The Green Bay Packers came into their NFC Divisional Round game at Lambeau Field with the NFL's best record and the league's hottest quarterback. And the New York Giants left the game with a 37-20 win that seemed more like a dominant team asserting itself than an upset.
The Giants never trailed, building 10-3, 20-10, and 30-13 leads on their way to the final margin, and got great play from all phases in beating a Green Bay team that had topped them 38-35 earlier in the season. Eli Manning threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns — two to Hakeem Nicks, who hauled in a Hail Mary at the end of the first half on the way to a great seven-catch, 165-yard performance — and the Giants' defense harassed Aaron Rodgers and preyed on Packers ball carriers, sacking the quarterback four times and forcing three fumbles.
The Giants were so good, in fact, that a rare Rodgers interception in the fourth quarter was merely icing on the cake, and a number of controversial calls that went against them still didn't prevent them from handing the Packers their largest loss since a 51-29 defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Saints in 2008.
Rodgers threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for another 66 yards to lead the Packers, but missed on 20 throws; that's the second-most incompletions in a single game in his NFL career. No Green Bay receiver had more yards than Donald Driver's 45, and Packers dropped pass after pass, compounding Rodgers' lack of game-changing plays.
With the win, the Giants will move on to the 2012 NFC Championship Game and travel to San Francisco to meet the 49ers. The Packers fall to 15-2 on the year, and their dream of repeating as Super Bowl champions has been dashed.
For updates and analysis on these teams leading up to their matchup, visit Packers blog Acme Packing Company, Giants blog Big Blue View and SB Nation New York. Don't forget to check out SB Nation's NFL hub for all your playoff news.