QB Eli Manning
Q: What does this win do for you moving forward?A: It's a big win and obviously going against a great team – talented on both sides of the football. Their offense had a great year. Their defense did outstanding. Stopping them, getting turnovers and then offensively we did well on third down, hitting some big plays and not giving them turnovers. They've been great at getting turnovers all season. We gave them one, but played smart football on both sides of the ball and found a way to win.
Q: How gratifying was the success the team had on third down?A: That's big. Obviously that's extending drives. That's giving us opportunities to make big plays. Early on, from the first series, we had a couple big third-and-long conversions. The second series, we had a third-and-long conversion where I hit Hakeem. The next play I throw an in-cut to Hakeem. He breaks a tackle and scores a touchdown. Giving yourself an extra three plays – that's big for us. We know offensively that the more plays we get the more opportunities we're going to have to hit some big plays and get some touchdowns.
Q: What's it like to get another shot at San Francisco in the NFC Championship?A: We're excited. It's a big game and they're playing great football. We know what to expect with them. They're very a sound team. They're very good. They have good players. They play with great energy. Their secondary has good players in it. They're good all around. They play smart football. Their offense doesn't turn the ball over. They run the ball. Alex Smith is playing well. We know we're going to have to play that same way. We're going to have to play smart. Offensively, we're going to have to be very consistent. Everybody is going to know their assignments. It's just about execution.
Q: How much fun is it to see the confidence building?A: It's fun when you're playing good football, when everybody is executing, when the team is playing well together. And that's both sides of the ball. Offense doing our part – scoring points, third down conversions, making big plays. Defensively, they're getting after the quarterback, they're getting stops. When things are clicking as a team it's a great feeling.
Q: Is revenge a factor this week or is just the fact that it's the NFC Championship game enough?A: This is about the NFC Championship. It's an opportunity to get this win and go on to the Super Bowl. We played them once before. We know they're a good team. There's no denying that. They're playing great football. They're playing with great confidence. It's going to be exciting going out there and having another shot and seeing what we can do.
Q: How do the 49er linebackers stack up?A: [They're] about as good as they get. I don't know if there is a better corps in the NFL with their 3-4 scheme and Patrick Willis and Bowman and their outside backers. They're talented. Their front seven is as good as you can face in the NFL. And their secondary is talented as well. They're solid. They don't have many weaknesses on defense. It's just going to come down to execution and everybody doing their assignments.
Q: You're one game away from the Super Bowl. That's another notch up from a playoff game isn't it?A: Definitely. This is exciting. This is where you want to be. We always talk about finishing and playing your best football at the end of the season. That's what we're doing now. We're playing great football on both sides of the ball. We have to continue to do that. We're playing smart. We can't turn the ball over. Hopefully our defense can continue to get some turnovers for us and continue to play well. If we're going to continue this thing, it's going to take both sides of the ball playing to the best of their ability.
**LB Michael Boley
Q: Does the fact that you lost to San Francisco earlier in the season enter into your mind?**A: They're just in the way of where we want to be. Obviously, that's the Super Bowl.
Q: Do you enjoy the road warrior mentality?A: No doubt. There's nothing like going into a stadium and what's left of the fans at the end of the game is your fans. There's nothing like it.
Q: Is there more to it than the Giants just being the healthiest they have been all season?A: It's just a different mindset from what we were several weeks ago. The way we approach things, everything is different.
Q: What is the mindset of this team?A: Never quit. We have to finish what we started. We started the season on a good note. It's not how you start, it's how you finish. That's been one of the things that Tom has said to us from day one, as soon as we stepped in here for training camp. Finish, make sure we finish everything we do.
Q: Was there a game that things started to come together?A: I think it was the Green Bay game, the first Green Bay game. When guys walked off that field. In losses before that, not much was said, heads were hanging a little bit. But after that game, guys were coming in the locker room with something to look forward to. We played hard in that game. We didn't get the win, but there was a lot left out there.
**WR Victor Cruz
Q: How proud are you of the win against the Packers?**A: Of course, any time you go on the road against a tough opponent, a team that has gone 15-1 and you go in there and play as well as we did and do all the positive things we set out to do, it's something we're very proud of and we're looking to continue that trend.
Q: How much of a motivating factor is it that you lost to San Francisco earlier in the season?A: It's very motivating. We understand that game came down to the wire and we were one play away from potentially winning that ballgame. It's a little sweet to go out there and play a team that we've already played and know that we've fought tooth-and-nail with. Hopefully it doesn't come down to the wire, hopefully we can win the game pretty well. As long as we can execute and do all the things we know how to do, we'll be okay.
Q: Chris Canty recently said that this time of year is all about the guys in the locker room and your teammates, is that true?A: Most definitely, it's all about the moments you spend with the guys and understanding we can do something special. The guys we share it with, the guys on this team have been phenomenal all year. We understand this is a special time for us and we have to take advantage of it and soak in all the time and be ready to play this upcoming weekend.
Q: How important is the momentum the team is riding right now?A: We are riding a lot of momentum, a lot of confidence. It's great to play with that. We're a scary team right now because of the confidence we're playing with and the amount of integrity and amount of passion we are playing with right now. At every position, not just Eli or myself or the defense. Everyone is playing with that same confidence and intensity. We are a scary team right now.
Q: Do you feel unstoppable?A: That's a tricky word, but in a sense we do feel like, if we're playing like we've been playing, if we're executing at a high level the way we've been playing, we're a tough team to stop.
Q: How is your injury?A: I am pretty good, I just got a little helmet to the thigh, but it's nothing a little ice can't heal.
Q: What do you take with you from the first game against the 49ersA: Just the fact that 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 in that game. We felt like we did some positive things. We basically controlled a lot of that game. We're looking to repeat that.
Q: Were you hoping to see them again at some point?A: We understood that they were a team we could potentially see again and that we wanted to see again in this situation. We got what we asked for.
Q: What does it say that you only need one more win to make it to the Super BowlA: It says a lot. We had to battle through a lot of injuries early on this year and a lot of question marks in the receivers' room early on as well. Just to overcome that and for guys to shine and step up and play well has been tremendous for our confidence. We've been building off that ever since.
**C David Baas
Q: What are your recollections of your first game against the 49ers?**A: We know they are a tough, physical group, but we are, too. They like to stop the run. That's something we have to establish. It's going to be a challenge, but we're up for it. We're confident; we know what type of team we are. I'm glad to have the opportunity to go back out there. Like I said before, I'm glad to be a part of the New York Giants and excited for what this team is all about. Our confidence is running high, I can't wait.
Q: How wild is this for you after spending most of your career with the 49ers?A: It's great. It's awesome for them, but I'm a New York Giant. I want to focus on the New York Giants. I really feel like we have something special here. I think our confidence is really high. It's something great and we have a great opportunity to go out and prove ourselves once again. We just have to come out here and have a great week of practice and keep working hard at practice and doing the things we've been doing to be successful.
Q: Have you spoken to any of your former teammates?A: Of course. Believe me, we're all excited to meet up again and have this chance to do it one more time.
Q: How has Alex Smith progressed?A: With Alex, I've always believed he's had it in him. He just needed a lot more guys to believe in him. I feel like he's gotten that and I feel like their approach with him, just being one of the guys, one of the teammates, trying not to do too much, has really worked for him. Like I said, congratulations to them, I know they're having really good success out there, but to be honest, I'm worried about the New York Giants and our team here and how we're going to prepare our game plan and what we're going to do when we play.
**Safety Antrel Rolle
Q: How much better can this defense play after what you did to the Packers?**A: I think we played a pretty good game all around – offensively, defensively and special teams. But I think it could definitely get better. We're never going to be complacent. We're always going to be striving for bigger and brighter goals.
Q: How much better is it to see a team a second time? It worked for you yesterday.A: I don't think it had anything to do with us seeing a team a second time. I think it was just more of a mindset that we had and the preparation that we've been going through throughout the week. Ever since the [Jets] game we've been all on deck, guys have been in tune with what's going on here, what's at stake. That had the most to do with anything.
Q: Did anything surprise you about your team yesterday?A: To be honest with you, nothing at all. Like I said, the game is won throughout the week. We had a phenomenal week of practice. Guys were in tune. Our scout team guys do an exceptional job of getting us ready throughout the week. I think I give my best work at practice, to be honest with you. I tell those guys week-in and week-out, 'Thank you for all that you contribute' because they make my Sundays a whole lot easier.
Q: What is the mindset of the team right now?A: We're not going to be denied at this point. We understand what we have as a team. It's not all about talent. It's about chemistry. We're gelling at this point. Coaches and players are on the same page at the same time. We have one goal in mind, which is to win the championship.
Q: Do you guys feel unstoppable?A: We wouldn't say we're unstoppable, but our mindset is extreme at this point. We're not going to be denied. That's our mindset. I might be a little biased, but in our minds we can't be beat. That's the approach we're taking week-in and week-out.
Q: Does this run feel different than the one you made with the Cardinals?A: Absolutely. This run feels different – more of the fact that this is what I expect from this team. I've always expected greatness from this team although we didn't do it week-in and week-out throughout the season. But that doesn't matter. What matters is that we're here and we're striving and we're fighting to get better each and every week.
Q: This is what you expected? The ride just didn't go the way you wanted it to go.A: The ride didn't go the way you wanted it to go, but we did what we set out to do this season, which is to win our division and have a chance to play in the postseason. We granted ourselves that wish and we've been playing great ball. We can't take anything from ourselves. We can always get better. We're going to continue to get better and raise it up a notch come this Sunday.
WR Hakeem Nicks
Q: It was impressive that you jumped that high on the Hail Mary pass considering your hamstring injury.A: Yeah, I took it back to my basketball days. I went up and got the ball.
Q: You practice that every Saturday, how many times have you caught it on a Saturday?A: We never actually threw it.
Q: You never threw it on a Saturday?A: No, we never throw it. We just practice the spots, the landmarks that we have to get to. It was just a matter of me going up to get the ball.
Q: Did you ever catch a Hail Mary before?A: No, [that was my] first time.
Q: Does that catch rank as your best ever?A: It's probably one of the top ones. In a game-time situation like that, I rank it as one of the top.
Q: How many messages and texts did you have last night after the game?A: I just changed my phone number, actually right before the game. So it was just family.
Q: Have you always worn gloves?A: I didn't start wearing gloves until I got to college.
Q: It's never bothered you?A: No, it's never bothered me.
Q: How important was it for you to bounce back after dropping some balls a couple of weeks ago?A: Like I said, it's all about how you respond to certain situations like that. It was good to be around the team like this, to lift you up in times when you're down, but it's just a matter of bouncing back and being strong and being able to get through it mentally.
Q: Were you down after that?A: No, I wasn't down at all. I know what I'm capable of doing. Things happen.
Q: When you saw the Saints throw for over 400 yards against the 49ers, does that open your eyes about what you guys can do?A: We know what we're capable of doing. We've seen this team before. It was a physical game last time, down to the wire. It's something that we're looking forward to this week.