The comparisons of this year’s New York Giants team to the wild card team that won the Super Bowl in 2008 began last month and will be everywhere this week.
Led by a dominant defensive front and the lethal combination of Eli Manning to Hakeem Nicks, the Giants trounced Atlanta 24-2 on Sunday to earn the right to travel to Green Bay for a matchup with the defending Super Bowl champion Packers.
It was a confidence-building win for a team that has been playing with its back to the wall for weeks now. After the game, Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul let on just how confident his team has become when he threw down the gauntlet with some bold words to New York Post reporter Paul Schwartz.
“We’re going to win,” the NFL’s sack leader said. “One hundred percent we’re going to win ... because we’re the best.”
What happened to the old adage: ‘To be the best, you have to beat the best.’
Around the same time, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings was having slightly different thoughts.
The last playoff meeting between the two teams came in a thrilling 2008 NFC title game at Lambeau Field. Lawrence Tynes knocked home a 47-yard field goal in overtime to send the Giants to the Super Bowl. Apparently that memory still resonates in Green Bay.
The team that kept us from our potential Super Bowl in 08 is back on OUR turf now.Trust me,we haven't forgotten.Here.We...GoPackGo! #BeGreat— Greg Jennings (@GregJennings) January 8, 2012
Each of the previous two teams that eliminated Atlanta in the playoffs went to the Super Bowl that year.
Two conflicting guarantees! It is so on now!
On Dec. 4 the Giants nearly dealt the then-unbeaten Packers their first loss of the season, falling 38-35 on Mason Crosby’s last-second field goal.
New York got after Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers in that contest, sacking him twice and and hitting him six times, and Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and company know they must continue to pressure him in the pocket to win.
Jennings is expected to return from a knee injury he suffered in December, providing Rodgers with his full arsenal of weapons in one of the league’s most prolific passing attacks.
Giants-Packers will be the marquee game next Sunday, and if it’s anything like their previous meeting this season, I guarantee it will be worth watching.
And while we’re on the topic of guarantees, Washington Redskins wide receiver Donte Stallworth threw his hat into the ring with a bold prediction of his own over the weekend.
I WILL be playing in the #playoffs next year......I guarantee it!!! (Men's Warehouse guys voice)— Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) January 9, 2012
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NFL Playoffs: Scores, schedule