After a tumultuous season with a great deal of ups and downs, the New York Giants are just one home win away from their first playoff berth since 2008.
The injury-riddled G-men were written off early on as a team in disarray heading for a new coach in 2012, after missing the playoffs for two straight seasons with major collapses.
They nearly collapsed again this year, losing four straight games after opening the 2011 season 6-2. They gained some momentum with a moral victory in the loss to Green Bay and emotional wins over the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets, allowing them to keep their destiny in their own hands.
Despite their chance to succeed with a 9-7 record, the Giants are a team with many holes at many positions, and they will need to draw the right matchup to avoid being a one-and-done team.
If the Giants hope to make a run, they need to hope they can keep up in a shootout with whomever they play.
Here are the games the Giants would be able to win in the playoffs.
Wait, wait. Hear me out please before you start throwing tomatoes.
The Green Bay Packers are the superior team in almost every conceivable way, but the matchup still works for the New York Giants better than a game against say, the New Orleans Saints.
The Packers' pass defense, while good with takeaways is very porous.
Eli Manning demonstrated this to good effect when he kept Big Blue in the game against the Pack right up until the very end.
The Giants also make a habit of playing up to their competition. If history tells us anything, it is that a Giants-Packers matchup will not be as lopsided as the numbers would have you believe.
Plus, a game for them in Lambeau would mean that the Giants have won a playoff game or two, and they would be riding the emotional momentum right into the game, where they would be major underdogs.
An unhealthy offensive line against the Giants' pass-rushing unit will play hell on Rodgers in the cold weather.
A good situation, to be sure.
The Detroit Lions are heading into the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
That means very few members of this team have playoff experience. Their young team is emotional and prone to mental mistakes and penalties, which will only hurt them in playoff situations.
That will only help the Giants, who have a number of veterans remaining from their 2007 Super Bowl team and the teams before.
That kind of postseason experience will help, especially when Eli Manning has to duel Matthew Stafford in what will likely be a high-flying and high-scoring affair.
What will help the Giants, other than the Lions' lack of experience and 14th-ranked passing defense, is that the Lions have even less of a running game than the G-Men, which will hurt them in a winter game at the Meadowlands.
Eli is used to throwing in the cold, while Stafford played his college career at Georgia and hasn't been active for enough games in his pro career to have played in frigid weather many times.
Though Matthew Stafford and Megatron will light up the Giants' secondary, Eli Manning and his weapons will give the same treatment to the Lions. Add in a decent winter game from Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs and you have a recipe for victory.
The Atlanta Falcons play in a dome, in the south.
The cold weather at the Meadowlands in January will not be favorable for a Falcons' squad that relies on passing to open up their offense.
Their 19th-ranked passing defense will allow Eli Manning to keep the New York Giants in the game. A suspect offensive line will be gashed hard and often by Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka.
If any team is very similar to the Giants in terms of game plan and play style, it's the Falcons.
Giants fans will just have to trust Eli to out-duel Matt Ryan.
Simply put, their first game this season was a batted pass away from going to overtime.
The Giants are healthier and playing better than they were the last time they met the San Fransisco 49ers.
Like the Lions, the 49ers have a distinct lack of playoff experience, which will aid the Giants in their game. Though they boast the league's best rushing defense, they rank only No. 17 overall in passing defense, which is something Eli Manning can (once again) exploit.
If they can prevent Alex Smith from converting third downs, the G-men will have a real chance to knock off the likely NFC No. 2 seed.
The Niners are the one team in the NFC that may not be able to shred the Giants' weak secondary, and it will show.