad or indifferent. But we've had four or five games in a row where we've rushed the ball for over 100 yards. I'll look for that to happen again. And Eli has in the past thrown the ball very, very well despite any kind of weather. That's always been an amazing thing to me.

"Whatever the weather is, the hearts are in the right place. We'll take care of whatever weather presents itself."



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