Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith told reporters on Thursday that defensive end John Abraham, the Falcons' leader in sack and the key to slowing down New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, will play for the entirety of Sunday's wild card game. Abraham, who started 15 games this season despite a groin injury, has rotated with defensive ends Ray Edwards and Kroy Biermann on a monitored play count system throughout the season to preserve his health.
No more, said Smith (quotes from the Atlanta Journal Constitution):
"We’ve had him on a play count all season long, and now it’s an opportunity for us to go and extend his snaps as we get into the postseason," Falcons coach Mike Smith said Thursday.
Manning is fourth in the NFL in total offense, and the Giants' passing game has carried the team to a NFC East title and playoff berth. In the Giants' last three games, however, Manning has been sacked six times. Abraham has 9.5 sacks this season, and exploded for 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles against the Jacksonville Jaguars three weeks ago.