Though the script isn’t quite identical, what with the Giants launching their postseason run at home against a team they should have beaten, the 2007 Road Warriors storyline is in full bloom, thanks to a 37-20 trouncing of the Packers in Green Bay.
And it could have been worse, especially with referee Bill Leavy’s crew failing to give the Giants possession of a ball that clearly had been fumbled by Packers receiver Greg Jennings and later extending the home team’s final scoring drive by calling the Giants for a blow to the head of quarterback Aaron Rodgers — when Rodgers actually fell into the chest of a defender.
The Giants outgained the Packers, 420 to 388, thanks in large part to 330 passing yards and three touchdowns from quarterback Eli Manning. Green Bay, which had 13 turnovers all season, had four on Sunday, including two from Rodgers.
Peyton’s kid brother has climbed onto the upper echelon of quarterbacks with his play in the clutch, consistently converting third downs and generally making big plays.
For the Packers, the big plays were too few and far between. And so the Giants, by winning the first playoff game in Wisconsin since the 2007 NFC title game, have a two-game postseason winning streak at Lambeau Field.
The Giants’ win broke a 7-0 start to the postseason for the home teams. It marks the second NFC upset of the weekend, with 36 and 37 points being the winning sum and neither the Saints nor the Packers ringing up those numbers.
Next up for the Giants, who lost to the Packers during the regular season by three, is a return to San Francisco, where the Giants fell by seven. And if the Giants can turn the tables on the Niners, and if the Patriots can beat the Ravens, the rematch of Super Bowl XLII would also be a rematch of New York’s stirring November win, 24-20, at New England.
Of course, the Harbaugh brothers may have something to say about a Giants-Pats rematch. Jim and John likely have dreams (or maybe nightmares) of a brother vs. brother return bout on the biggest stage in sports.