Road-Tested Giants Coming To Green Bay

The Packers and Head Coach Mike McCarthy are thrilled they’ll get to play the NFC Championship game at home. Their opponent, the New York Giants, are the last team that’s going to be bothered by going on the road for a big game. - More Packers-Giants Game Center


The Green Bay Packers and Head Coach Mike McCarthy are thrilled they'll get to play the NFC Championship game at home, within the friendly confines of Lambeau Field.

Their opponent, the New York Giants, are the last team that's going to be bothered by going on the road for a big game.

The Giants (12-6) upset top-seeded Dallas in an NFC Divisional playoff game on Sunday, 21-17, to earn a trip to Lambeau next Sunday, Jan. 20, with a berth in the Super Bowl on the line (5:42 p.m. CT kickoff).

The win over the Cowboys was New York's ninth consecutive road win, including two in the postseason. The Giants' opened with a road loss at Dallas before winning seven straight road contests in the regular season, including one in London. Then they beat the Buccaneers, 24-14, in Tampa in an NFC Wild Card game last weekend before avenging two regular-season losses to the Cowboys with their tight victory this weekend.

Green Bay Head Coach Mike McCarthy has fashioned his own level of success on the road, going 11-5 away from Lambeau in his two seasons, so he can certainly appreciate the Giants' accomplishments in hostile environments this season.

"You have to respect the fact that they went into Dallas and they went into Tampa Bay in a playoff atmosphere and won those games," McCarthy said in his press conference on Sunday. "It's a credit to their players, their coaching staff, the ability to focus and get over the hurdles that road games do present to you, and that's why they're playing in the NFC Championship game. It's going to be two very good football teams battling to go the Super Bowl."

The Packers notched their first road win this season over the Giants in East Rutherford, N.J. The 35-13 triumph began a streak of five straight road wins for Green Bay in 2007, a string that stretched to seven games dating back to the final two road games of 2006.

The Giants team that comes to Green Bay this week is vastly different from the one that played the Packers in Week 2, though.

Quarterback Eli Manning was coming off a shoulder injury in Week 1 and wasn't 100 percent. The team's top running backs now are Brandon Jacobs and rookie Ahmad Bradshaw, neither of whom carried the ball against the Packers back in September. New York's feature back then, Derrick Ward, is on injured reserve. Jeremy Shockey, a key passing target for Manning who caught five passes for 60 yards in the Week 2 meeting, is also out for the season with an injury, replaced by rookie Kevin Boss. And the defense, which was playing just its second game with new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, has given up more than 22 points just once in its last seven games, and that was to undefeated New England.

But the Packers will look a little different to the Giants as well. Ryan Grant caught his first pass with Green Bay in that Sept. 16 game but was still seven weeks away from becoming the starting halfback. And Brett Favre threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns that day despite the absence of Greg Jennings, who was out with a hamstring injury but now has 14 touchdown catches in the regular season and playoffs combined.

{sportsad300}"A lot's happened since Week 2," McCarthy said.

How about in the last 11 years. That's how long it's been since the Packers hosted an NFC Championship. Their 30-13 victory over the Carolina Panthers, who coincidentally had knocked off the Dallas Cowboys in their Divisional playoff game, in the 1996 postseason sent Green Bay on to the eventual Super Bowl XXXI title.

The Packers got here with a convincing 42-20 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday that included a quick comeback from an early 14-0 deficit. Then they watched Sunday as New York's R.W. McQuarters intercepted Dallas quarterback Tony Romo in the end zone with nine seconds left to preserve the Giants' 21-17 upset.

"To have the NFC Championship game at Lambeau Field I think is just wonderful for the Green Bay community, for our fans, especially after our fans' performance yesterday," McCarthy said. "Just to bring the game here is really the excitement that we're all feeling right now."

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