Giants' hot streak could propel them to victory over the Falcons
After recovering from a midseason collapse, the Giants enter Sunday's wild-card game playing arguably their best football of the season.
The G-Men (9-7) will take on the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium in their first playoff game since the 2008 season, and despite the team's roller-coaster year, die-hard fans are predicting a victory.
"I think they look great right now," said season-ticket holder J.D. Durkin, 24, of Astoria. "There's a lot of confidence coming off the last month the season."
"The last couple of years have been kind of transitional ... so a win this weekend would mean a lot," Durkin added.
"All the city's focus is on the team, and it would be huge."
David Thalberg, 46, of the Upper West Side, and also a season-ticket holder, added that Eli Manning this season has cemented his place among the upper echelon of quarterbacks.
"Eli Manning has proved that he's one of the elite QBs in the league," Thalberg said. "Eli's a leader out there, and he can win a game when he needs to."
Manning and the Giants - who lost five of six games during one stretch - trounced the Jets and the Cowboys in the final two weeks of the season to reach the playoffs. Some experts say the team is peaking at the right time.
"I think they're looking fantastic," said Bobby Blackjack of Talking Football Live on Mix 1620-AM in northern New Jersey. "They've basically been playing playoff games for the past two weeks ... and they're really on top of their game right now."
Blackjack added: "People are pumped up like they were during that  Super Bowl run. You can just feel the vibe and energy."
Still, victory is anything but assured against the Falcons (10-6). And even if the Giants pull out a win, they'll face either Green Bay (15-1) or San Francisco (13-3).
But for the true Big Blue diehards, hopes have never been higher.
"Giants fans care about this team," Thalberg said. "It's that simple. I'm counting on a raucous train ride home after the game."
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Follow reporter Tim Herrera on Twitter: @tim_herrera