NFL Playoffs 2012: New York Giants Earn Rematch with Green Bay Packers

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NFL Playoffs 2012: New York Giants Earn Rematch with Green Bay Packers
Two of the Green Bay Packers newest owners in a photo op in front of the Super Bowl XLV Lombardi Trophy

With a 24-2 win over the Atlanta Falcons, the New York Giants (10-7) earned the right to travel to face the Green Bay Packers (15-1).

The 2012 NFL Wild Card Weekend offered many storylines, and this game will be no exception. It pits the Packers up against a team with good recent history in their matchups.

Not only did they play the Packers as well as anyone in the regular season, the Giants were the team to take us out in Lambeau. NFL Network even showed the game from January 20, 2008—a day carrying additional pain for one of the newest owners of the only non-profit sports franchise in North America...

On my way home from church that afternoon, we got a flat tire. I pulled off and discarded pleas from my wife to "just call Triple A" because if I can change a flat tire, why wait? The Packers were hosting the Giants for the NFC Championship in a couple hours and that time was too valuable.

Of course, not listening to one's wife has consequences. Like the jack slipping out from under the car and the wheel well falling on my right hand before I could pull it from the tire.

I told them at the emergency room of San Francisco General Hospital to cut my finger off if they had to—a la Niners legend Ronnie Lott—if that was what it took to get me home in time for the game! Of course, by then I knew they would have me out in plenty of time.

Next thing I know, my wife is asking for permission to go home to watch the rest of the New England Patriots and San Diego Chargers, adding "You can call me when you're done."

Being a good husband, I encouraged her to leave my side to watch football. Being a good wife, she filled me in on that game (unavailable at all to me) when she picked me up and got me home in plenty of time.

"Everything will be worth it if I get to see the team go back to the Super Bowl," I declared. After all I had been through, the Catholic in me was certain it would happen.

Instead I get more pain that day.

An overtime loss because of a dumb pass by our legendary, frustrating quarterback. And because Jarret Bush tried to return a fumble for a touchdown rather than fall on it right at the edge of field-goal range.

Later came the pain of Brett Favre retiring. Then the pain of him un-retiring and strong-arming the team to trade him to a rival. Then the 6-10 season that everyone blamed on Aaron Rodgers (where are these people now?) instead of defensive injuries—five starters out at one time during its peak.

Then "The Traitor" stabs us in the back twice the next season, and we get jobbed when two penalties left uncalled lead to a Rodgers fumble and defensive touchdown to end overtime.

But all of it was worth it with a win last season, and now this team must win games like this. We have the discipline (no team had fewer penalties than the Packers), poise (only one team had a better turnover differential) and ability to overcome adversity (famously 15 players on IR).

That is also why all the pressure will be on the Packers, but the Giants will be less rested. Both teams are close to full health and the weather and field conditions are unlikely to hurt either team. It all comes down to matchups...

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