Giants Have Matchup They Wanted

To be the best, you've got to beat the best. And that's exactly the chance the Giants wanted as they head to Green Bay for the NFC Semifinal Sunday.

The Giants got just the NFC semifinal matchup they wanted, and it's almost a mirror image of what they had in 2007.

You'll probably remember that they traveled to No. 1-seeded Dallas for that season's semifinal and came away with an improbable victory. And that gave them a ton of confidence going into second-seeded Green Bay for the conference title match, which the Giants won 23-20 in overtime.

Well, Dallas is sitting home right now, but the Giants do get the No. 1 seed again in the 15-1 Packers. And that's just fine with Justin Tuck and Eli Manning, especially after they handed Aaron Rodgers and company a mighty scare in Week 13.

Now they get a shot to go one better than that 38-35, last-second loss.

Think they wanted this chance badly?

"Yeah, I think we did," Tuck said. "But more than anything we just wanted the opportunity to keep playing, regardless of who we were going to face. It just happens to be the Green Bay Packers and we're looking forward to that, but we don't care who it is at this point.

"To be the best, you have to beat the best and we'll have that opportunity on Sunday."

Judging by the way the defense played through the first 14 games of the season, one would be very afraid of the Packers right now. But their last three games, including the defensive shutout they pitched against the Falcons in a 24-2 wildcard win, moved Tuck's bookend, Jason Pierre-Paul to guarantee victory.

Tuck wouldn't go that far, however.

"I'm going to guarantee that we're going to go up there and try to get the win," Tuck told the media Monday. "Knowing you guys, you probably asked him a loaded question and he just gave his honest opinion about it."

To accomplish anything against the defending Super Bowl champs, the Giants will have to continue running the ball as they have in their three straight 100-yard games. With Brandon Jacobs running with renewed authority (92 yards in 14 carries against the Falcons), the Giants appear able to run the clock and keep the ever-dangerous Rodgers and the deepest receiving corps this side of New Orleans off the field.

Included in Jacobs' afternoon was a season-long 34-yard run and a spinning power run on fourth-and-inches from the Atlanta 5 that got the Giants a first down that led to Hakeem Nicks' first of two touchdown catches.

"Brandon's running hard," Manning said. "He had a couple of big runs. The fourth down was huge – where the linebacker met him behind the line of scrimmage and he ran over him, spun and got the first down.

"He and Ahmad are both running great and the offensive line has opened up some holes. That's what we like to do, especially when you get late in the season. It's all about controlling that line of scrimmage. The offensive line is doing that."

As for Pierre-Paul's proclamation -- "We're going to win in Lambeau" -- Manning too was cautious not to raise the ire of quiet Tom Coughlin, who Monday warned "Let's not get carried away."

"I didn't hear it," Manning said. "Obviously he's confident. That's always the attitude – that we're going to go in there and we're going to win. That's what you're preparing for."

It's the shot they all wanted.

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