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Momentum on Giants’ side

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Tom Rock
January 17, 2012
— The Giants are so close to the Super Bowl, they may think they’re facing the XLIXers on Sunday.

Before they go all Roman numerals, they’ll have to get past San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game. Having already sunk the top seed in the conference gives a team that was already riding a crest of confidence even more of it as they begin to recognize that they are one win away from Indianapolis.


“We’re not going to be denied,” safety Antrel Rolle said Monday.


At first, Rolle shied away from calling the Giants “unbeatable,” but it took less than five seconds for him to abandon that kind of false modesty.


“Our mind-set is extreme at this point,” he said. “We’re not going to be denied, that’s our mind-set. I might be a little biased, but in our minds, we can’t be beat and that’s the approach we’re taking.


“We have one goal in mind, which is to win a championship.”


The Giants have won four straight games, all of them virtual or actual do-or-die, and it’s their longest winning streak of the season. After a season of close contests, their last four have been decided by an average of 17.8 points, none of them by less than two touchdowns.


“We’re riding on a lot of momentum, a lot of confidence, and it’s great to play with that,” receiver Victor Cruz said. “We’re a scary team right now because of the confidence that we’re playing with and the amount of integrity and passion we’re playing with.”


Before they begin breaking down Tom Brady or video on Joe Flacco, they have to complete the formality of beating the 49ers. But even that task


isn’t as hard as it could have been.


“Just coming from our schedule and how it turned out, how we played against New Orleans and how we played against San Fran,” Cruz said, “it definitely works out in our favor a little bit ... just because of how we feel about them and we understand that we have a good chance of winning that game.”


The Giants lost, 49-24, to the Saints in New Orleans on Nov. 28. Two weeks before that, they played the 49ers at Candlestick Park. They lost, 27-20, and were driving for the tying touchdown in the final minute.


“We were able to move the ball pretty efficiently that game, we were going up and down, we had a few turnovers, unfortunately, early on,” Cruz said. “We felt like we did some positive things and we basically controlled a lot of that game and we’re looking to repeat that again.”


The Giants did have a tremendous statistical advantage, outgaining the 49ers 395 yards to 305 and winning the time of possession (34:37). They also held a team that was averaging 137.6 rushing yards to only 77.


“We understood that they were a team that we could potentially see again, and we wanted to see again in this situation,” Cruz said.


It will be the second consecutive week the Giants draw some inspiration—and perhaps some know ledge—by facing a team they lost to in the regular season. Cruz did say the 49ers were one of the two toughest defenses the Giants faced all year.


Watching the Saints play the 49ers in a 36-32 shootout Saturday also gave the Giants confidence going into the game.


“Anytime you see a team throw for a bunch of yards against that defense, it opens our eyes a little bit,” Cruz said. “We understand that if we can have those same opportunities—and we’ll watch film and see where their weaknesses are and where we can take advantage of them—it’ll be a huge day for us, as well.”


So huge, it could even be considered … Super.



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