The New York Giants will be watching the two NFC Wild Crd weekend matchups to anticipate which of the teams that they will play. As a fan, though, Big Blue Nation can just kick back and watch the games play out.
That being said, Giants fans should have their eyes glued to the Vikings vs. Eagles game. The Eagles were able to beat the Giants only a couple of weeks ago during the Week 14 showdown in the Meadowlands. The Vikings, of course, were able to beat a Giants team who was resting most of it's starters in the Week 17 game.
If you are a player or coach for the New York Giants, there is no way that you want anything to do with the Philadelphia Eagles. This Eagles team has a swagger and has been in "must win" mode since their tie with the Bengals. They have speed at all eleven positions on the defense. Philly has a super-star, do-it-all tailback in Brian Westbrook as well a quarterback with tons of playoff experience who is trying to get the one thing that has eluded him in his career, a Super Bowl title.
The Vikings, on the other hand, haven't seen Brandon Jacobs play this season and while they stop the run well, they aren't as balanced as New York. Tavaris Jackson doesn't have much experience on the big stage. They have Adrian Peterson, who is a monster feature back, but in the Week 17 showdown they held him in check outside of the 67-yard touchdown run.
If the Vikings defeat the Eagles, then New York would face Arizona in a rematch of the Giant's 37-29 victory in Glendale earlier this season. This game the Giants won without the presence of a running game or Brandon Jacobs.
Arizona has not won a game on the East Coast, going 0-5 when flying cross-country. This bodes well for the Giants; the Cards play in the perfect weather of the Phoenix metropolis, so the Meadowlands winds could have a negative effect on their otherwise explosive passing game.
No matter who the Giants play, though, they have to stick to the formula that worked last year: no turnovers, an emphasis on clock control, run the football 30 times per game, and put pressure on the opposing quarterback.
In Eli Manning they have something that only the Steelers and Colts can say they have: a Super Bowl winning starting quarterback. Eli Manning, in this postseason, will have to not only manage the game but make big throws in the most pressure packed situation.
The Giants have three x-factors in what they want to do on offense: Brandon Jacobs, Steve Smith, and Kevin Boss. As I have mentioned before, Jacobs sets the tone for this team on offense, but Steve Smith is a prolific WR on third down. We all can remember his catch on 3rd-and-11 last year in Super Bowl XLII. With Smith and Boss able to go over the middle to move the chains, it will help the team play clock control and keep-away against either the Eagles or the Cardinals.
Overall, for this postseason, I see Eli winning over Peyton down in Tampa, with Eli passing Peyton in the only thing that matters in the sport: number of Lombardi Trophies. The Giants won last year wearing their white away uniforms, this year they will take the field for the postseason wearing the home blues.
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