Fans gear up for Giants' playoff showdown at Green Bay
Riding high after trouncing Atlanta last weekend, the Giants take on the fearsome Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday in a galvanizing playoff game that has many fans more energized than they've been in years.
Following up their midseason collapse with a three-game winning streak - including a 24-2 demolishment of the Falcons in last week's wild-card game - Eli Manning and the G-Men have inspired some diehard fans to make the trek to Wisconsin to see the game themselves.
"I think this game sums up the team's story of resilience. Despite all the injuries, despite all the criticism ... we've been able to come up strong," said Ankit Munjapara, 23, who is driving to Wisconsin to see the game with three of his friends.
Adam Aleksiuk, 22, will be in the car with Munjapara. He said that his confidence in the team is peaking.
"We still are that big underdog in the game going into Lambeau," Aleksiuk said, "but the team is playing better than they ever have, and we're exponentially better than the last time" the Giants played the Packers.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is feeling a win, too. In a wager between him and Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt, the losing mayor must send the winner local delicacies.
Experts are more cautious about the Giants' chances against the immensely talented Packers.
"When you realize that you're walking into the house of a 15-1 team that's the defending Super Bowl champion, you can't really be stunned if you walk out losing that game," said Ed Valentine of the Giants blog BigBlueView.com.
Valentine added, however, that there is much reason for hope.
"Nobody expected them to dominate the Falcons like they did, so you have to feel good about the way they're playing," he said.
For fans who bleed blue, doubt is never an option.
"The team looks better than at any point this year," said Tim Irvin, 25, a diehard who is flying out with his father to attend the game. "I can't even imagine what a win will feel like. This was a team on the verge of collapse, so for us to win at Lambeau would be just unreal."
Follow reporter Tim Herrera on Twitter: @tim_herrera