After vanquishing the Redskins in Landover on Sunday, the Giants can now move on to the NFC Playoffs where they hold the fifth seed. That means they will face the fourth seed, the Green Bay Packers, this Sunday afternoon/evening at legendary Lambeau Field.
The “frozen tundra” as Lambeau is known, thanks to the famous NFL Films highlights from the 1960s, are very familiar grounds to these Giants. They have played there many times in recent years, including twice in the postseason, both victories. Their most recent trip was this past October 9, a 23-16 loss.
These Giants are a strange bunch, racking up 11 wins this year without scoring over 30 points once in a game. Their offseason spending spree to fortify their defense has been a rousing success and has carried their suddenly sluggish offense across the finish line kicking and screaming all the way.
Under rookie head coach Ben McAdoo, a longtime Green Bay assistant. the Giants have turned their fortunes around in a single season after three consecutive losing years. Sunday’s 19-10 win over Washington was McAdoo’s 11th of the year, tying him with Dan Reeves for the franchise single-season record for a first-year coach.
“I like this football team,” said McAdoo after the game. “I think we have talented men of integrity in the locker room. That’s where it starts and where it ends. We have a good group of guys that’s willing to work. They like football, and you saw that today.”
The feel-good victory, which saw the Giants play their starters for the entire game (with the exception of CB Janoris Jenkins and WR Odell Beckham, Jr.), will be used as a catapult to the playoffs.
“It feels good to make the playoffs,” QB Eli Manning said. “That’s what it’s all about. Eleven wins, it’s a nice accomplishment, but it’s all about getting into the dance. I’m proud of this team. I think there is a uniqueness and something special about this squad of guys. We’re finding ways to win games. Not perfect. I wish it could be prettier at times. But hey, we’re winning games and that’s a good quality to have.”
The quality is on defense, which held the powerful Washington offense to just ten points. Just as it appeared the defense might falter, they came up with a big play in the form of sacks and interceptions. CB Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie had two INTs a sack and two passes defended, possibly his best game as a Giant.
But it is the trip to Green Bay that is on everyone’s mind today. It’s is Big Blue’s first foray into the postseason since Super Bowl XLVI back in February 2012. They crushed the 15-1 Packers in the Divisional round on their way to that game, 37-20, at Lambeau. In 2007, New York beat Brett Favre and the Pack in sub-zero temperatures there, 23-20, in the NFC Championship Game to advance to Super Bowl XLII.
The Giants are wary of what QB Aaron Rodgers has been doing the past two months. He has clearly been the league’s best player over that time and the Packers will be very difficult to beat no matter where the game is played. Their win over the Detroit Lions to sew up the NFC North on Sunday night was their sixth in a row.
The Packers are currently four-point favorites to beat the Giants this week and are 8-1 to win the Super Bowl, which makes them the third choice behind the 7-5 New England Patriots and the 7-2 Dallas Cowboys. The Giants are 20-1.
The Giants-Packers game will be aired on Sunday on FOX. Kickoff is set for 4:40pm. Should the Giants win, they would advance to the Divisional round to face either Atlanta or Dallas.