Green Bay, Wis. -- By upsetting the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, the New York Giants have a chance to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl -- and take care of some unfinished business.
The Giants knocked off the defending Super Bowl champion Packers 37-20 at Lambeau Field to advance to the NFC Championship game against the 49ers this Sunday at Candlestick Park. These same two teams met at the same location in Week 10, and the 49ers notched a 27-20 win.
New York drove to San Francisco's 10-yard line in the final seconds, but 49ers defensive end Justin Smith batted down Eli Manning's fourth-down pass to preserve the win.
"We felt like we could have beat 'em," Giants safety Deon Grant said. "It came down to a few plays here and there, and I have to take my hat off to them because they dialed up the right plays to beat us.
"But we felt like we should have beat them."
New York (11-7) now travels to San Francisco (14-3) for the most improbable of NFC Championship games.
"Everybody wrote us off. They always do that," said Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora, whose team was once 7-7. "So we're just going to keep on fighting ... and hopefully we'll keep things going."
The Giants are in the midst of a four-game winning streak and have the same type of momentum they did in 2007, when they entered the postseason as a No. 5 seed, won three road games, then stunned the previously undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
This season New York had to win its final two regular-season games just to reach the playoffs. The fourth-seeded Giants then thrashed Atlanta 24-2 and then stunned the previously 15-1 Packers.
"I think that we started to believe and trust each other," said Giants coach Tom Coughlin. "Success breeds confidence, and they are a pretty confident group."
The Giants' greatest strides have come in the secondary, a unit that was shredded most of the year and finished 29th in pass defense.
The playoffs have been a different story, though.
On Sunday, the Giants held Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers -- the NFL's probable MVP -- to a passer rating of 78.5. That was Rodgers' lowest rating in a full game since Oct. 31, 2010, a stretch of 25 games.
In the wild-card round one week earlier, Atlanta's Matt Ryan had a paltry passer rating of 71.1.
"We did our job, and I guess that's what pretty much kept (Rodgers) out of sync," Giants cornerback Aaron Ross said of slowing Rodgers. "On the back end we held 'em down, and the front four got after him and put pressure on him."
Much of the Giants' improvement can be traced to the better play of Ross and their safeties.
Offensively, Manning has thrown six postseason touchdowns, just one interception, and has a passer rating of 121.7.
"We're hot right now," Giants tight end Travis Beckum said. "We're very hot, and I think we're a very dangerous team."