The most impressive postseason run in franchise history is 2007.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - I am not taking anything away from the Giants postseason runs in 1986 and 1990 when they beat Joe Montana-led San Francisco 49ers teams, but I have to go with 2007. The Giants beat what was one of the best teams in NFL history in the Super Bowl, the 18-0 New England Patriots, who finished with a point differential of +315 in the 2007 regular season. They were as dominant a team as I have ever seen. In the NFC Championship Game, the Giants beat a Packers (13-3, 2nd seed) team led by Brett Favre in sub-zero conditions. In the Divisional Round, they beat the top-seeded 13-3 Dallas Cowboys on the road. It is hard to imagine a tougher route than that after beating the 9-7 Bucs in Tampa in the wild card round.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - While 2007 had all the drama, 1986 was just sheer physical domination. And that is what the game is all about. They gave up 23 points in three games combined, knocking out Joe Montana and John Elway along the way. Neither Hall of Famer finished their respective game against the Giants -- Montana because of Jim Burt’s hit and Elway because Super Bowl XXI just got out of reach. In the middle was a 17-0 victory over the rival Redskins. Pretty impressive stuff.
LANCE MEDOW: Fact - In 1986 and 1990, the Giants were first and second seeds, respectively, and won at least 13 games in each season, so I don’t think those postseason runs were that surprising. In both of those seasons, there also wasn’t nearly as much parity in the league as there is today. That’s why the 2007 or 2011 postseason runs have to top the list. Given the Giants entered the 2007 playoffs as a wild card and won three games on the road before eventually spoiling the Patriots’ perfect season, I don’t see how you can argue the 2011 postseason run was more impressive. The Giants won the NFC East in 2011, so they hosted their first round playoff game and although they once again defeated the Patriots, the first time you accomplish that feat is always far more notable than the second time around. Plus, in 2011, New England wasn’t chasing a perfect season.
The most memorable Divisional Round playoff game in Giants history is their victory over the 49ers en route to Super Bowl XXI.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - As impressive as the win at the top-seeded Cowboys was in 2007, this game takes the cake. It wasn’t that they beat the 49ers, it was how they got there. The Giants dominated San Francisco in every way, shape and form on their way to a 49-3 victory. Joe Montana was held to only 98 passing yards and threw two interceptions. It was one of the most dominant defensive performances in playoff history.
DAN SALOMONE: Fact - Don Sperling, head of production here at the Giants, likes to rip our age when we write about the good old days of the New York Football Giants. True, I was born a month after the game, but you don’t need wooden teeth to know the importance of George Washington. The most lopsided postseason victory in franchise victory was against Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Roger Craig and Dwight Clark. Just think about that.
LANCE MEDOW: Fiction - A 49-3 victory over the Niners is certainly impressive given how highly contested previous and future meetings between the teams played out, but in the 1986 season, the Giants were the top seed in the NFC and had beaten San Francisco, 21-17, on the road in Week 13. The Giants were the favorite based on the regular season resumes. In 2011, the Giants knocked off the top-seeded Packers, 37-20, at Lambeau Field. Green Bay entered that game with a 15-1 record and had topped the Giants, 38-35, in Week 13 on the road. The Packers also were one of the best teams in the league in protecting the ball, yet they turned it over four times. On top of that, the Giants pulled off one of their most impressive plays in postseason history as Eli Manning connected with Hakeem Nicks on a Hail Mary touchdown pass right before the end of the first half.
Of the four teams still alive in the playoffs that the Giants faced this season, the Saints have the best path to the Super Bowl.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - The Saints are the only one of the four Giants opponents who have home field advantage. Playing in the Superdome gives the Saints a huge advantage. They also have a proven playoff coach in Sean Payton, a Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees, an excellent offensive line, and elite playmakers like Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. The Saints defense has played much better the second half of the season. They have to be the favorites to make the Super Bowl out of the NFC. Asking the Eagles or Colts to win two straight road games is asking a lot, and asking Dallas to beat the Rams and then go into New Orleans and beat the Saints for a second time in the same year is a big ask as well.
DAN SALOMONE: Fact - Drew Brees, the NFL’s all-time passing leader, is 5-0 in postseason games at Mercedes-Benz Superdome, where they have home-field advantage as the No. 1 seed. But even if they played at Mercedes-Benz headquarters in Germany, it’s still the Saints. They are simply the best team with a defense to complement the offensive attack.
LANCE MEDOW: Fact - The Saints are the only Giants’ opponent this season that has home-field advantage throughout the remainder of the playoffs. Their opponent this week, Philadelphia, is a wild card, and the Colts and Cowboys have to travel to Kansas City and Los Angeles, respectively, so geography alone gives New Orleans a huge edge. The Saints won’t have to get on an airplane until the Super Bowl; the Giants’ three other opponents don’t have that luxury. The Colts and Chargers could potentially have to knock off the Chiefs and Patriots on the road, and the Cowboys might have to solve the top two seeds in the NFC in the Rams and Saints. I don’t think any of those paths come close to resembling what New Orleans’ road looks like.
The NFC East was underrated this season.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - SLAM: I don’t like questions like this because I’m not really sure how the majority of people viewed the NFC East. I heard NFC Least jokes at midseason, so I went with fact. The Cowboys are probably the third best team in the conference since adding Amari Cooper. The Eagles, the defending Super Bowl Champion, put it together at the end of the season. The Redskins fell apart after the Alex Smith injury. The Giants went 4-4 in the second half of the season. The NFC East wasn’t the best division in football, but it has two teams still alive in the playoffs, so it wasn’t one of the bottom few either.
DAN SALOMONE: Fact - Not only did the division send two teams to the postseason, but they also won their first-round games. That was unfathomable to people when the Cowboys started 3-5 and the Eagles were 4-6 at their low point. It just goes to show you how dramatically the NFL landscape shifts week to week, let alone season to season. Even the Giants were still alive into mid-December after a 1-7 start.
LANCE MEDOW: Fact - In the wake of the Cowboys and Eagles both making the playoffs, most treated that as a stunning development given the struggles of most of the teams in the division. But when you look at things from a big picture perspective, just about every team got off to a slow start. The Cowboys began the season 3-5 before winning seven of their final eight games, the Eagles started 4-6 and then won five of their final six contests to claim the final wild card spot, and the Redskins jumped out to a 6-3 record before cooling off, mainly due to injuries at quarterback and on the offensive line. That’s a big reason why they lost six of their final seven games. It wasn’t because they were overrated. How many teams can sustain a strong record when they’re down to their fourth string quarterback who wasn’t even with the team during training camp and third string offensive linemen? The NFC East had a great deal of substance. It just took some time for the Cowboys and Eagles to hit their strides and, to a certain degree, the Giants.