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    NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SUNDAY, JANUARY 8, 2012 - 8:00 A.M.

    HERE NOW THE NEWS

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

    NFC EAST DIVISION CHAMPIONS

    IT'S GAME DAY, ALL IN!!

    Started working on the thread at 6:00 a.m. and a glitch sent it into space! I don't have time to re-do so the best I could do was provide the links.


    NEWARK STAR LEDGER


    GIANTS DEFEAT FALCONS: QUARTER BY QUARTER ANAYLSIS

    "
    FIRST QUARTER


    Sizing up the
    opposition




    Consider this the get-to-know-you stage of the game. Neither offense showed
    much in the first 15 minutes, but that could be because we’ve gotten so used to
    seeing the track meets this season in the NFL that have led to binge scoring.
    The Giants ran a total of 10 plays in the quarter, as compared to 18 for the
    Falcons. That is part of what explains the significant discrepancy. The Giants
    were actually knocked off their game on the first play from scrimmage, when
    Victor Cruz came across the middle, had a pass glance off his hands and then was
    drilled by Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon -— the first of a few big hits
    by Weatherspoon in the early portion of the game. The Falcons turned to the
    no-huddle offense on their third possession, and things started to shake
    loose.




    SECOND QUARTER
    Safety first, then it’s all
    Eli




    Two Eli Manning moments, surrounded by a lot of middling football. Three
    plays after the Giants stopped the Falcons on a fourth-and-1 at the Giants’ 24,
    Manning dropped back and was pressured. He rolled to his right, drifting into
    the end zone, and threw the ball ... to no one. The grounding call, and
    resulting safety, gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead. The next time the Giants got the
    ball, Manning was more the player he has been this season — converting one third
    down with a 14-yard scramble, another with a short dump off to Ahmad Bradshaw —
    capping the drive with a 4-yard bullet to Hakeem Nicks for a TD. Meantime, the
    Falcons stopped and started, but never got far on their own. One quibble: The
    Giants seemed unaware that they faced third-and-1, and hadn’t earned a first
    down, just before the half.




    THIRD QUARTER
    Making every snap
    count




    Proving all afternoon that it’s not how many times you have the ball, but
    what you do with it when you are on offense, the Giants were quite efficient on
    their two possessions. After shutting down the Falcons immediately after
    halftime, Manning converted on third-and-8 and later third-and-12 before
    Lawrence Tynes’ field goal pushed the Giants’ lead to 10-2. And chalk up the
    next highlight — Hakeem Nicks’ 72-yard touchdown — to a superior scheme and
    inferior tackling. How Nicks came across the field so uncovered means a
    defensive back, or several, on the left side of the field blew a coverage. And
    how Nicks then zipped through the secondary means a host more DBs fell down on
    the job (some literally). In fact, the only negative of the third quarter was
    that Aaron Ross was dinged with a concussion.




    FOURTH QUARTER
    A little icing on a sweet
    win




    This was a victory lap in every fashion, wrapped in 15 minutes of game time.
    A drive that technically started at the end of the third quarter again showcased
    nearly brilliant play-calling. Five of the nine plays resulted in a gain of 7
    yards or longer, the last -- and longest -- a 27-yard strike from Manning to
    Mario Manningham in the back of the end zone. That toss showcased Manning’s
    pinpoint touch. And with a 24-2 lead in hand, the Giants defensive front spent
    the rest of the quarter frustrating Matt Ryan even more than he already was. Two
    tipped balls at the line helped kill one drive, and the final indignity came
    when Osi Umenyiora sacked Ryan -- and one of his offensive linemen -- for an
    8-yard loss on fourth-and-10 from the Giants’ 17-yard line. The Giants ran out
    the clock from there." Read more...


    GIANTS VS. FALCONS: YOU GRADE 'EM

    GIANTS POUND FALCONS, 24 - 2, TO ADVANCE IN PLAYOFFS

    "In arguably their most complete performance of the season, the Giants
    dominated the Falcons in a 24-2 victory today in the first round of the NFC
    playoffs at MetLife Stadium.



    The Giants (10-7) earned a trip to Green Bay to take on the Packers (15-1)
    next Sunday in a divisional round game. Lambeau Field, of course, was the site
    of the NFC Championship Game after the 2007 season -- a classic that the Giants
    won in overtime to land a spot in the Super Bowl.




    Today, Eli Manning threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns, and Brandon
    Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw combined for 152 yards on the ground. Two of Manning's
    touchdowns were thrown to Hakeem Nicks, who had six catches for 115 yards.




    Just as important, the Giants completely shut down the Falcons' high-powered
    offense, keeping Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Co. out of the end
    zone all afternoon. The Falcons haven't been shut out since the 2004 playoffs.
    The Giants came awfully close."

    ##

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

    NY DAILY NEWS

    GIANTS SMOTHER FALCONS IN 24-2 WILD-CARD ROUT AS GIANTS ADVANCE TO FACE PACKERS

    Excerpt: "GIANTS
    24, FALCONS 2



    The Giants spent the regular season riding the waves of the most explosive
    offense in franchise history. But the first round of the playoffs it was the
    defense that made the biggest splash.




    They turned back the clock with a dominating performance as they smothered
    the Atlanta Falcons, 24-2, in a wild-card playoff game at the Meadowlands on
    Sunday afternoon. The Giants' defense pitched a shutout – the only Falcons
    scoring was a second-quarter safety – as they won a playoff game at home for the
    first time in nearly 11 years.




    The Giants' defense yielded only 247 yards and turned Falcons running back
    Michael Turner
    almost completely irrelevant (41 yards on 15 carries). They
    even saved the game with two huge stops when the Falcons tried quarterback
    sneaks on 4th-and-inches deep in Giants territory, once in each half.




    That cleared the way for the Giants' offense, which rode its best rushing
    attack of the season (172 yards) and got three touchdown passes from Eli
    Manning
    , including a 72-yarder to Hakeem Nicks late in
    the third quarter that essentially put the game away.




    The Giants (10-7), who had lost their only other two home playoff games under
    Tom Coughlin (2005 and
    2008), now move on to the divisional round of the playoffs in Green Bay next
    Sunday at 4:30 p.m. They had been hoping for a rematch with the top-seeded
    Packers (15-1), ever since they narrowly lost to them, 38-35 at the Meadowlands
    on Dec. 4.




    Back then the Giants' defense was still a bit of a mess – nothing like the
    juggernaut that has flashed a dangerous pass rush the last three weeks. On
    Sunday, Perry Fewell's unit
    was equally masterful against the run and never let the Falcons' array of
    receivers and tight ends find much room down the field.




    Actually, neither offense got off to a flying start – a bit surprising since
    they were both ranked in the Top 10 in the NFL. It was a defensive standoff for
    the first two quarters, with the pass rushes of both teams dominating the
    action.




    In fact, right after the Giants' defense stopped the Falcons (10-7) on a huge
    4th-and-1 way down at the Giants' 24, the Falcons' defense struck right back.
    With the Giants facing a 2nd and 19 from their own 13, Atlanta safety James Sanders
    came blitzing by Giants right tackle Kareem
    McKenzie
    and forced Manning to throw the ball away in the hopes of avoiding
    the sack.




    Unfortunately for him, he wasn't out of the pocket so he was flagged for
    intentional grounding, and since he was in the end zone at the time it was a
    safety that gave the Falcons an early, 2-0 lead."

    ##

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

    NY POST

    GIANTS' ROSS, WARE OUT WITH CONCUSSIONS

    "It wasn't all good news for the Giants on Sunday.



    Cornerback Aaron Ross and backup running back D.J. Ware were both knocked out
    of the Giants' 24-2 wild-card victory over the Falcons with concussions.




    Ross was hurt in a collision with teammate Jason Pierre-Paul early in the
    third quarter diving to catch a pass that was batted at the line of scrimmage.
    Ware was also hurt in the third quarter but it wasn’t clear how he was injured.




    Giants safety Deon Grant sustained a quad injury in the first half but
    returned for the third quarter.




    The availability of Ross and Ware for the Giants' divisional round matchup
    against the Packers next Sunday will be in question."



    NICKS, DEFENSE LEAD THE GIANTS TO WILD-CARD WIN OVER FALCONS



    Excerpt: "Eli Manning doesn’t have to do everything himself. The Giants have found
    their running game and defense just in time.



    After routing the Atlanta Falcons 24-2 Sunday in the NFC wild-card game, New
    York heads to Green Bay next weekend, a place where it will need all the help it
    can muster.




    Manning carried the Giants (10-7) for much of the season, hoping the defense
    would get stingy, the pass rush would materialize and the running game would get
    on track. Now, all of that is happening.




    “A great mix of run and pass and these guys have a great understanding of
    what our offense is,” Manning said of the help he’s receiving. “If we can get
    that run game going like we did in the second half, that opens up a lot of
    windows.”

    And if the defense remains impenetrable, watch out.



    “If we can play defense like that, we will continue to make ourselves heard
    in this tournament,” coach Tom Coughlin said.




    Manning punctuated his best pro season by throwing for three touchdowns and
    scrambling for a 14-yard gain that woke up New York’s offense in its first
    postseason victory since its Super Bowl upset of undefeated New England four
    years ago. Next up is as big a challenge: the defending champion Packers (15-1),
    who won here 38-35 in December.




    ‘’We know they are a good team,” Manning said. “We played them tough here,
    did some good things here, we scored some points. We know offensively we are
    going to have to play strong, score some points.”




    The team that couldn’t run the ball will be sprinting there, bringing along a
    defense the Packers actually might fear. Not to mention the passing offense led
    by Manning, who hooked up on a 72-yard catch and run by Hakeem Nicks in the
    third quarter that put away the inept Falcons (10-7). Manning also connected on
    a 4-yard TD with Nicks in the second period, and a 27-yard TD throw to Mario
    Manningham in the fourth quarter that finished it off.




    The Giants’ last postseason trip to frigid Lambeau Field was a 23-20 overtime
    victory for the NFC championship two weeks before they upset the Patriots.




    “Cold, I remember that. I remember coach Coughlin’s face. I remember (tackle)
    David Diehl sweating and it froze on his hair and he had icicles on his hair,”
    defensive end Justin Tuck said. “And I remember us winning.




    “Hopefully, we can go back there and do it again.” Read more...



    ##

    http://www.northjersey.com/sports/pro_sports/football/

    THE BERGEN RECORD


    GIANTS HEADED TO GREEN BAY AFTER 24-2 WIN OVER FALCONS

    Excerpt: "The Giants won their first home playoff game since capturing the 2000 NFC
    Championship and did so convincingly behind Eli Manning’s arm and the hands of
    Hakeem Nicks, not to mention another smothering defensive performance.

    Because of all that, the Giants will head to Green Bay where they will face
    off with the favored Packers




    The last time Big Blue went to Lambeau Field in the playoffs, Corey Webster
    picked off Brett Favre in overtime and set up Lawrence Tynes’ game-winning field
    goal to send them to Super Bowl XLII. The rest is not just franchise lore, but
    NFL history as the Giants upset the Patriots to win their third Lombardi Trophy,
    denying New England its bid for perfection.




    The Giants lost to Green Bay at MetLife Stadium 38-35 when Mason Crosby
    booted a game-winning field goal as time expired Dec. 4." Read more...

    GIANTS' FAN DEVOTED TO THEIR TEAM - AND TAILGATING

    Excerpt: "It started to feel a lot like 2007 on Sunday.



    New York Giants fans tailgating outside MetLife
    Stadium Sunday.



    Devoted Giants fans outside MetLife Stadium said the team’s 24-2 thrashing of
    the Atlanta Falcons bolstered their confidence that the Big Blue might be able
    to repeat the improbable playoff run that ended in a Super Bowl championship
    four years ago.




    “It’s in the air, there’s an aura of 2007,” said Rob Evans, 33, of North Arlington, as exuberant crowds streamed out of
    the stadium after the game. “If we play like this, there’s not a team we can’t
    beat.”




    That might sound like the blustery optimism of a fan delirious from the first
    playoff victory in the new MetLife Stadium — and the first home playoff victory
    since 2000. But even before the game, raucous tailgaters expressed an abiding
    faith that the Giants, coming off a roller-coaster regular season, were finding
    their groove.




    “We’re winning it,” a prescient Jimmy Smith of River Vale said before the
    game. “Just like 2007, we’re a sleeper. We’re playing Green Bay next week; get
    your long johns ready.”




    Smith has hosted parking lot parties since 1976 and used his moving company’s
    van on Sunday to cart three grills, a sofa, and two chairs to the stadium for
    the final game at the Meadowlands this season.




    He and other longtime revelers acknowledged, despite their pre-game
    confidence, that to win in the playoffs, the Giants will need to take a cue from
    tailgaters in at least one area. They will need to show consistency.




    Terry Chiappa, 53, of Lyndhurst, who said he was one
    of the first people in the stadium parking lot Sunday, knows something about
    that.




    “I’ve only missed three homes games in 35 years,” he said.




    For what?




    “Kids' birthdays, my wedding,” he said. “Well, I planned the wedding and
    honeymoon around Giants games, but I couldn’t get out of the rehearsal,” he
    clarified.




    He was handing out wristbands to attendees of a party hosted in Lot 11 by
    twin brothers Mark and Mike Discerni, 46, of North
    Arlington
    , who cooked 200 pounds of food for the 125 friends who regularly
    join the decades-old tradition.




    George McCanless of Mahwah, who was cooking more than 7
    pounds of steak on a nearby grill, said “I never know which Giants team is going
    to show up.”




    But, he added, Eli Manning “had one of the greatest years a quarterback has
    ever had, given that he had no running game.” On Sunday, that changed; two
    running backs rushed for a total 155 yards." Read more...

    ##

    http://www.northjersey.com/sports/pro_sports/football/

    THE NEW YORK TIMES

    GIANTS' DEFENSE SHOWED ITS METTLE ON 4TH AND 1

    Excerpt: "If a fourth-and-1 situation sometimes appears like a fierce, primal struggle, a
    link to football’s 19th-century grunt-and-push origins, it may be worth noting
    that modern-day pro football players view it no differently.



    It’s basically a moment when one team is trying to prove it’s stronger than the
    other team,” Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora said. “And the defense is very
    aware of that challenge. Who’s stronger? It can be a very pivotal moment.”




    Even in 21st-century football, with spread offenses and passes lofted in the
    air on the majority of plays, games can still be determined by the ability to
    gain a yard, or less, and often in the most direct way: a quarterback sneak over
    the back of the center.




    The Giants’ defense dominated the Atlanta Falcons in almost every facet
    during a 24-2 playoff-game drubbing Sunday, but there were two plays deep in
    Giants territory that could have provided Atlanta with the momentum needed to
    quell a boisterous home Giants crowd while also allowing the Falcons to exert
    control, especially in the most elemental way.




    When Atlanta failed on each of those fourth-and-1 attempts, the Giants were
    emboldened. The Falcons’ offense remained pointless.




    “You could look in their eyes after that and see they were stunned and
    unsure,” Umenyiora said. “Usually that means they’re going downhill. Those are
    like two turnovers — we took the ball from them.”




    There was exaltation on the Giants’ sideline after each stop, with
    quarterback Eli Manning recalling past playoff moments when it was the Giants
    who failed in such situations.




    “When you don’t make it on fourth down, it’s tough to overcome,” Manning
    said. “And conversely, when your defense stops them, it’s a huge momentum
    swing.”




    As crucial as the fourth-down plays might have been psychologically, there
    was no immediate benefit for the Giants after the first stop of Atlanta
    quarterback Matt Ryan at the Giants’ 24-yard line to start the second quarter.
    Three plays later, Manning was called for intentionally grounding in the end
    zone, which resulted in a safety and a 2-0 Falcons lead.




    But after the Giants’ defense, which held Atlanta to 247 yards on 64
    offensive plays (3.9 yards per play), forced a Falcons punt later in the half,
    Manning led the Giants on a 13-play touchdown drive. The Giants took command of
    the game, churning up yards and winning the battle for field position.




    By the third quarter, the Giants had extended their lead to 10-2, but
    Atlanta’s short passing game took the Falcons to the Giants’ 21 and another
    fourth-and-1.




    Atlanta Coach Mike Smith defended his decision to go for it twice on fourth
    down instead of accepting the potential field goals by saying, “We ought to be
    able to move the ball less than a half-yard on a quarterback sneak.”




    But in each case the Giants were waiting — and knew what was coming. Several
    Giants defensive linemen said their coaches had shown them video of Falcons
    short-yardage plays from this season. According to the players, Ryan usually
    kept the ball rather than hand it to a back. And the Falcons had occasionally
    tried multiple shifts and delaying tactics before the snap.




    On the first fourth-down play, Ryan made hand motions and various signals as
    if preparing for a more elaborate play, or perhaps to draw the Giants offside.




    “The coaches warned us about that,” defensive end Justin
    Tuck
    said. “But once he got back under the center and the clock was down to
    three or four seconds, we knew it was go time and he was keeping it.”




    Three plays after the second defensive stand, Manning connected with Hakeem
    Nicks over the middle, and Nicks ran away from the Atlanta secondary for a
    72-yard touchdown and a 17-2 Giants lead.




    The basic, head-to-head nature of the plays was the focus in both locker
    rooms after the game — the Giants also stopped Atlanta on a third-and-1 — but
    they were just highlights in a thorough and systematic rout spearheaded by the
    Giants’ defense." Read more...



    FINAL: GIANTS 24 - FALCONS 2



    "







    Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes and the Giants defense
    pitched a shutout in a 24-2 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday in an
    N.F.C. wild-card playoff game at MetLife Stadium.





    Hakeem Nicks caught six passes for 115 yards, including an early 4-yard score
    and a 72-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the third quarter, and Mario Manningham
    added a 27-yard score in the fourth. That ball, a beautifully thrown pass from
    Manning dropped into double coverage, helped erased memories of Manning’s only
    real mistake: an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone in the first
    quarter that provided the Falcons’ only points.





    The Giants defense took care of the rest, shutting out the Falcons despite
    recording only two sacks and without forcing a turnover. They did it by holding
    Atlanta to 64 rushing yards — including a pair of stops on fourth-and-1 plays in
    the red zone.





    The Giants will travel to Green Bay next week to face the top-seeded Packers.
    The teams met in a thriller on Dec. 4, a
    38-35 Packers victory
    decided by a field goal on the final play. But the
    Giants’ mood will be far different.





    That earlier loss was their fourth in a row in a midseason swoon that
    imperiled both their playoff hopes and Tom Coughlin’s future as their coach.
    What a difference a month makes. Now the Giants have won four of five, including
    impressive wins over the Jets, the Cowboys and the Falcons in successive weeks,
    and they may have the best defense left in the playoffs.





    The last time the Giants went to Green Bay for a playoff game, in January
    2008, they won it in overtime and went on to beat the Patriots in the Super
    Bowl."



    ##


    http://www.nytimes.com/pages/sports/football/index.html

    GIANTS 101

    GIANTS' DEFENSE BULLIES FALCONS AS G-MEN ADVANCE WITH 24-2 WIN

    "This is the type of defense the New York
    Giants
    felt they could be coming into the season. Led by a dominating effort
    from the defensive line yet again, the G-Men shut down the Atlanta
    Falcons
    rushing attack, put several hits on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan,
    and the secondary played arguably their best game of the season as the Giants
    put a chokehold on the Falcons and never let up. New York walked out of MetLife Stadium with a dominant
    24-2 victory that will make them one of the final eight teams left standing in
    the National Football
    League next week.



    New York
    Giants
    middle linebacker Chase Blackburn (93) celebrates stopping the Atlanta
    Falcons
    on a play in the second half during their NFL NFC wildcard
    playoff football
    game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, January 8, 2012. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine
    (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)















    Hakeem
    Nicks
    led the way with an explosive performance on the outside, with 115
    yards on six receptions and two touchdowns, and his quarterback Eli
    Manning
    was magnificent again for New York – hitting on 23 of 32 pass attempts for 277
    yards and three touchdown strikes without throwing an interception.




    Defensively, it started with a great performance from the Giants defensive
    tackles who were physical, aggressive, and disciplined – making it very
    difficult for Atlanta to
    get their power running game going. Antrel Rolle had a very impressive
    all-around game in the secondary both with his coverage and run support, Corey
    Webster was superb in coverage, and the Giants defensive ends were just what
    you'd expect. Jason Pierre-Paul was extremely disruptive against the run, doing
    a great job of taking away the edge runs and making tackles behind the line of
    scrimmage. Tuck and Umenyiora combined for four hits on Matt Ryan. Also credit
    Chase Blackburn – who has brought so much fire and intensity to this Giants
    linebacker group since his return. A very active, inspired game from #93.




    The G-Men took a 7-2 lead into the half, as an Eli
    Manning
    intentional grounding penalty in the end zone gave the Falcons their
    only two points of the game. In the second half, the Big Blue defense dominated
    – as it continued to shut the Falcons out offensively while Eli
    Manning
    and Hakeem
    Nicks
    got going on a 72 yard touchdown connection that gave the Giants a
    17-2 lead late in the third quarter.




    Manning put the icing on the cake with a beautiful 27 yard touchdown throw to
    Mario Manninghamthat made the score 24-2 with ten minutes remaining in the
    game. The game was essentially over there, as the Giants defense battered the
    Falcons for the final few minutes, with Osi Umenyiorafinishing it off with a
    sack of Matt Ryan on 4th down.




    The Giants now enter a showdown with the Green Bay Packers for a trip to the
    NFC Championship. The Giants played the Packers extremely well in week 14,
    losing a heartbreaker 38-35. New York gets not only a chance at revenge, but keeps
    their chance at a Super Bowl title.




    Quick Hits




    - This New York
    Giants
    defensive line deserves a ton of the credit for this turnaround over
    the past three games – but let's not look past defensive coordinator Perry
    Fewell, who after seeing his team continue to struggle in November pushed the
    right buttons and made some simplifications to the coverage schemes – allowing
    this Giants defense to rely on its pass rush while getting physical play on the
    outside from the cornerbacks. It sure does look like the Big Blue Wrecking Crew
    once again in New
    York
    .




    - It's pick your poison with these Giants receivers. Yesterday in the game
    preview, we talked about the game HakeemNicks would have if the Falcons were
    going to make Victor Cruz the center of attention for their defense. And Nicks
    reminded the NFL just how
    good he is. Incredible performance in his first playoff game.




    - Is there anyone left that wants to continue to make a fool of themselves
    and question Giants signal-caller Eli
    Manning
    ? Anyone?"


    ##

    DOES RESILIENCY DEFINE THESE NEW YORK GIANTS?

    "Making a comeback as of late has been the ever-famous Super Bowl XLII intro
    from the New York
    Giants that placed many (former) players in studio preaching about resiliency.
    Not one Big Blue die-hard fan can watch that clip and claim to be
    emotionless.








    The few Giants left from that 2007 run are said to be drawing from those
    emotions and experiences and schooling the young’uns on how to approach their
    “playoffs” (that started in Week 16).




    Here’s where the questions coming from the fans that never stop thinking
    B-L-U-E:




    How did this current roster of rookies, walking-wounded and frustrated
    playmakers honestly look at their serious adversity, use it to make an attitude
    change and put “All In” to turn the 2011 Regular Season into a 2012 Post-Season
    run?




    What “saved” this team from the second-half collapse that so many (including
    some Giants fans) predicted?




    One answer (and an easy one) is head coach Tom
    Coughlin
    . That’s a knee-jerk response here, but without a doubt he is a huge
    catalyst. The Giants keep most team information “in-house”, but who’s to say
    that in team meetings, the Team First; Team Always; Team Forever mantra wasn’t
    reiterated as a segue into Giants Pride/”All In”? Remember, Coughlin is from the
    Bill
    Parcells
    coaching tree (he was wideouts coach in ’88-’90) and an admitted
    student of the game. He knows what works and has adapted his “old coach” ways to
    reach most players in a positive, structured way.




    “All In” seems to include his coaches under him too. Pay attention, because
    Perry
    Fewell
    and Kevin
    Gilbride
    have enrolled in Big Blue 101 with Professor Coughlin. You saw it
    in Weeks 16 and 17. Admit it already. The trickle-down theory is working since
    the players have read the syllabus and bought the (play)books for class…




    What else made the game day portion of this great franchise roll out the
    dusty looking glass, polish it off and each take a turn gazing into it? There
    had to be an epiphany at some point—more than likely post-Week 15: the
    Washington/$@!# the bed game.




    As many were well ahead of their deadline in writing the Giants’ epitaph, the
    team was doing self-evaluation/introspection and realizing that despite
    injuries, NFL analyst
    opinions, meaningless power-rankings and sheer negativity, the current 2011
    roster had more than enough talent on it to make a legit run.




    Giving up should never be an option for those privileged enough to wear NY
    Giants Blue. Coming together and becoming a team again before the world and
    winning because of it is a major confidence-booster. This team again believes in
    itself—in each other. Oh yeah…and the health factor is swinging back in their
    favor. Underestimating a Giant is done out of ignorance, fear or both…but go
    ahead. Adversity leads to Resiliency in these parts. Sound familiar?"

    GIANTS VS. FALCONS: NFL PLAYOFFS WILD CARD PREVIEW

    Excerpt: "After 17 weeks of ups, downs, big plays, big games, impressive performances
    and not so impressive performances, the New York
    Giants
    are where they want to be. They won the NFC East and will host a
    playoff game at MetLife Stadium tomorrow afternoon. The Giants are once again
    peaking going into the postseason, playing arguably the most complete defense
    we've seen from the team in the final two weeks of the season, and the offense
    starting to get some big runs out of the ground game to go along with the
    success of Eli
    Manning
    and this explosive passing attack.



    New York
    Giants
    wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) goes past his team bench as he makes a
    74-yard touchdown run against the Dallas Cowboys during their NFL football
    game in East Rutherford, New Jersey January 1, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED
    STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
    New York
    and the Atlanta
    Falcons kick it off at 1:00 PM eastern tomorrow, with a shot at either the
    Packers or 49ersin the divisional round, in the battle of the last eight teams
    left standing in the 2011 season.


    GAMEPLAN




    Be aggressive in attacking the Falcons running game on the early
    downs




    One thing that can almost guarantee a Giants loss in this football
    game is playing the way they did against the run in October and November. The
    Giants know this is true for two reasons, the first being the fact that
    everything the Falcons like to do offensively starts with getting Michael Turner
    going. That takes all the aggressiveness out of the safeties in the secondary,
    and forces them to hesitate to drop back in coverage off the snap and opens up
    some big plays through the play-fake.




    The second thing a breakout game from the Falcons running game will do is
    neutralize this Giants pass rush – which is something the Giants desperately
    need to have success on defense with the inconsistent play of its secondary. If
    the Falcons are consistently getting into 3rd and 3 type situations rather than
    3rd and 7's, it's going to make this game a far, far tougher one to win because
    of the aggressiveness it takes away from the Giants defensive line.




    Look to take away TE Tony Gonzalez on third down and in the red
    zone




    Matt Ryan
    is going to be feeling some pressure going into this game as a young quarterback
    looking to establish himself as a winning quarterback. Outside of getting after
    the quarterback and the hostility of the crowd at MetLife stadium, the best way
    to take that pressure on Matt Ryan
    to the next level and force him into mistakes – is to take away the target that
    makes him comfortable in those critical third down, red zone type
    situations.




    That target is the big, sure handed veteran tight end over the middle in Tony
    Gonzalez. The Giants have to knock Ryan out of his comfort zone and force him to
    look elsewhere to make a play on third down than the easy throw to the big
    safety blanket over the middle.




    Show a commitment to the running game offensively early in the
    game




    It's very clear what the Falcons will be talking about doing defensively
    coming into this game. Their top three priorities will be containing Victor
    Cruz, containing Hakeem
    Nicks
    , and getting pressure on Eli
    Manning
    – in some order. The Giants should have opportunities to run the football
    well to start this game, and will need their offensive line group at their best
    against the Falcons top ten ranked rush defense.




    If the Giants can get Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs going, it will start
    to take away the Falcons intense focus on the Giants passing attack, and create
    those critical opportunities for Cruz and Nicks to do what they do on the
    outside.




    THE GIANTS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF…




    They can keep the Falcons running game contained and are efficient on third
    down offensively. If New York keeps putting their defense right back out there
    against this big, physical Falcons offense it's going to take away a lot of
    their ability to be explosive and on the attack defensively. And we talked about
    just what could unfold should the Giants be unable to keep the Falcons run game
    under control.




    BIG GAME CANDIDATE – WR Hakeem
    Nicks




    The Falcons are going to come into this game looking at what Victor Cruz has
    been doing after the catch down the stretch and will look to really do
    everything they can to keep him from beating them the way he beat the Jets and
    Cowboys.




    What is overlooked is the Pro-Bowl caliber player on the opposite side and
    arguably the best receiver on this Giants team in Hakeem
    Nicks
    . Nicks has been bothered by a hamstring injury all season, but is one
    of the tougher players in football, and has still commanded double teams throughout
    the year allowing Cruz to be freed up and do what he does on the other
    side.




    The roles could be reversed this weekend with the Falcons likely to roll a
    lot of coverages to Cruz's side and have #80 as the number one thing on all
    eleven defenders minds going in. That could really open things up for Nicks, who
    is going to be a handful for whoever draws him in coverage. I expect a big game
    here.




    PREDICTION




    This is a scary game for the Giants. It's going to test all the things the
    Giants really struggled with at various points throughout the season – stopping
    the run, stopping big play receivers on the outside, running the football.




    With that said, I see a different Giants football team the last two weeks of the season. I have
    seen fire, intensity, and a ton of confidence. Stiff arms, hurdles, spin moves
    across the defensive line, well-timed pass deflections in coverage – these
    seemingly very little things all point to a team in a rhythm, a team playing
    with confidence and a team very comfortable with what they are doing.




    If this Giants defensive line continues to play the way it has the past two
    games, I think Eli
    Manning
    and the offense will certainly be capable of taking care of the
    rest.




    Giants 27, Falcons 21"

    GIANTS' FANS WITNESSING HISTORY

    "As unpredictable as this entire 2011 NFL regular Season has been, from start to finish,
    there’s so much more to it upon closer look.


    Entering 2011 with fear of an NFL Lockout-turned reality, the draft was the only real
    highlight to the off-season drama. Majority of the spring and mainly the summer
    was spent in a paranoid stupor of “what am I gonna do without my Giants football?!”
    Longest football
    off-season with nothing to focus on but doom for many. It was almost laughable
    at times, because once the Collective Bargaining Agreement was finalized and
    signed, the celebration was but brief. Football hunger set in as gridiron bellies were beyond
    famished.




    It was as if the history of the New York Football Giants was all but forgotten, because as certain
    teams (ahem, division rivals) signed almost every well-known fantasy football
    name available, the Giants conducted business as usual. No multi-million dollar
    player signings. No block-buster trades for their top pass-rushing Defensive
    End. No “Wow! Look what the Giants just did!” new for the media to report.




    Typical cut-the-injured/injury-prone player, draft for the future, evaluate
    what the team does have type of Giants free-agency approach. It’s how the
    franchise has always done it in an effort to build stability and depth for the
    long run.




    The NFL Lockout
    frustration and ire from the fans spilled over and onto Giants GM Jerry
    Reese
    and a good portion of the fanbase, well, lost it—temporarily,
    thankfully. Hey now.




    Fast-forward to present day and week so as to give way to be able to utilize
    the new year trend of looking back, reflecting and realizing. Realize what, as a
    die-hard and ever-critical New York Giants fan, you have just become a part of:
    History ladies and gentlemen. Not only have you watched a Giants team this
    season that some claimed “had no identity” or was “schizophrenic”, but you
    witnessed many records being made and broken..




    You’re still witnessing a young quarterback (poor Eli) come into the ELIte
    leader that Ernie
    Accorsi
    dreamed he’d be. Pishaw all you want. This is all being recorded and
    will end up in the Legacy Room at MetLife (see: Giants) Stadium one day.




    In case you feel uninformed Giants record-wise for 2011:




    Eli
    Manning
    :


      [*]Most consecutive passes completed (Giants record)[*]Most completions in a season (Giants record)[*]Most passing yards (Giants record)[*]Most consecutive starts by an active QB (NFL record)[*]Most game-winning drives in 4th Qtr/OT (Giants record)[*]Longest TD pass at 99 yds. (Tied NFL record/set Giants record)[*]15 4th Quarter TD (NFL record)[/list]

      Victor
      Cruz
      :


        [*]Most receiving yards in a season w/ 1,539 (Giants record)[*]Longest TD reception at 99 yds. (Tied NFL record)[/list]

        New York
        Giants


          [*]Most playoff appearances now with 31[/list]

          Upon closer review, your Giants pride should be oozing blue. This isn’t
          happening league-wide. There’s only a handful of organizations that can claim
          these records in one season, less than that have the 86-year-long history the New York Football
          Giants do.




          Wake up. Bear witness with mind and eyes wide open. You’ll appreciate that
          you did one day."

          FALCONS AT GIANTS, WHO WILL BE THE X FACTORS?

          "You've heard the talk all week: Eli Manning, Matt Ryan, the New York
          Giants pass rush, the Atlanta
          Falcons
          run game, the weather conditions, dome team, cold weather team, it
          has all been discussed. Beyond the headlines and spotlight however, there are
          going to be players at the center of the big matchups in this football
          game.


          Tonight, Giants 101 takes a look at the players that will be critical to the
          outcome of this football game beyond the obvious buzz surrounding the Eli
          Manning vs Matt Ryan showdown at the quarterback position.




          GIANTS OFFENSIVE X-FACTOR: WR Victor
          Cruz




          And really, who else? With the outstanding big play ability Cruz has shown
          throughout the 2011 season, he's sure to be at the top of the list of priorities
          for this Falcons defense, and getting the football in his hands and allowing him an opportunity to
          make plays will be at the top of the list of priorities for the New York
          offense. Something has got to give.




          If the Falcons look to use bracket coverage and shift a lot of attention to
          his side defensively, look for Cruz to create plenty of opportunities for Hakeem
          Nicks on the other side, who while dealing with a hamstring injury, is still a
          clear pro-bowl caliber wide receiver in his own right. Jake Ballard is expected
          to return at tight end and could also see several one on one opportunities down
          the seam with all the attention on Cruz going into this game.




          FALCONS OFFENSIVE X-FACTOR: TE Tony
          Gonzalez




          Gonzalez may be nearing the end of his career, and may not be the same
          explosive guy he was in Kansas City – but make no mistake, this is a guy who is
          a bigtime difference maker for this Falcons offense on third down and in the red
          zone.




          Matt Ryan trusts him in big spots, and while the Giants have plenty to focus
          on on the outside with Roddy White and Julio Jones, those third down situations
          and red zone snaps are when they will have to make sure Ryan doesn't get easy
          looks for his big target over the middle and force him to look elsewhere to make
          a conversion. You take away what a quarterback is comfortable with in those
          crucial situations, and it can go a long way in taking him off of his game.




          GIANTS DEFENSIVE X-FACTOR: LB/DL Mathias
          Kiwanuka




          Jason Pierre-Paul has had an incredible rise to superstardom in just his
          second season, Justin Tuck is looking like the Justin Tuck we've seen since 2007
          in the past few games, and OsiUmenyiora is back and flashing that explosive
          first step that makes him one of the league's most disruptive pass rushers.




          But everyone seems to be overlooking #94 a bit – the guy who has really been
          a very valuable wild card in this defensive front seven for the G-Men. Atlanta
          will look to open up its downfield, playfake based passing game with Michael
          Turner – and Kiwanuka has been the best run stopper on this football
          team this season. He's been very aggressive in attacking the gaps and found his
          way into the backfield to disrupt plays and stop runners behind the line of
          scrimmage.




          With so much attention on JPP, Umenyiora, and Tuck, Kiwanuka will also get
          his opportunity to get after the quarterback with one on one matchups.




          FALCONS DEFENSIVE X-FACTOR: LB Curtis
          Lofton




          Lofton is a one man tackling show for the Falcons at the linebacker level –
          and he will need to be that this Sunday against the Giants. If the Falcons allow
          the Giants rushing attack to get going along with the big play ability of their
          weapons on the outside, the Giants could get up over 35 in this football
          game.




          Victor
          Cruz
          and Hakeem Nicks are also quite capable of yards after the catch, and
          the Falcons will want Lofton's motor running at 100% in this game to ensure
          Giants receivers aren't taking slants and quick routes underneath for big
          yardage."

          http://www.giants101.com/

          BIG BLUE VIEW

          NY GIANTS PLAYOFF RUN INCREASINGLY TAKING ON A FAMILIAR FEEL

          "The question came up over and over in the week leading up to Sunday's New
          York Giants
          -Atlanta Falcons NFC
          Wild-Card Playoff game. Giants players and coaches were asked again and again if
          this season, and this team, reminded them of the Super-Bowl winning team of
          2007.



          Some players bit, saying it did. Coach Tom Coughlin and others wanted
          no part of that discussion.




          Well, during Sunday's post-game press conferences and the entire week leading
          up to next Sunday's divisional round game at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers
          that will likely be an often-asked question.




          After what we saw Sunday, how can it not be?





          Over the course of the past several weeks we have watched this Giants team do
          exactly what the eventual 2008 Super Bowl 42 championship team did. Turn around
          a season that looked like it was on the brink of falling apart, find a way to
          get into the playoffs and hit the post-season tournament playing its best
          football of the season.




          This edition of the Giants did get to play a game at home, and took advantage
          with a dominating effort against the Falcons. The game wasn't close.




          I know who the Giants are playing next week. I know the Giants will be heavy
          underdogs. I know who should win the game. Yet, after what you have seen the
          past few weeks it is hard not to think about 2007 and think the Giants have a
          chance.




  2. #2

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SUNDAY, JANUARY 8, 2012 - 8:00 A.M.



    thanks Roanoke! [B]







    Go Giants!


  3. #3

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SUNDAY, JANUARY 8, 2012 - 8:00 A.M.

    Forget the Past, Live for the Future!

  4. #4

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SUNDAY, JANUARY 8, 2012 - 8:00 A.M.

    Go Giants! 4 straight victories here we go!

  5. #5
    Starter
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Memphis
    Posts
    185

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SUNDAY, JANUARY 8, 2012 - 8:00 A.M.

    Thanks Roanoke for your efforts. they are greatly appreciated.

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