While I was breaking down the possible outcomes, I had the funny feeling that it would be another showdown at Lambeau Field against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
It just had to be, right?
The hottest quarterback in football in Rodgers, the most historic stadium in the National Football League, and a place historically that has treated the New York Giants well in the month of January.
See, there’s good news and bad news all tied into one.
If you think back to the Giants last two Super Bowl runs in 2007 and 2011, Eli Manning was at the top of his game against the Green Bay Packers in the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.
In a place that isn’t supposed to be kind to opposing quarterbacks, Eli Manning outplayed one Hall of Famer in Brett Favre and a future Hall of Famer in Rodgers.
The positive history is there for Manning, but the 2016 season was not vintage Eli by any means.
He’s not had a good regular season, no matter what the numbers may tell you.
He’s missed easy throws, he’s been inaccurate, he’s thrown some terrible interceptions, and hasn’t looked like the same quarterback who had two terrific back-to-back years in Ben McAdoo’s offense.
Guess what? None of that matters now.
The Giants are in the postseason for the first time since 2011, and they have quite possibly the best defense in all of football.
I loved the way the entire Giants football team competed from start to finish in a meaningless Week 17 game that meant everything for their opponent, the Washington Redskins.
The Giants were the hungrier football team and did enough to find a way to win. Admirable and commendable, and the story of Sunday’s game - and most of the season - was the Giants defense.
The Giants can stop the run, they can rush the passer, and they have the best secondary in the sport.
I’ve been saying this for weeks, but the Giants need Eli Manning to compliment that all-world defense.
Historically, Manning has always been a player who is at his best when the games matter the most. His calm, cool, collected demeanor has paid immediate dividends on two Super Bowl runs.
On Sunday, the Giants defense will have their hands full with the hottest quarterback in football.
When the Packers were a 4-6 team that appeared en route to a lost season, Rodgers told members of the media that he believed his team was good enough to run the table.
He was correct and Rodgers was the main reason why.
Rodgers is elusive for defenders in and out of the pocket, he’s ridiculously accurate, and has rediscovered the deep ball, a facet of his game that was a struggle for him earlier in the season.
The Giants defense may be able to contain Rodgers, but it’s asking a lot to expect the defense to completely shut down the hottest player in the league.
The Giants will need Eli Manning and this offense to make a few plays.
The Packers secondary is decimated by injuries. The Giants feature a terrific trio of wide receivers, including one of the most dynamic game breakers in football by the name of Odell Beckham.
If this is a football team that has their sights set on playing next week and continuing on this quest for the Lombardi Trophy, they’ll need the help of old reliable.
It’s time for Eli to be the Mann.
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• Texans -3.5
• Seahawks -7.5
• Dolphins +10
• Giants +4.5