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Giants plan to Pack 2nd dose of revenge


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Giants plan to Pack 2nd dose of revenge



Tuesday, January 15th 2008



Michael Strahan and the Giants got their revenge against the Cowboys on Sunday


At the end of every game they lost this season, the Giants were left with the same empty feeling. They were sure they were the better team, and they craved another chance to prove it.


"It's unbelievable," Amani Toomer said. "When you walk off the field, you always think, ‘Man, I wish we could play these guys again.' And we got two opportunities."


It was rare enough that they got the chance to turn the tables on the Cowboys on Sunday afternoon. But as soon as they did, the Giants' Revenge Tour turned its attention to the Green Bay Packers, who spanked the Giants, 35-13, in Week 2. They'll get a second shot at the Packers on Sunday night at frigid Lambeau Field, when they play in the NFC Championship Game.


And for the Giants (12-6), it's more than just a chance to continue their improbable run toward the Super Bowl. It's a chance to prove they're a better team than they were when they started the season 0-2.


"Especially as a defense," said linebacker Kawika Mitchell. "Giving up 80 points in the first two weeks was embarrassing. We didn't do a decent job against Green Bay and they scored 35 points. So it's a great challenge for us."


"I don't think we played our best game (against the Packers)," Toomer added. "They're not going to face the team they faced in Week 2."


That 0-2 start still stings the Giants, especially considering they were a goal-line stand in Washington away from making it 0-3. They gave up 80 points and 846 yards to the Cowboys and Packers in those two games, their worst back-to-back totals in 41 years. Tom Coughlin's normally hot seat was suddenly on fire. And the Giants heard from everywhere how they looked to be one of the worst teams in the league.


Then, even after they rebounded to go 10-6, make the playoffs and win a first-round game, they still had to hear how they had beaten nobody of consequence, and how they were 0-4 against the NFL's elite teams (the Cowboys, Packers and Patriots).


By beating the Cowboys, 21-17, in Dallas Sunday, they may have proven they're an elite team, too.


But there is still another wrong to right, which they can do against Brett Favre and the Packers on Sunday. In the first meeting, the Giants trailed only 14-13 entering the fourth quarter before the Packers exploded for 21 unanswered points. Favre was brilliant, completing 29 of 38 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns. Eli Manning battled gamely through a bad shoulder he had injured in the opener, but he couldn't keep up (16-for-29, 211 yards, one touchdown, one interception).


When it was over, Coughlin said, "I think we're a better football team than we showed." It took awhile before the Giants offered any proof.


"We've been a good team all season long," said center Shaun O'Hara. "The games that we really lost, I think the theme coming out of those losses was that we played bad football. We committed penalties. We committed turnovers.


"So it's not so much that we're a better team, but we're just playing better football."


"It's been an up and down season for us," added defensive tackle Justin Tuck. "But right now we're playing our best football."


That's certainly true of a defense that stuffed the Cowboys on Sunday, holding them to 141 second-half yards. Now they get Favre, coming off a three-touchdown performance against the Seahawks, on a cold, snowy day.


Beating the Packers (14-3) at Lambeau might turn out to be the Giants' toughest task, even for a team that's won a record nine straight on the road.


"If you're not a believer now, please don't become one," said Antonio Pierce. "Stay exactly how you've been the whole season, and don't change."


"We'll be an underdog and be (called) the worst team in NFC Championship Game history," added guard Chris Snee. "We'll be happy about it. We'll be underdogs and we'll fight to the end."

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