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Capsule previews of Sunday's NFL playoff games

Falcons (10-6) at Giants (9-7)

Time: 1 TV/radio: Ch. 13; 1010-AM Line/OU: Giants by 3; 47½

Coaches: Falcons — Mike Smith (42-21); Giants — Tom Coughlin (74-54, 142-114 overall)

The Falcons win if …

They attack the Giants' biggest weakness, their defense. The Falcons could dominate time of possession, leaving New York's offense on the sideline.

The Giants win if …

The Falcons secondary can't keep up with the Giants' 1,000-yard receivers, Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.

Matchup to watch

The Falcons want to isolate WR Julio Jones, left, on CB Aaron Ross or CB Corey Webster. Whoever wins will greatly influence the outcome.

Our take

If the Giants can get a pass rush, which they certainly are capable of, we believe Atlanta QB Matt Ryan has a tougher time than Eli Manning, and the Giants win.

Prediction | Giants 28, Falcons 24

Steelers (12-4) at Broncos (8-8)

Time: 4:30 TV/radio: Ch. 10; 1010-AM Line/OU: Steelers by 8½; 33½

Coaches: Steelers — Mike Tomlin (54-25); Broncos — John Fox (8-8, 81-79 overall)

The Steelers win if …

They can contain Denver's potent, top-ranked rushing attack and make QB Tim Tebow have to win with his arm against a ferocious defense.

The Broncos win if …

They can exploit Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger's sore left ankle with relentless pursuit from stellar rookie LB Von Miller and others.

Matchup to watch

Denver Pro Bowl LT Ryan Clady, far left, has a significant challenge with LB James Harrison lining up on the edge and aiming for Tebow.

Our take

Denver is going to struggle to score. So even with their significant injuries, we see the Steelers winning a low-scoring affair.

Prediction | Steelers 20, Broncos 13

Stat pack

passing yards

rushing yards

passing yards allowed

rushing yards allowed



262.0 yards

295.9 yards

114.6 yards

89.2 yards

97 yards

121.2 yards

236.6 yards

255.1 yards

offensive rankings: Falcons — 10th; Giants — 8th

defensive rankings: Falcons — 12th; Giants — 27th

points scored: Falcons — 25.1 (7th); Giants — 24.6 (9th)

points allowed: Falcons — 21.9 (18th); Giants — 25.0 (25th)

passing yards

passing yards allowed

rushing yards allowed

253.4 yards

152.1 yards

99.8 yards

126.3 yards

171.9 yards

231.5 yards

offensive rankings: Steelers — 12th; Broncos — 23rd

defensive rankings: Steelers — 1st; Broncos — 20th

points scored: Steelers — 20.3 (22nd); Broncos — 19.3 (25th)

points allowed: Steelers — 14.2 (1st); Broncos — 24.4 (24th)

Stat pack



rushing yards

118.9 yards

164.5 yards

Stephen F. Holder, Times staff writer

Capsule previews of Sunday's NFL playoff games 01/07/12 [Last modified: Saturday, January 7, 2012 8:52pm]
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