Giants hope familiar playoffs formula brings another ring

New York GiantsFootballNew England PatriotsSuper BowlAtlanta FalconsGreen Bay PackersNFC East

It might have seemed that Eli Manning was reading from something of the distant past. We'll five years ago at least.

But really he was describing his team's late run of success that led the Giants to Super Bowl XLVI and him to be talking at the Indianapolis Downtown Marriott to a collection of reporters.

"There was one stretch there where we lost four in a row-going to play a division team, a team that was in first place in the NFC East at that point," said Manning, when the Giants were 6-6 headed to face the Cowboys in Arlington."It was going to be tough to make the playoffs if we didn't win the division at that time."

But the Giants found a way to win that game then two of the final three after that to win the NFC East. Despite having a fourth seed, they tore through the playoffs with wins over the Falcons, the top-seeded Packers and then second-seeded 49ers to reach the Super Bowl.

Call it De'ja Vu 2007-when the sixth-seeded Giants won three-straight to get to the big game. Yes, again they'll face the Patriots when things kickoff at 6:30 P.M. at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5th.

"As a player, it's not our job to compare these two seasons," said Manning when asked how much things were similar to the last time they faced the Patriots in the big game-when the upended their previously unbeaten opponent 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII. "The fact that we're playing the Patriots in the Super Bowl, that's the similarity.

"That's the only thing I want to think about."

Still its hard to think that momentum wouldn't be on the Giants side considering how the team has played over their last seven games-in which they are 6-1 with a lone loss coming in week 15 against the Redskins. In the playoffs New York's defense pitched the shutout against the Falcons (the only points came on a Giants offense safety) and then grounded Aaron Rodgers and the high-powered Packers offense in Green Bay.

Manning has led the fifth best passing offense in the NFL to similar consistency in the playoffs, averaging 27 points in a trio of wins.

Add in a team that still features a number of stars from the last win in 2008, and the Giants have entered the game as the favorites in many people's minds.

"We have a nucleus of guys who can relate to the younger players, who can talk to them now and have been talking to them for the last week, about how to conduct themselves in this enviornment, how to know exactly what is coming."

Though he didn't want to talk about past history, Manning was clear in what the young and the old players must do to bring home another Lombardi Trophy.

"If we don't put our defense in harm's way, if we don't make mistakes and make turnovers, we an win games playing great defense and playing smart offensively," said Manning.



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