NFL Watch: Giants Oust Top-Seeded PackersKenny Phillips gets a taste of ‘blue cheese’ from the New York Giants faithful.

words // Brandon Richard

The New York Giants are starting to look a lot like the team that claimed Super Bowl XLII back in 2008. Like that team, the 2011 Giants went through plenty of ups and downs throughout the regular season, but have turned on the switch in the playoffs. The task this past Sunday was a big one – beat the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. In a meeting earlier this season, the Pack traveled to New York and walked out with a slim 38-35 victory. There was a giant difference in Sunday’s result.

New York took control of the game early, emerging from the first quarter with a 10-3 lead after receiver Hakeem Nicks caught a 66-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning. The two linked up again on a 37-yarder in the second quarter, giving New York a 20-10 advantage at the half. Green Bay managed to shave three points off the lead in the third quarter with a Mason Crosby field goal, but an outright dominant New York fourth quarter finished off the defending champions for good. On the day, the Giants were able to contain Aaron Rodgers, limiting him to 264 yards passing and two touchdown passes. Manning finished the game with 330 yards and three touchdowns, once again playing his best football in the postseason.

New York’s NFC Championship opponent will be the upstart San Francisco 49ers, who were victorious over the New Orleans Saints in a thriller. Ahead 20-14 going into the fourth quarter, the 49ers surrendered the lead late in the game when Saints quarterback Drew Brees found tight end Jimmy Graham deep for a 66-yard touchdown pass. A successful two-point conversion by Brees and Darren Sproles gave New Orleans a 32-29 lead with less than two minutes left to play. However, Alex Smith led a drive for the ages, marching San Francisco down the field for 85 yards and connecting with tight end Vernon Davis with a 14-yard strike that would give the team a 36-32 victory. The 49ers will host the NFC Championship this Sunday.

There was no more “Tebow Time” in Foxborough, as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady once again schooled the Denver Broncos defense. Tebow completed just 9 of 26 passes for 136 yards, while Brady lit up the record books with 363 yards and six touchdown passes in a 45-10 New England victory. The game was virtually over before halftime. Brady connected with tight end Rob Gronkowski for three of his five first-half touchdown passes, including one before the half that gave the Patriots a 35-7 advantage. New England pulled their foot off the gas in the second half, but were able to limit the Denver offense from threatening any kind of comeback. New England’s win ended a three-game playoff losing streak.

In the AFC Championship, the Patriots will meet the Baltimore Ravens, who outlasted a very tough Houston Texans team at M&T Bank Stadium. Houston had their opportunities, but couldn’t seem to get past Ed Reed and the Baltimore defense in the second half. Joe Flacco’s two first-half touchdown passes were enough to help Baltimore advance to their first Conference Championship Game since 2008.

Now that the final four is set and we’re guaranteed a new NFL Super Bowl Champion, who do you think will take it all?

While you’re thinking, check out some of the football cleats worn in the Divisional Round of the playoffs in today’s NFL Watch.

 

NFL Watch: Giants Oust Top-Seeded Packers

Hakeem Nicks wearing Nike Zoom Alpha Talon vs. Green Bay PackersHakeem Nicks scores a touchdown in the Nike Zoom Alpha Talon.

John Kuhn wearing Reebok NFL U-Form 4Speed Mid M4 vs. New York GiantsJohn Kuhn spikes the ball after scoring a touchdown in NFL U-Form 4Speed Mid M4 Reebok football cleats.

Antrel Rolle wearing Nike Zoom Vapor Carbon Fly vs. Green Bay PackersAntrel Rolle happy to be moving on the Nike Zoom Vapor Carbon Fly.

Aaron Rodgers wearing Nike Zoom Vapor Talon vs. New York GiantsA disappointing end to the season for Aaron Rodgers in the Nike Zoom Alpha Talon.

Alex Smith wearing Nike Zoom Hyperfly vs. New Orleans SaintsAlex Smith scrambles for a big fourth quarter touchdown in Zoom Hyperfly Nike football cleats.

Jimmy Graham wearing adidas Malice D vs. San Francisco 49ersJimmy Graham gets a first down for the Saints in the adidas Malice D.

Vernon Davis wearing Under Armour Nitro III Mid vs. New Orleans SaintsVernon Davis scored the game-winning touchdown in the Under Armour Nitro III Mid.

Drew Brees wearing Nike Air Zoom Super Bad 3 vs. San Francisco 49ersDrew Brees ended his historic passing season in the Nike Air Zoom Super Bad 3.

Tim Tebow wearing Nike Zoom Alpha Talon Elite vs. New England PatriotsTim “Tebows” for the last time this season in the upcoming Zoom Alpha Talon Elite Nike football cleats.

Willis McGahee found paydirt in the adidas adiZero 5-Star.

Deion Branch wearing adidas Scorch Thrill Mid vs. Denver BroncosDeion Branch scores in the adidas Scorch Thrill Mid.

Tom Brady wearing Under Armour Football Cleats vs. Denver Broncos

Tom Brady (yes, Tom Brady) punts in Under Armour football cleats.

Ray Lewis wearing Under Armour Fierce III vs. Houston TexansRay Lewis preforms his pre-game dance in Under Armour Fierce III cleats.

Arian Foster wearing Nike Super Speed TD vs. Baltimore RavensArian Foster makes a one-handed grab wearing the Nike Super Speed TD.

Ladarius Webb wearing Nike Vapor Talon Elite Low; Andre Johnson wearing Jordan BCT SpeedLadarius Webb intercepts a pass intended for Texans receiver Andre Johnson, wearing Vapor Talon Elite Low Nike football cleats and Jordan BCT Speed cleats respectively.

images via Yahoo