The 2011 NFC Championship was the best game of Eli Manning's career.
John Schmeelk: Fiction- I am going to get on my soapbox here. I think the 2011 NFC Championship game is one of the most overrated games of Eli Manning's career. He took a pounding and kept getting back up, but there has to be some measure of production to go along with it. The Giants' offense failed to gain more than 40 yards or drive more than six plays in the second half of the game. The only reasons the Giants scored any points in the second half were because of a fumble and muffed punt by the 49ers. The Giants punted on 10 of 12 possessions in the second half and overtime. Manning threw for 316 yards but it took him 58 pass attempts to get there.
Manning's performance in frigid Green Bay in the 2007 NFC Championship was far more impressive. In horrific conditions, the Giants managed nearly 400 yards of total offense and either scored a touchdown or attempted a field goal on five of their final six drives.
Lance Medow: Fact- Eli Manning's performance the previous week in Green Bay in the Divisional round wasn't too shabby, but it's hard to top the 2011 NFC Championship in San Francisco given all the hits he took on a wet field and the 58 passes he attempted. Eli just kept on battling despite being sacked six times. He finished 32-of-58 for 316 yards and two touchdowns in the 20-17 overtime victory. It may not have been his best statistical performance, but when you combine the numbers with his toughness, nothing surpasses it.
The 2000 NFC Championship was the most dominant postseason performance in franchise history.
John Schmeelk: Fiction- There are two possible answers here - the 41-0 victory over the Minnesota Vikings or 1986 playoff win over San Francisco. The Giants were facing Joe Montana, Bill Walsh, Jerry Rice and the 49ers in the Divisional playoffs on their way to Super Bowl XXI. They dominated the high-powered 49ers, 49-3, cementing the dominance of their defense, especially against a unit that did very well during the 80's.
Lance Medow: Fact- I think the Giants' 49-3 win over the Niners in the 1986 Divisional round deserves some heavy consideration, considering they collected four takeaways (including Lawrence Taylor's 34-yard INT for a second-quarter TD). On top of that, New York scored 42 unanswered points to close out the game. On the other hand, an NFL shutout is quite an accomplishment and to do it in the postseason takes it to another level. The Giants crushed the Vikings in the 2000 NFC Championship, 41-0. New York never let Minnesota settle in as it opened the game with a four-play, 74-yard touchdown drive (capped by Kerry Collins' 46-yard strike to Ike Hilliard) and never looked back. The Giants tallied five takeaways, including three interceptions, and sacked Dante Culpepper four times. The Vikings managed just 114 total yards. It was a dominant performance from start to finish.
The NFC Championship result will be closer than the AFC's outcome on Sunday.
John Schmeelk: Fiction- Despite the Chiefs' explosive offense and Patrick Mahomes' otherworldly ability, Kansas City hasn't won a game by more than six points since Nov. 1st. The Bills are playing some of the best football in the NFL, and their defense has taken serious strides in the second half of the season. The Chiefs finished 16th in total defense this year, while the Bills finished 14th. Josh Allen is playing excellent football and there's no reason to think the Bills won't keep the game extremely close, or even potentially win it. Meanwhile, I think there is a legitimate chance that Aaron Rodgers eats up the Bucs' pass defense in a blowout. I think both games are close, but the AFC matchup should be closer.
Lance Medow: Fiction- Both of these games are rematches from Week 6 of the regular season as the Bucs and Chiefs each won those contests by at least nine points. A lot has changed for all four teams since those meetings, most notably, the Bills' defense and the Bucs' offense. I think both games will be close, but I think the AFC Championship will be a tighter affair. Buffalo was missing key linebacker Matt Milano in the regular season meeting and that along with the Bills making sure they didn't give up many explosive passing plays were big reasons why the Chiefs ran for 245 yards. On the NFC side, the Bucs cruised to a 38-10 regular season win thanks, in part, to Aaron Rodgers throwing two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. How often does Rodgers throw two picks in a game? Well, to put things in perspective, he only had five on the season, so the chances of Tampa Bay duplicating that are pretty slim. Green Bay showcases the No. 1 scoring offense in the NFL and the Packers had no issue solving the Rams' top-scoring defense last week en route to a 32-18 victory. On top of that, the Bucs scored three touchdowns after short fields created by Saints turnovers.
The Super Bowl champion will come from the NFC.
John Schmeelk: Fiction- I think the two best teams remaining in the playoffs are the Bills and Chiefs. The Packers are an excellent team and Aaron Rodgers is having a MVP season, but there's something about the way the Chiefs and Bills are playing that makes me think one of those teams are going to win the Super Bowl. It might also be foolish of me to not even mention the greatest quarterback of all-time in Tom Brady, but Tampa Bay is a notch behind. The Chiefs and Bills are balanced offensively and defensively and their quarterbacks have the ability to make special, off-schedule plays. In the end, that will make the difference.
Lance Medow: Fiction- At this point, unless the Chiefs don't make it to the Super Bowl, it's hard to bet against the defending champs. Last season, the Niners had Kansas City on the ropes for three-plus quarters yet couldn't close things out. I like the Bucs and Packers and think both teams could give the Chiefs trouble, but when you combine Patrick Mahomes' unique style with Andy Reid's aggressive philosophy and Steve Spagnuolo's underrated defense, why should I pick against Kansas City?
Re-live the most memorable moments and images from the first year of the Joe Judge era.