The New York Giants enter the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in football. They look to win another championship for New York and add to the title from 2007. This year, they have some new faces, some old. But if they play smart and hard, then they can win the whole thing again.
There are five reasons that they might be able to win the Super Bowl again this year though.
Whether due to Jason Pierre-Paul's presence on the field, memories of Super Bowl XLII or the emergence of Victor Cruz, the road to the Super Bowl goes through Green Bay and the Giants simply have the momentum right now.
The most dangerous teams in the playoffs are the hot ones. Teams that need to fight every week just to get in the playoffs are accustomed to the constant pressure in games. The Giants have basically been in do-or-die situations for the last two weeks.
The Christmas Eve matchup against the New York Jets kept the Giants season alive and gave them momentum going into the final game of the year against the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas, on the other hand, did not need to win in Week 16, and therefore played with less effort than usual.
The Cowboys came out completely flat against the Giants and fell behind 21-0. The Giants were able to bury the Cowboys and officially make it to the playoffs.
Momentum carries teams at this time of the year. Players are tired, banged up and giving it all they have each week. The teams that are the hottest make it the furthest in the playoffs.
The Giants are clicking better than they have at any other point in the season and can continue to build momentum with some wins in the playoffs.
The Giants celebrate their 2007 championship in the streets of New York.
The Giants won the Super Bowl in 2007 after they defeated the Patriots, who were going for perfection. The Giants had almost the the same situation this year when then-unbeaten Green Bay battled them. New York lost to the Packers, but they learned from their mistakes.
Super Bowl XLII was only four years ago and every day, elements of that game find ways to be relevant. Eli Manning led the Giants to that Super Bowl and has the experience to do it again. He has become an elite quarterback in New York and with his eyes on he prize, he will be able to help the younger guys remain focused and keep the game a game—nothing more.
Eli is a veteran to these guys and will keep their emotions from getting the best of them.
Cruz celebrates after clinching the division in Week 17.
Victor Cruz has come out of nowhere to break the Giants' receiving record. He has explosive speed and the ability to make defenders miss one after another. Every team that the New York Giants play will have to keep eyes on him at all times. They might have to throw extra men on him to avoid a huge play.
If Cruz draws double-coverage throughout the playoffs, Eli Manning will have to find his other favorite target, Hakeem Nicks. Cruz might open other receivers up if defenses decide that he needs to have two guys on him at all times. He is a ridiculous young talent, and every team in the NFL will be watching him in the playoffs.
To read my whole article on Victor Cruz, visit here
When this guy is on, he is one of the best defensemen in the league. He leads the team in defensive ability and had 16.5 sacks this season. He was awarded the Defensive Player of the Month for December/January. Jason Pierre-Paul registered six sacks, a safety, a forced fumble, a blocked field goal, two passes defended and 37 tackles during the month.
He is playing at an extremely high level and quarterbacks in the NFC are going to have to take notice when Pierre-Paul is on the field. In addition to him, teams have to be aware of Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora.
Pierre-Paul will have no problem breaking through in games, but timing is important. If he breaks through on pivotal plays, then he can be a game-changer.
The Road to the Super Bowl out of the NFC will go through Lambeau Field and the Green Bay Packers. The Giants held a lead against the Packers earlier in the year with under one minute left.
If the Giants can make a few adjustments and play the game with the same intensity that they brought in the previous matchup, then they will be able to beat Green Bay and get to the Super Bowl. They have shown already that they are not afraid the the Packers.
If they make it through Green Bay, then they will be in the Super Bowl.
For a full recap of the Giants victory over the Green Bay Packers, read my story here.