The Giants may have barely eked into the playoffs, but with the way they mudstomped Atlanta on Sunday, their divisional round matchup against Green Bay has suddenly taken a turn toward intriguing.
A lot of people believe the Giants can beat the 15-1 top-seeded Packers. Count Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul among them.
"We're going to win. One hundred percent we're going to win ... because we're the best."
In Week 13, the Giants hosted Green Bay and nearly came out with a victory. They had the score tied at 35 with under a minute to play until Aaron Rodgers made some spectacular throws to get the Packers in field-goal position. They kicked the game-winner with zeroes on the clock and escaped with a 38-35 victory.
The difference is that the Giants believe they're playing their best football right now. With the way their defense crushed Matt Ryan's soul on Sunday, it's hard to argue. "This is a playoff team, this is not regular season's edition," says Mathias Kiwanuka.
There are parallels to the Super Bowl-winning team of the 2007 season, too. Late in the season, that Giants team played the regular-season dominating New England Patriots, and lost by a score of 38-35. Then, when they got another shot at them in the Super Bowl, well, you know what happened. In the NFC championship game that preceded the Super Bowl, the Giants were road underdogs against Green Bay, and ended up winning that game 23-20.
So there is precedent for believing that an Eli Manning-led Giants team can go into Lambeau and beat a favored team in the playoffs.
Of course, that was against late-career Brett Favre, and his penchant for throwing crippling interceptions in playoff games. This time, they'll face Aaron Rodgers, who just wrapped up the NFL's best regular season in history, by passer rating.
Vegas has the Packers favored by more than a touchdown.
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