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NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012 - 4:01 P.M.

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  • NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012 - 4:01 P.M.

    HERE NOW THE NEWS

    THE DATA WILL UPDATE THROUGHOUT THE DAY AND SHOW THE UPDATE TIME IN THE HEADER.

    NFC EAST DIVISION CHAMPIONS

    PLAYOFFS 1 - 0: ON TO GREEN BAY

    NEWARK STAR LEDGER


    GIANTS-PACKERS HOT TOPIC: ARE YOU ALL IN?

    "
    It's the hot new catch phrase for Giants and their fans - "ALL IN" - or for
    the Twitterverse, #ALLin.






    Its origins, according to Giants PR man Pat Hanlon, was Justin Tuck's quote
    after the Jets game about everyone, even the hobbled Tom Coughlin, being ready
    to physically sell out, 100 percent: "Coach Coughlin is the same as all of us.
    We're all-in." (As an aside, though he says it's not related to ALL IN, Hanlon
    also recalled head coach Jim Fassell's move pushing all
    his chips to the middle of the table
    and saying "This team is going to the
    playoffs" back in 2000.)




    Well, it ain't "One
    for the thumb in '81,"
    but the Giants have certainly gone all-in with ALL
    IN. It is now on tens of thousands of fan towels. The Giants are Tweeting it, as
    are their fans - and you can win
    one of those towels
    if you follow the Giants on Twitter.




    So are you ALL IN? Show us how. Upload a photo or a video incorporating ALL IN with your
    obvious Giants love. Or drop down in this post and comment about what it means
    to be ALL IN for the Giants or about how you like the phrase or what seems to be
    inspiring its use for the team.




    And here's another activity for the end of your work day. Upload a photo of your
    Giants-decorated dorm room, school locker, book bag or office space, like that
    of NJ.com client services supervisor Jason Goldman above-right, who sports his
    ALL IN towel from Sunday's game while standing in front of his Giants-decorated
    cube."




    PACKERS HAVE EXCELLED IN REMATCH GAMES, WITH GIANTS NEXT

    "
    When the Giants line up against the Green Bay Packers beginning at 4:15 p.m.
    Sunday at Lambeau Field, there will be a sense of familiarity between the teams.
    Nearly five weeks ago, the teams met in the Meadowlands, the Packers
    keeping their unbeaten record intact with a 38-35 victory
    .



    For the Giants, the loss might be less of an issue than the fact the teams
    played at all, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Since the start of
    the 2009 season, the Packers
    are 10-3 when facing an opponent for a second or third time
    during the
    regular or postseason. Under Mike McCarthy, the Packers are 16-7 in such
    situations.




    The Packers have excelled in the postseason in those situations, also. This
    week, for the sixth straight postseason game against an NFC opponent, the
    Packers will play a rematch game. Last season, the Packers beat the Philadelphia
    Eagles (Packers won in regular season), Atlanta Falcons (Packers lost in regular
    season) and Chicago Bears (Packers split in regular season) en route to the
    Super Bowl.




    Some other notes from around the country regarding Sunday's game:




    -- The nine-point spread
    initially installed on Sunday's game
    was a bit high, according to those
    sampled by the Journal Sentinel. The line came down to eight points today, with
    the Packers favored.




    -- The death of Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin's son has put
    Sunday's game in perspective. The
    Green Bay area is mourning
    , ESPN Milwaukee's Jason Wilde wrote.




    -- McCarthy praised the performance by the Giants Sunday. He said that the
    Giants controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball
    , a key
    reason why the Falcons were beaten so decisively.




    -- Green
    Bay will hold a pep rally
    for the Packers Friday at 3 p.m., Fox11 has
    reported."



    ##

    GIANTS KNOW STARTING SLOW AGAINST GREEN BAY PACKERS WOULD BE A PROBLEM

    Excerpt: "
    Giants coach Tom Coughlin began
    regurgitating the word “finish” to his team when it first convened for training
    camp in late July. And to his offense’s credit, it has delivered. He may just
    wish he emphasized a five-letter antonym with equal veracity.


    In the wake of a historic collapse last season against the Philadelphia
    Eagles that ultimately cost the Giants a playoff berth, the offense has taken
    the concept of finishing and run with it, coming from behind to win five games
    during the regular season en route to the team’s first postseason appearance in
    three seasons.




    Now only if the offense could “start” with similar success.




    Sunday marked the 15th time in 17 games this season that the Giants didn’t
    score a touchdown on their opening possession.




    A slow start against a Green Bay Packers team that boasts one of the most
    explosive offenses in league history could make the finish — or anything after
    halftime — irrelevant.




    “You can’t allow these teams to get out on that run where they can play
    downhill,” defensive end Justin Tuck said. “You have to hang with them early and
    put some pressure on them. When they get leads, you might as well start packing
    your bags because this team and the Saints play the best I’ve ever seen as far
    as having leads and allowing their athleticism to take over at that point.”




    Over their last five games — the final four of the regular season and their
    playoff victory against the
    Atlanta Falcons on Sunday
    — the Giants have scored a touchdown just once in
    the first quarter." Read more...



    D'ALESSANDRO: GIANTS' AMUKAMARA COULD BE KEY AGAINST PACKERS' TOUGH OFFENSE



    Excerpt: "This was about four hours before the medical protocol revealed that Aaron
    Ross was in better shape than the player who had tottered away from the burning
    of Atlanta like a guy wearing very loose shoes and a very tight blindfold.




    “He’ll play,” Justin Tuck predicted, when the possibility of losing his
    teammate for Sunday’s game in Green Bay came up.




    What if you have to throw a rookie cornerback out there in his
    stead?




    “He’ll play,” Tuck replied, this time more stoutly.




    Wait, was that an answer to the second question, or additional emphasis
    to the first?




    “He’ll play,” Tuck repeated.




    The smile that now creased his face revealed the implicit urgency to his
    message, which you could interpret as, “He had damn well better, bud.”




    And so it was settled by Dr. Tuck, noted neurologist.




    But it underscored not only the Giants’ need to have all hands on deck for
    Sunday — especially at the position that will face the most heat in the Lambeau
    deep freeze — but also how they didn’t even want to entertain the notion that
    Prince Amukamara could become the unwitting guest of honor at Aaron Rodgers’
    missile party.




    That’s right — six days away from the Giants’ biggest game in four years, and
    we’re discussing a rookie backup cornerback.




    A kid who has had three pass defenses and 16 tackles in eight games.




    So it was good news all around that Ross
    was not showing concussion symptoms
    , but given the way the Packers fling the
    ball around, it’s a pretty safe bet that Amukamara may be tested every time he
    goes out for a snap.




    Is it worrisome? Perhaps not on Tuesday. But come Friday, your confidence
    level may be based largely on whether the Giants are absolutely sure Ross is
    good to go, and the haunting vision of Jordy Nelson doing his razor dance on a
    rookie in his first road playoff game.




    “I was in there the first game we played Green Bay, I really don’t see the
    big difference,” Amukamara said yesterday. “But it is a playoff game, and
    everyone raises their game to a new level. I just know I’m going to be
    ready.” Read more...

    POLITI: GIANTS HAVE BEEN BOLSTERED BY CHASE BLACKBURN AFTER PULLING HIM FROM THE WORLD OF MATH TEACHING

    Excerpt: "When the Giants finally called Chase
    Blackburn and told the
    linebacker he had his old job back
    , it wasn’t good news for everybody. The
    departure left a considerable hole on another roster.


    It was the one belonging to Rich Baird, the principal at Sells Middle School
    in Dublin, Ohio.




    “We had an eighth-grade math teacher going on maternity leave,” Baird said
    from his office Monday. “I thought he’d be perfect for that.”




    So you think preparing for the Green Bay Packers and their robo-quarterback,
    Aaron Rodgers, is a challenge? The alternative for Blackburn was trying to get a
    classroom filled with hormone-charged eighth-graders to pay attention to the
    quadratic formula and nonlinear functions.




    (And yes, I had to look that up.)




    Baird, one of his old high school coaches in Marysville, Ohio, was working
    with Blackburn to complete his necessary training and paperwork so he could
    start a second career ... if the NFL didn’t call.




    He seemed bound for academia until Baird received a text message on Nov. 29.
    “We’re going to have to put teaching on hold,” Blackburn wrote, and like
    everyone who knows the polite linebacker, Baird was happy to see his job
    candidate get back to the sport he loves.




    The question now, based on the results, is this: Why did the Giants wait so
    long to make that call?




    There are plenty of reasons for the Giants’ improvements on defense, from a
    healthy defensive front to the return of linebacker Michael Boley from a
    hamstring injury.




    But Blackburn is part of that, too, helping to hold Atlanta Falcons running
    back Michael Turner to 41 yards on 15 carries on Sunday in the
    Giants’ first playoff win since Super Bowl XLII.
    The linebacker went from
    out of the NFL entirely to tying for the team lead in tackles over the past four
    games, from watching games on TV to a prominent role on the field.




    It is a remarkable transition, but one that surprises exactly no one around
    this team. Blackburn spent six years on this team, playing in all 16 games four
    times. Put it this way: No one had to give him directions to the weight
    room.




    “That guy, he plays special teams, he plays in our dime package, he plays in
    our base package,” defensive end Justin Tuck said, before adding with a smile:
    “For a white linebacker, he’s pretty versatile.”




    Even Tuck was baffled that the Giants, with a defense ranked near the bottom
    of the league, waited until Week 12 to summon Blackburn. “I have no idea why he
    wasn’t on the football team all this year,” Tuck said, which is a question
    Blackburn had been asking, too.




    He was an unrestricted free agent who figured he’d land somewhere this
    summer, so he packed up a trailer filled with everything his family would need
    for the trip to the new NFL city.




    Then he watched with concern when the lockout ended and the open season began
    for general managers. With teams signing rookies and free agents all at once,
    several veterans like Blackburn were left without a destination. The Giants
    locked up three rookie linebackers, all with a cheaper price tag. With the
    Giants shedding bigger-name players like Shaun O’Hara, Steve Smith and Kevin
    Boss, the absence of Blackburn was hardly noticed.




    August came and went. So did September and October. Eventually, Blackburn
    unloaded the crib from that trailer parked in his driveway, then the toys for
    his two young kids. Then, eventually, he emptied it entirely." Read more...

    GIANTS' AARON ROSS EXPECTED TO PLAY AGAINST PACKERS ON SUNDAY

    Excerpt: "Though he didn’t return to Sunday’s victory over the Atlanta Falcons after
    suffering a head injury, Aaron Ross should be ready to play this weekend against
    the Green Bay Packers, according to someone informed of the Giants cornerback’s status.


    The person, who requested anonymity because the team hasn’t made any
    declarations about Ross’ availability, said Ross didn’t have any concussion
    symptoms today. In fact, it’s unclear if Ross even suffered a concussion in the
    first place.




    Ross went to the locker room after colliding with Jason Pierre-Paul as the
    two went for a loose ball that had been tipped by Chris Canty. A few minutes
    later, his wife Sanya wrote on Twitter that Ross hadn’t suffered a concussion.
    Sanya, an Olympic track star, then tweeted Ross wouldn’t be allowed back in the
    game, per NFL rules.




    Coach Tom Coughlin said today Ross was undergoing tests. Asked if he had
    suffered a concussion, Coughlin said the team was treating it as if he had.




    In short, all signs are pointing toward Ross’ return this weekend, which is a
    relief for the Giants because they’re so thin at cornerback after losing Terrell
    Thomas, Bruce Johnson, Brian Witherspoon and Justin Tryon to season-ending
    injuries. Rookie Prince Amukamara played well in relief of Ross against Atlanta,
    though as Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said, the team protected him with safety
    help over the top for much of the game." Read more...

    GIANTS FACE AARON RODGERS, PACKERS AGAIN HOPING TO PUT EVEN MORE PRESSURE ON STAT QB

    Excerpt: "Last month, after the Giantsloss
    to the Green Packers
    , the general sentiment was their rejuvenated pass rush
    was a reason for hope.


    Two sacks and five hits of Aaron Rodgers for a front four that barely got
    within a breath of the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees the week before was
    suddenly a solid performance by a group that had been publicly challenged by
    defensive coordinator Perry Fewell.




    Back then, the bar had been lowered. Now, it’s much, much higher for a team
    and a defense with visions of disrupting the Super Bowl champs’ defense of their
    crown this weekend.




    “I would like to know who set that bar. Our bar’s always been high,”
    defensive captain Justin Tuck said today, one day after the Giants got sacks
    from Osi Umenyiora and Rocky Bernard in a wild-card victory over Atlanta the
    Falcons. “But to answer your question, we are probably playing the best up front
    we’ve played all year and our secondary is playing awesome, too. A lot of credit
    goes to them. I know people think sacks are just the D-line’s effort up front
    and whatever, whatever. But a lot of it has to do with how we’re tied into the
    back end.




    “It’s a complete effort all around.”




    And it’ll have to be on Sunday at Lambeau Field. For as good and promising as
    the pass rush was the first time these teams met, it has to be better for the
    Giants to pull an upset.




    By an unofficial count, the Giants pressured Rodgers only 14 times (plus
    their pair of sacks) in 50 designed passes the first time around. Tuck had a
    good rush to get in Rodgers’ face on the Packers’ final drive, but the potential
    MVP got rid of it quickly enough to deliver a 27-yard completion that set up the
    game-winning field goal. Earlier in the fourth quarter, Rodgers had all day
    (well, 5.4 seconds, to be exact) to throw a 7-yard touchdown to Donald
    Driver." Read more...

    GIANTS VS. FALCONS GAME REVIEW: GIANTS' DEFENSE STINGY, STOUT IN WILD-CARD WEEKEND VICTORY

    Excerpt: "
    Apparently, I’m not the first to wonder about the usual success rate of
    quarterback sneaks.


    In response to the Falcons’ failed fourth down (how fitting) against the
    Saints in the regular season, AdvancedNFLStats.com
    tried to figure it out
    . They had trouble distinguishing sneaks from regular
    runs but came up with an 82-percent success rate for fourth-and-1 quarterback
    runs.




    So what are the odds the Giants would bat 1.000 on three sneaks in two
    games?



    Amazing.




    * * * *




    One quick disclaimer: In an effort to maximize my time in what’s going to be
    a busy week, I didn’t watch anything after the Giants went ahead 24-2 with 9:55
    to play. So if there’s something after that you want to mention, feel free to
    drop it in the comments section below.




    * * * *




    GAME BALLS




    Coach Tom Coughlin, offensive coordinator Kevin
    Gilbride
    , defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and the
    entire coaching staff. This team hasn’t been perfect over the past few years but
    it’s been competitive. Always. And among
    the reasons you folks should “believe to achieve”
    heading into Green Bay is
    the way this staff can game plan on both sides of the ball. Coughlin and his
    guys are among the best at providing plans that give this team a chance to win
    nearly every week.




    DE Jason Pierre-Paul. When you’re as good as he’s been and
    you’re making stops on quarterback sneaks, you can guarantee the end of the
    world if you’d like and I won’t question you. What a job by him on the second
    sneak after the push by DT Chris Canty.




    Canty. He got a pressure and a push to force a cutback on a run for a loss
    early on and then factored into the sneaks. Boy, has he come to play of
    late.




    DT Linval Joseph. Put him in the group helping with the stop
    on one of the sneaks. Also, credit him for a great push on a third-and-1 late in
    the third quarter that allowed LB Chase Blackburn to come free
    and make the stop.




    Blackburn. For that stop, one more I’ll mention a bit lower and for coming
    off his couch to tie for the team lead in tackles in a playoff game. Great
    story.




    QB Eli Manning. And also to his
    quarterbacks coach
    Mike Sullivan, of course.




    WR Hakeem Nicks. His 4-yard touchdown catch in the second
    quarter was actually a tougher grab than I realized. He had to reach back and
    sort of over CB Dominique Franks for that pass, which wasn’t as
    good as it could’ve been. If that play looked sorta familiar, it’s because it’s
    a variation of the one the Giants ran on David Tyree’s
    touchdown in Super Bowl XLII. It’s not a carbon copy like the
    one they ran in New England earlier this season
    . That one, like the Tyree
    play, came out of a three-receiver set with motion. This one was a two-tight
    end, two-back formation with no motion. Still, the concept is the same, and it’s
    a good one: the play-action fake draws the linebackers up and, since it’s such
    tight quarters down near the goal line, there’s no safety help. So once the
    receiver gets an inside release (which was cake for Nicks because his stutter
    off the line means Franks has to respect the fade), the defense has practically
    no shot of defending a good pass -- or even, as we saw on this one, a
    less-than-perfect throw.




    RBs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. For
    all of the talk about Manning’s
    14-yard scramble that kick- started the offense
    , it was these two who really
    helped make that first touchdown drive happen. They broke a combined five
    tackles on that drive, and that’s not even including when Jacobs spun off LB
    Curtis Lofton for the 2 extra yards to convert the fourth-and-1
    at the Falcons’ 6-yard line. Speaking of that play, Lofton was a bit
    discombobulated in the hole because LB Sean Weatherspoon, in
    trying to make a play, put a spin move on RT Kareem McKenzie
    and actually clipped Lofton as he was trying to scrape toward Jacobs. That threw
    Lofton off and it looked like his legs weren’t completely under him when he
    tried making the tackle. Clearly, it’s tough to stop Jacobs’ forward momentum
    when you’re not entirely squared and ready to deliver the blow. That was a huge
    play and sort of a bad break for the Falcons because a better-prepared Lofton
    might’ve had a shot to make that tackle before the stick. By my count, Jacobs
    and Bradshaw picked up 51 yards after contact on eight carries on that
    drive.




    LB Jacquian Williams. Batted down the Hail Mary smartly,
    made a good tackle on a third down (see below) and had a pressure in the third
    quarter.




    LG Kevin Boothe. Jerry Reese’s “priority”
    played another very good game. He helped make Manning’s big scramble possible by
    washing DT Jonathan Babineaux down to the right side of the
    Giants’ line. So once DE John Abraham took the widest of wide
    rushes, Manning had the entire left side of the field to escape. And the way he
    runs, he needs it.




    Reese. Speaking of him, he and his staff continue to prove patience and a
    balanced approach are key to sustained success, despite how impatient we (and
    notice I said “we”) become at times.




    RG Chris Snee. I get the sense he’s played through more
    issues than we realize this year, and probably through his career. Sunday, he
    left the game with what seemed to be a neck burner. He wouldn’t talk about what
    his injury was but from the way they were testing his arm resistance and the
    manner in which he was shaking his arm, I’d say that was a good guess. He
    returned to deliver a nice block on Bradshaw’s 30-yard run. Earlier, he and
    Boothe got out in front of Jacobs on his 34-yard run.




    C David Baas. Still think he should’ve stayed on the bench
    after coming back from his neck issues? Didn’t think so.




    LT David Diehl. Still think he’s a liability at left tackle?
    Didn’t think so.




    WR Mario Manningham. My only gripe is he should’ve done a
    better job going to get the ball on a deep post late in the second half right
    before the bad spot on Nicks (which I’ll explore below). He tried letting it
    come to him instead of going to get it and using his body to block CB
    Chris Owens, who batted it away. But other than that, he had a
    fine day to remind everyone he can catch some passes, too. As for his touchdown,
    as soon as the Giants came out with Bradshaw lined up wide right after already
    running the receiver screen to the running back earlier in the game, I knew they
    were going to fake it and take a shot up top. It was great timing and it worked
    perfectly.




    CB Corey Webster. My sense last week was the Giants were
    going to keep him and CB Aaron Ross left and right instead
    of having him follow a particular receiver around
    . That was bad info on my
    part and I apologize because he was all over WR Roddy White and
    did a heckuva job covering him.




    DE Osi Umenyiora. He sacked QB Matt Ryan
    while bulling and reaching over LT Will Svitek. “The whole game
    I’d been giving him the speed rush and I went to the power rush and he wasn’t
    prepared for it,” Umenyiora said. Asked how he got leverage on that sack, he
    replied, “That was hunger, man. You’ve got to be hungry for those sacks.”




    DT Rocky Bernard. Speaking of bull rushes, holy moly did he
    turn guard Joe Hawley into road kill on his sack or what?" Read more...

    GIANTS' HOT TOPIC: WHAT WAS THE KEY PLAY FROM THE 24-2 WIN OVER THE FALCONS?

    Excerpt: "There were several potential game-changing moments from the Giants'
    24-2 beatdown of the Atlanta Falcons
    on Sunday, but if you had to pick just
    one key play, which would it be? We've come up with the following five plays as
    the five biggest from the game. Read about each one and then cast your vote for
    the key play in our poll below.


    Giants' defense stops Atlanta on 4th and 1
    In a 0-0 game
    early in the second quarter, Atlanta was driving and at the Giants' 24-yard
    line. Facing a 4th and inches, Falcons coach Mike Smith elects to go for it, but
    a quarterback sneak by Matt
    Ryan is snuffed out by the Giants' defense
    , forcing the turnover on
    downs.


    Eli Manning had a key 14-yard
    scramble on third down.



    Eli Manning's 14-yard scramble on third down
    Trailing 2-0
    after a lackluster first quarter on offense, Eli
    Manning runs 14 yards on 3rd and 2 from the Giants' 23
    to keep the drive
    alive. Big Blue goes on to run 10 more plays on the drive before Manning finds
    Hakeem Nicks for a 4-yard touchdown to give the Giants the lead.


    Brandon Jacobs had several big
    runs, including this 34-yarder.



    Brandon Jacobs' 34-yard run on 2nd and 11
    On that same
    drive, Jacobs
    takes a handoff and goes 34 yards
    from the Atlanta 49 to inside the red
    zone. The huge play by Jacobs helps establish the run game, which was arguably
    the best it's been all season. Five plays after the Jacobs run, Manning finds
    Nicks for the TD.


    Matt Ryan was stopped on 4th and
    1 for the second time.



    Giants' defense stops Atlanta on 4th and 1 -- again
    The
    Giants held a 10-2 lead in the third quarter and the Falcons again had 4th and
    1, this time from Big Blue's 21-yard line. And again, Falcons coach Mike Smith
    calls for a QB sneak from Ryan. And
    again, the Giants absolutely snuff it out
    . The Falcons never really
    threatened to score again when the game mattered.


    Hakeem Nicks' long TD gave the
    Giants a 17-2 lead.



    Hakeem Nicks' 72-yard touchdown catch
    Three plays after
    the second 4th and 1 stop, Manning
    and Nicks hooked up for another touchdown
    , this one 72 yards. Nicks caught
    the short pass around the Giants' 32 yard line and ran right through the
    Falcons' defense the rest of the way. The long TD gave the Giants a comfortable
    17-2 lead and took the wind out of Atlanta's sails.




    So, we ask you, which of these five plays was the key play of the
    Giants' 24-2 win over the Falcons. Vote in the poll and then drop down to the comments
    section below
    to post your reasoning and talk about it with other NJ.com
    users." Read more and VOTE

    http://www.nj.com/giants/

    NY DAILY NEWS

    GIANTS' QB ELI MANNING CAN ERASE DOUBTS BY OUTPLAYING AARON RODGERS AND BEATING PACKERS IN PLAYOFFS

    Excerpt: "You ask Eli Manning if he ever
    guaranteed a victory in his life, and he looks at you as if he’s being asked to
    run a quarterback draw against the Ravens, up 20 points with a minute left.



    “No, I don’t think so,” Manning said Monday. Next question.




    Unlike several of his teammates – Jason Pierre-Paul
    being the latest – Manning is one of the Giants who hasn’t opened his mouth wide
    lately and sounded a lot like a Jet. But it wasn’t that long ago, the start of
    this meandering season, when Manning went on the radio to announce that he did,
    in fact, consider himself right up there with Tom Brady as an elite
    quarterback. The reverberations from that bit of self-assurance are yet to
    subside.




    Manning isn’t facing Brady on Sunday in Green Bay. Instead, he goes against
    somebody whose numbers are even gaudier, a quarterback whose commercial
    endorsements and Hall of Fame credentials are quickly gaining momentum.




    Aaron Rodgers threw
    for 4,643 yards this season, completing 68.3% of his passes for 45 touchdowns
    and an average of 9.2 yards. He was intercepted just six times, and practically
    lapped his peers with a 122.5 quarterback rating. The defending champion
    Packers, not coincidentally, lost only one game.




    Those are jaw-dropping, historically significant stats from Rodgers. There is
    no arguing the Green Bay star had a superb year, better than Manning’s. And
    though he enjoyed an embarrassment of riches at the receiver positions, a
    cornucopia of targets, Rodgers had no real running game to keep defenses
    honest.




    Kudos all around. Anybody would pick Rodgers, 28, over Eli Manning, 31, if
    there were a draft right now. And yet, if Manning outplays Rodgers at Lambeau
    Field this Sunday, if the Giants pull off this upset, then none of that matters
    and Manning becomes the most valuable quarterback in the NFC, right up there
    with Brady in the other conference." Read more...

    GIANTS' BANDWAGON STARTING TO FILL UP AS TOM COUGHLIN AND CO. POINT BIG BLUE TO LANBEAU FIELD FOR PLAYOFF SHOWDOWN WITH PACKERS

    Excerpt: "There was no bandwagon in September, not like the one cranking up and loading
    up now. Call it the Big Blue Bandwagon, if you want. Or call it the Big
    Brother Bandwagon
    , in Rex Ryan’s honor. Nobody
    was talking about a trip to Lambeau, and maybe back to New Orleans after that,
    maybe all the way to Indianapolis if this ride is anything like the one Tom
    Coughlin
    and Eli and the Giants gave us four years ago.



    In September, there was just the idea that the Jets were still the hot team
    in town, that coming off two straight appearances in the AFC Championship Game,
    they might be ready to take the next stop, get to a Super Bowl in Indy the way
    they got to that championship game against Peyton Manning.




    The Jets were making all the news and all the noise and Giants fans, some of
    them, anyway, were mad that the Jets had signed Plaxico Burress
    that was when we still thought the Giants needed wide receivers — and gone hard
    after Nnamdi Asomugha.
    There was this idea that the Giants had done nothing to improve a team that had
    missed the playoffs again last season, two years running, even though they had
    won 10 games in the end.




    But the general manager, Jerry Reese, stubbornly
    talked about a team he thought was good enough to win. I asked him Monday why he
    showed this kind of belief in his football team when almost nobody else on the
    planet did.




    “Good players, good coaches,” Reese said. “And a terrific head coach.”




    And that is all he wanted to say Monday, because he said that this week, a
    Packers-Giants week, a week that takes the Giants back to Lambeau Field, should
    be about those players and those coaches.




    So I asked John Mara the same
    question I asked Reese, because Mara wasn't somebody waving the kind of white
    flag in September that his fans were waving like crazy on Sunday at MetLife
    Stadium.

    Mara joked that he had no choice, but then said this: “We still
    had No. 10.”

    The general manager believed in his players and his coaches
    and his terrific head coach. The owner of the team, whose late father was on the
    field at old Giants Stadium the last time the Giants won a home playoff game
    before the Falcons game on Sunday, believed in one player in particular, Eli
    Manning
    , a great Super Bowl quarterback who this season became a great
    quarterback, period.

    Now the Giants have beaten the Jets in a game they
    couldn't afford to lose, beat them in a game that Rex Ryan said would officially
    establish the Jets as the big brothers in New York/New Jersey football, and
    everywhere else people care about our two pro football teams.

    The Giants
    have beaten the Cowboys at MetLife in a game that was the same as a play-in
    game.

    And gave this kind of beatdown to the Falcons, the same as a
    shutout. They go to Green Bay and the Big Blue Bandwagon is outside the stadium
    warming up, you can see it, and the only question now, off what Giants fans have
    seen the last few weeks, is whether they pack for one game, or two, or
    three.

    They start out by traveling to Green Bay, and so back in time, or
    so their fans think, back to when they went into Lambeau in January of 2008 and
    beat the Packers in overtime on a day when the Packers were the top seed in the
    NFC. Eli played like the guy who had played in 20-below temperatures his whole
    career, Plaxico Burress played one of the great postseason games any wide
    receiver has ever played, Brett Favre did what he
    did a lot in his career, at Lambeau and everywhere else, threw it to the wrong
    team in a big moment.

    By the way? It is one more reason why Favre is one
    of the great quarterbacks of all time and one of the most overrated, all at the
    same time.

    Favre is gone now, replaced by a quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, having
    a better season than Favre ever did, one of the best seasons any quarterback has
    ever had, the highest quarterback rating, 45 touchdown passes, just six
    interceptions, a 15-1 record, including one over the Giants at MetLife when he
    had the ball last." Read more...

    GIANTS GET THE REMATCH THEY WERE LOOKING FOR AGAINST PACKERS, SEEK PAYBACK FOR GAME THAT SLIPPED AWAY

    "No one ever told Antrel Rolle to be
    careful what you wish for, and if they did he probably wouldn’t have listened.
    He was dreaming of a rematch with the Green Bay Packers from the moment they
    beat the Giants at the Meadowlands last month.



    Sometimes even dangerous wishes do come true.

    “This is what we all
    wanted,” Rolle said on Monday. “We all wanted the opportunity for greatness. I
    did want to see those guys again. Our wish is being granted come
    Sunday.”

    Six weeks after the then-undefeated Packers escaped New Jersey
    with a last-second field goal that gave them a 38-35 win, the Giants clinched
    the rematch on Sunday afternoon with a convincing, 24-2 wild-card win over the
    Atlanta Falcons. Game 2 between the teams will take place this Sunday at Lambeau
    Field in an NFC divisional playoff game.

    The Packers, now 15-1, are
    understandably heavy favorites, but the Giants haven’t forgotten they were
    nearly the first team to beat them back on Dec. 4. That game was tied after the
    Giants scored with 58 seconds remaining, and they were one defensive stop away
    from forcing overtime.

    When it was over, after the Packers eased
    downfield for Mason Crosby’s 31-yard
    field goal as time expired, the Giants felt like they had let a winnable game
    slip right through their hands.

    “Absolutely,” Rolle said. “I know I felt
    that way. I felt like it was a game that could’ve went either way.”

    “We
    blew an opportunity,” added defensive tackle Chris Canty. “We had
    our chances in that football game. We didn’t take advantage of
    them.”

    Canty’s right. The Giants had plenty of opportunities in a wild
    game that featured 896 yards of offense and two quarterbacks — Eli
    Manning
    (347 yards, 3 touchdowns) and Aaron Rodgers (369
    yards, 4 touchdowns) — engaged in an epic duel. The Giants still remember Jake
    Ballard
    ’s first-quarter touchdown catch that wasn’t (the officials said he
    was out of bounds, but at least one photo seems to indicate he wasn’t) and a Greg
    Jennings
    touchdown catch in the third quarter where the Packers receiver may
    not have had control of the ball before he ran out of bounds.

    What really
    stuck with the Giants, though, was the way the Packers marched downfield on
    their game-winning drive. Starting at his own 20, Rodgers needed just four plays
    to move 68 yards to get within range of a chip-shot field goal.

    It was
    like the Giants defense — which was playing without the injured Osi
    Umenyiora
    — wasn’t even there.

    “So there wasn’t really any good taste
    in our mouth,” said defensive end Dave
    Tollefson
    . “It was more or less, ‘Yeah, we’re taking steps forward,’ but
    that wasn’t championship-caliber defense. We got beat by the best team in the
    league. So we’re going to have to step up.”
    That game seems like ages ago to
    the Giants defense, though, because in the last three weeks it’s turned
    everything around. The defense was all over the Jets and Cowboys at the end of
    the regular season with 11 sacks in two games. And its confidence only rose
    after it put it all together on Sunday with the virtual shutout of the
    Falcons

    The Giants believed they were good enough to beat the Packers a
    month ago. Now that their defense has come around, they’re absolutely sure of it
    now.

    “We’re a better team,” Rolle said. “We’re a more confident team.
    We’re a better team in all three phases of the game. I think we’re mentally
    better, which says a lot, because this game is more mental than
    physical.”

    “We’re probably playing the best up front that we’ve played
    all year,” Justin Tuck added. “And
    our secondary is playing awesome, too.”

    Will that be good enough against
    the defending-champion Packers, the highest-scoring team in the league (35
    points per game) with the third-ranked offense and the likely MVP quarterback?
    Even the Giants admit they don’t know for sure. But that was the point of
    wishing for this rematch.

    They were waiting for another opportunity to
    find out.

    “That’s what you want,” Tollefson said. “To be the best you’ve
    got to beat the best. I don’t think there’s a question who the best team in the
    NFL is. It’s Green Bay.”

    “We know the Packers are the No. 1 seed for a
    reason,” Tuck added. “(They’re) 15-1, playing in Lambeau Field. Those guys are
    pretty good. We’ve got our hands full. But I feel as though we’re ready for the
    task.”

    PACKERS' RODGERS WON'T BE IN ANY MOOD TO GIVE AWAY NFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF GAME TO GIANTS LIKE BRETT FAVRE

    Excerpt: "Aaron Rodgers is
    playing better than Brett Favre did at any
    point in his career and can’t be counted on to throw a gift interception in the
    playoffs – a Favre speciality – when the Giants try to shut him down at Lambeau
    Field.



    It’s been a magical season for Rodgers. When the ball hits the ground, it’s
    reached the point where you expect Mike McCarthy to
    throw the replay challenge flag. But that doesn’t mean the Giants’ suddenly
    ferocious pass rush can’t punish Rodgers — remember what they did to Tom
    Brady
    in the Super Bowl — and rattle him into mistakes.




    “He’s human,” Justin Tuck decided
    Monday.




    Since Rodgers has been playing on another planet this season, Tuck almost,
    but not quite, sounded like he was trash talking by simply calling Rodgers a
    mere mortal.




    “I know Aaron’s had one of the better years, but he’s still human,” Tuck
    said. “We’re going to approach the game like we always approach it. Taking away
    the run first and get after the quarterback. As good as Aaron is, he’s even
    better when he can hand the ball off and get five or six yards.”




    Rodgers over Favre is the reason the Packers will be a much tougher out for
    the Giants on Sunday than they were four years ago. Favre always trusted his arm
    so much that he was never afraid to take chances. Rodgers has an excellent arm,
    but he plays much more under control. He is also incredibly accurate throwing on
    the run.




    The Giants can’t expect Rodgers to throw the ball right to Corey Webster as
    Favre did in overtime of the 2007 NFC Championship Game, setting up the winning
    field goal back in January of '08. Rodgers made all of six mistakes this season
    — he was intercepted a nearly invisible six times in 502 attempts — and never
    more than once in any game.




    Still, the Packers didn’t protect Rodgers as well as the Giants did Eli
    Manning
    . He was sacked 36 times — just about the per-team league average —
    but in games against the Falcons, Vikings, Chargers and in their only loss of
    the season to the Chiefs, he was sacked four times. He was sacked three times by
    the Raiders and in the Packers’ other game against the Vikings.




    The Giants got to him twice in the Dec. 4 loss and Rodgers was picked off by
    Chase Blackburn at
    the Packers’ 21-yard line, which positioned the Giants for a touchdown to give
    them a 17-14 lead in the second quarter. Of course, Rodgers immediately drove
    Green Bay 80 yards for a touchdown. And when the Giants tied the game with 58
    seconds remaining, Rodgers needed only four plays to move 68 yards to set up the
    winning field goal on the final play of the game." Read more...

    IF GIANTS' AARON ROSS CAN'T PASS CONCUSSION TEST, FIRST ROUND PICK PRINCE AMUKAMARA IS THE OPTION FOR BIG BLUE

    Excerpt: "Aaron Ross is
    undergoing the NFL’s concussion protocol, Tom Coughlin said
    Monday, and with Aaron Rodgers and the
    Packers on deck, the Giants don’t need the added headache of having a starting
    cornerback unavailable.


    “He’ll play, he’ll play,” DE Justin Tuck said
    with wishful confidence, and while Coughlin said Ross “felt pretty good” at the
    conclusion of Sunday’s game, these aren’t the old days. He’s going to have to
    pass every cognitive test.




    “I hope that bears out and the protocol allows him to practice and play,”
    Coughlin said of Ross, who went down after colliding with Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul
    while diving for a pass.




    The Giants feel they will be in a little better shape now if Ross can’t
    go.

    Rookie Prince Amukamara
    has made some strides since he was exploited by the Cowboys a month ago. He
    finished the game for Ross against the Falcons and Matt Ryan and
    Julio Jones were unable
    to take advantage of him.

    “Man, I couldn’t be prouder of Prince,” said
    safety Antrel Rolle. “He
    stepped up. He’s been focused. He’s been practicing extremely better. He was in
    tune with the game and he played with a lot more confidence than in previous
    games. We’ve been on him pretty hard. Corey Webster and
    Aaron Ross have been doing an exceptional job of having him attached to their
    hip at all times at practice, making sure he stays ahead of the game and that
    he’s fully aware of the game.”




    “He got a lot of playing time after Aaron was hurt. He’s gaining more
    experience each week and that’s exactly what he needs,” Coughlin said. “He did
    display very good open field transition (Sunday), turning his hips, getting
    himself in position. He’s physical. He will hit you so he’s coming.”




    Amukamara was helped by getting some practice reps last week since Webster
    was hurting. He’s certainly going to get those reps this week. He doesn’t lack
    for confidence.




    “I was in there the first game we played Green Bay,” he said. “I really don’t
    see the big difference but it is a playoff game and everyone rises to a whole
    new level. I just know I’m going to be ready.” Read more...

    JUSTIN TUCK SAYS GIANTS NEED TO GET INTO ROAD WARRIORS MENTALITY OF 2007 SUPER BOWL TEAM

    "By the time the Giants board their charter flight to Green Bay on Saturday
    they will have been home for more than a month. And some of them can’t wait to
    get away.



    It’s not that they haven’t enjoyed being home, where they’ve won three
    straight games (including a “road” game at the Meadowlands against the Jets).
    It’s that some of them still remember what it felt like in 2007, when the “Road
    Warriors” rode four straight games away from home to the Super Bowl XLII
    championship.




    “The last couple of games have been at home or in the friendly confines of
    MetLife Stadium, and we’ve played well here,” said Justin Tuck. “Now we
    can kind of channel some of our recent history as ‘Road Warriors’ going back to
    Lambeau Field. One thing I’d like to pick up from ’07 is that ‘Road Warrior’
    mentality, when going against a team on the road it just seemed like we didn’t
    miss a beat.




    “Hopefully that can be the same this year, too.”




    The Giants are 5-3 on the road this season — 4-3 in road games away from the
    Meadowlands.




    MAJOR HEADACHES
    CB Aaron Ross
    and RB
    D.J. Ware
    are both “going through the process” of the NFL’s concussion
    protocol after taking hits to the head on Sunday, according to Tom
    Coughlin
    . “They actually felt pretty good at the conclusion of the game when
    we did see them in the locker room,” Coughlin said. “I hope that bears out . . .
    for clearance to practice and play this week.”




    Asked if Ross had actually suffered a concussion, Coughlin said. “We are
    conducting the medical treatment as if it were a concussion.”




    COUGHLIN’S BIG CHILL
    Coughlin still remembers the feeling
    he had during the pregame warmups on the “frozen tundra” of Lambeau Field before
    the 2007 NFC title game. He was dressed so lightly on a day with wind chills at
    minus-23, he wasn’t sure he’d even make it back to the locker room before the
    game.




    During the game, his face turned a frightening shade of red — something most
    of his players remember fondly. But no, the coach doesn’t plan to wear anything
    warmer to protect his face this time around.




    “I don’t know what else to do,” he joked. “I’m not wearing a mask. I already
    scare people enough with this one on.”




    Good thing for Coughlin the forecast calls for much warmer temperatures on
    Sunday in Green Bay: a balmy 20 degrees.




    POSITIVE THINKING
    Coughlin didn’t sound thrilled that DE Jason
    Pierre-Paul
    had guaranteed the Giants will beat the Packer, but Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy
    didn’t seem to care.




    “I would expect a team that’s playing in the divisional playoff round to
    expect to win the game,” McCarthy said. “What are they supposed to say? They’re
    going to lose? I think the guys should expect to win.”




    OFF THE MARK
    Mark Herzlich said
    his injured ankle did not feel “sturdy enough” to play last week, although he
    hopes it can progress this week. The rookie LB, who suffered a high ankle sprain
    in late November, said the ankle itself is feeling better, but the bone injury
    that occurred with the sprain has held him back. . . . TE Jake Ballard said
    his knee was feeling fine one day after his first game since mid-December.




    BURNING DESIRE
    The first time the Giants played the
    Packers, LB Chase Blackburn
    had little time to prepare because he had only been brought back in the middle
    of that week. This time, Blackburn will be fully integrated into the defense,
    after making nine tackles in Sunday’s win over the Falcons.




    “This week, I can watch film today and tomorrow and start getting prepared
    early,” he said. “I don’t have to worry about going back and figuring out the
    tweaks the defense has done throughout the year.” Read more...

    MEMO TO NFL: GIANTS VS. PACKERS BELONGS IN PRIME TIME

    Excerpt: "When it comes to doing what’s necessary to maximize its television ratings,
    no professional sports league does it better than the National Football
    League.



    That’s why the league’s network partners happily shell out billions for the
    right to air the games. Unlike other professional sports enterprises, the NFL’s
    regular season generates big numbers, but the playoffs takes the ratings to
    another level.




    There is a way NFL suits can jack the numbers up even higher. Sunday’s
    Giants-Packers tilt is ready for prime time. That’s where it should be played.
    The heck with this 4:30 p.m. start on Fox. Move the kickoff to 7:30 or 8
    p.m.




    The game deserves prime time status. It’s a matchup between two rocks of the
    NFL foundation, two storied franchises looking for even more glory. The tilt
    comes with compelling story lines, too.




    OK, we can hear that familiar refrain about the late start depriving kids of
    watching. In this case it does not apply. Monday, Jan. 16, is Martin Luther King
    Day. No school and no work for most folks. So, it’s no big deal, no unbearable
    hardship to stay up and watch the game Sunday night.




    The weather? As NFL operatives have often said, it ain’t much colder at 8
    p.m. than it is at 5 p.m. at Lambeau Field. Sunday’s forecast has temperatures
    below 20 degrees with a 10% chance of precipitation.




    As for the competition that also happens to be NFL TV rights holders (NBC and
    CBS) — tough. Having to compete against an NFL game, well, that’s just business.
    No one is suggesting Fox get special treatment here, but the Foxies have bitten
    the bullet plenty this season.




    They lost two Cowboys-Giants games to NBC. CBS? NFL suits took care of that
    network when they didn’t allow NBC to flex the Dec. 18 Broncos-Patriots game
    into its “Sunday Night Football” window.




    How that suspicious deal went down remains a mystery and probably is locked
    in the NFL’s Park Ave. vault. See, even when there are TV rules in place, the
    NFL and its TV partners can “adjust” them if they choose. That’s why any reasons
    for not being able to put Giants-Packers in prime time would likely be
    convenient excuses." Read more...

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants

    NY POST

    GIANTS' PIERRE-PAUL, SOFTENS PACKERS GUARANTEE

    "Joe Namath and Mark Messier he is not.



    Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul backed off his guarantee that the
    Giants would beat the Packers in the NFC Divisional round.




    “If the defense, offense, special teams, we all do our jobs and execute it on
    Sunday, we should win,” Pierre-Paul
    said when asked about the prediction in an interview with WFAN.




    Pierre-Paul’s comments came after the Giants had beaten the Falcons 24-2 in
    their Wild Card game Sunday.




    “Of course, I said that. I am not going to twist my words,” said Pierre-Paul,
    who had 16 1/2 sacks in his second year in the NFL. “It was the fact that we won
    and it was exciting, but if we go out and do our jobs we should win.”




    Pierre-Paul said coach Tom Coughlin did not reprimand him for his postgame
    exuberance.




    “He didn't talk to me about it. It wasn't a comment that was hurtful. It was
    a statement," said Pierre-Paul, who declined to try and follow Namath, who
    guaranteed a Jets' Super Bowl III victory, and Messier, who scored a hat trick
    after predicting the Rangers would beat the Devils in Game 6 of
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

  • #2
    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012 - 9:33 A.M.

    Thanks RF. Terribly tragic what happened to Philbin's son.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012 - 9:33 A.M.

      [quote user="lttaylor56"]Thanks RF. Terribly tragic what happened to Philbin's son.[/quote]

      It really is, such a young man.
      “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012 - 9:33 A.M.

        Thanks RF! Good news on Ross! Gmen need to be ALL-IN if they're gonna win on Sunday.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012 - 9:33 A.M.

          [quote user="NY_Eli"]Thanks RF! Good news on Ross! Gmen need to be ALL-IN if they're gonna win on Sunday.[/quote]

          We are on the upswing!!
          “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012 - 9:33 A.M.



            thanks Ro...




            another day closer Buckeroo......

            "Measure Twice......Cut Once"
            You couldn't be more full of **** if you were break dancing in a Port-a-Potty.......Kruunch

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012 - 9:33 A.M.

              [quote user="RoanokeFan"][quote user="NY_Eli"]Thanks RF! Good news on Ross! Gmen need to be ALL-IN if they're gonna win on Sunday.[/quote]

              We are on the upswing!!
              [/quote]

              [Y]

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012 - 9:33 A.M.

                [quote user="GameTime"]

                thanks Ro...




                another day closer Buckeroo......

                [/quote]

                There is something in the air; CONFIDENCE.
                “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012 - 9:33 A.M.

                  [quote user="RoanokeFan"][quote user="GameTime"]


                  thanks Ro...




                  another day closer Buckeroo......




                  [/quote]

                  There is something in the air; CONFIDENCE.
                  [/quote]




                  unless you are standing by the hot dogcart then maybe its something else...lol

                  "Measure Twice......Cut Once"
                  You couldn't be more full of **** if you were break dancing in a Port-a-Potty.......Kruunch

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012 - 9:33 A.M.

                    [quote user="GameTime"][quote user="RoanokeFan"][quote user="GameTime"]


                    thanks Ro...




                    another day closer Buckeroo......




                    [/quote]

                    There is something in the air; CONFIDENCE.
                    [/quote]




                    unless you are standing by the hot dogcart then maybe its something else...lol

                    [/quote]

                    Only when down wind [+o(]
                    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

                    Comment

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