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History Class Gives Way to 2012 Packers and Giants

It's been nice thinking about 2008, but 2012 is all that matters now.

By Josh Alper
|  Sunday, Jan 15, 2012  |  Updated 12:23 PM EDT
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The Giants take on the Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoff Sunday -- the last time both teams came face-to-face was in December, when the Packers defeated Big Blue 38 to 35. Now it's time for a little payback, and their road to redemption began Saturday when the team flew out to Wisconsin. That's where we find Bruce Beck with more.

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The Giants take on the Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoff Sunday -- the last time both teams came face-to-face was in December, when the Packers defeated Big Blue 38 to 35. Now it's time for a little payback, and their road to redemption began Saturday when the team flew out to Wisconsin. That's where we find Bruce Beck with more.

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The references to the Giants' last playoff visit to Lambeau Field have been flying fast and furious all week, but they hit their apex (or nadir, depending on your point of view) with Friday's back cover of the Post.

It's a photoshopped shot of Eli Manning on a facsimile of Sylvester Stallone's body, holding a machine gun next to a headline of "Rambeau II." 

According to the Post, Eli drew "first blood in 2008" and now he's going back to finish the job.

Funny stuff, but the continual allusions to that 2008 game at Lambeau Field and the overarching theme of a sequel to that Super Bowl run have worn pretty thin over the course of the last week. There are several reasons for that, not the least of them is the way people refer to the 38-35 loss to the Packers last month as some kind of clarion call for a better Giants tomorrow.

In the three weeks after that game, the Giants lost once and played inconsistent games against the Cowboys and Jets.

They've played awfully well in the last two weeks, but it seems odd that a win credited with propelling them on a run to the Lombardi Trophy would take three full weeks to come to fruition.

Beyond that, the whole idea of using the results of a game played between two drastically different teams four years ago as anything other than a "Hey, remember that time the Giants beat the Packers" moment with friends is really hard to take seriously.

After all, if you want to take history into account, you really need to remember that the Giants went into Lambeau Field with everything on the line last season and got run out of the stadium by the Packers.

Since that team had Aaron Rodgers and not a Wrangler spokesman playing quarterback, it seems to have a lot more to do with a discussion of this game than the one that worked out for the Giants. So does that 38-35 game, for that matter, and only the fact that the Giants lost those two games explains why people are choosing to ignore them for the fairly distant past.

This isn't an argument that the Giants don't have a chance to win on Sunday because they have a pretty fair shot at pulling off the upset.

If you're dead set on using that other playoff game as a reference, Eli Manning is a much better quarterback this time and Manning at his best is capable of beating just about any team you put in front of him.

No, the point of bringing up these other games is simply to point out the mountain that stands in front of the Giants on Sunday afternoon.

Even the most blue-dyed fans have to admit that the Packers are a superior team, which makes beating them on their home field a very tall order unless everything breaks your way.

For starters, it would help if Hakeem Nicks dominates the way Plaxico Burress dominated way back when and Victor Cruz shows Wisconsin how to salsa. If Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck batter Rodgers and force him into the turnovers he's avoided for the vast majority of the season, winning would be much easier.

Do that, while also avoiding turnovers, special teams mistakes and costly penalties, and the Giants are going to be in business.

You'll likely notice that these are a bunch of things that have to happen all at once, but it is going to take something close to that for the Giants to keep their season alive on Sunday afternoon.

Not impossible by any means, but living in the here and now gives a far different view of what this game looks like than it does if you're viewing it through sunglasses commemorating a bygone Super Bowl title.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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