Giants: Blue thinking big

Eli Manning and the Giants have been very confident heading into Sunday's NFC Championship game.

Teams shouldn’t need extra motivation at this point of the NFL playoffs, but leave it to loquacious Giants safety Antrel Rolle to find something to spur him on.   

While he’s always looking for slights so he can use them as an extra emotional edge, Rolle acknowledged he found one in a seemingly innocuous statement soon after the Giants took down the defending champion Packers.     

The veteran safety took umbrage with Niners tight end Vernon Davis saying he preferred that his second-seeded squad face the fourth-seeded Giants at home Sunday in the NFC Championship game, instead of having his team go to Green Bay and face the top-ranked Packers. Davis, who was openly rooting for the Giants to upset the Packers, said he meant no disrespect as he simply wanted to have a chance of having home-field advantage in the penultimate game.       

Rolle took offense though, and said he was actually happy for the perceived slight.      

“If he said that, I can only hope that he was saying that just because they wanted to get a home game,” said Rolle. “You know, they better be careful for what they ask for because their wish has been granted and we will see those boys come Sunday. … Our mindset is extreme at this point. I might be a little biased, but in our minds we can’t be beat. That’s the approach we’re taking.”      

Davis, who caught the game-winning touchdown to stun the Saints last Saturday, tried to downplay the brewing controversy. He said he wasn’t disregarding Big Blue, but added he’s not backing down from his comment either.    

“Yeah, I prayed [when] the Giants won,” Davis said. “But they’re a good team. I didn’t pray because they were the worse team. They’re a good team and I acknowledge that. They’re the hardest game ever when they come up here. They have a good team offensively and defensively. This week we’ll prepare like we did last week, and we’ll approach this, I guess, [like it’s] the end of the world.”
        ?
Rolle is as feisty as they come and said he can’t wait to show the Niners what Giants football is all about. He then added there’s just a special feeling within the locker room right now. Rolle wasn’t on the 2007 Super Bowl team, but has Super Bowl experience as a member of the Cardinals (2008) and is confident that destiny is playing a huge part in this current run.      

“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,” Rolle said. “Coaches and players are on the same page at the same time. We have one goal in mind, which is to win the championship.”    

It’s almost inarguable that anyone on Big Blue has a bigger chip on his shoulder than Rolle, but that doesn’t preclude others from having the same amount of confidence and gumption as they prepare for San Francisco.     

“In a sense we do feel like it,” Cruz said when asked if he feels like his team is unstoppable. “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. … 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.”     

Though they are happy to get the rematch, to a man, revenge isn’t on their minds. But each player that was asked about facing the 49ers again said having played them before — and losing to them — helps the team hone in on assignments even better.   

But in the end, the players said the 49ers don’t represent a rematch, rather the next obstacle.         

“Doesn’t matter about the first time around. All that matters is what happens right now, this week,” tackle Kareem McKenzie said. “That’s all we’re going to focus on. It does help that we’ve played them before in that environment, so there’ll be some relative familiarity with the situation. But at the same time, we have to approach this game with a new sense of vigor and energy.”    

Linebacker Michael Boley said it best. He has no time for the verbal sparring or revenge talk. All he cares about is getting to Indianapolis.    

“They’re just in the way of where we want to be and obviously that’s the Super Bowl,” Boley said.        

Big Blue notes
 
» This is the second week in a row the Giants have an opportunity to avenge a regular season loss. They lost to the Packers on Dec. 4 in MetLife Stadium, 38-35, before beating them handily Sunday. The Niners also own a Nov. 13 regular season win over the Giants, in San Francisco, 27-20.
  
» The regular season series is tied at 14-14, but the Niners lead the postseason series, 4-3. A better idea of how evenly matched the rivalry has been, the Niners hold a slim lead in total points scored, 721-709. This is the eighth playoff matchup and will tie an NFL record (Giants vs. Bears and Cowboys vs. Rams). 

» The starting quarterbacks in Sunday’s championship game will be Eli Manning (No. 1 pick in 2004) and Alex Smith (No. 1 in ’05). It is the second time since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger that both starting quarterbacks in a conference championship game were No. 1-overall picks in an NFL Draft. The other time it happened was the 1998 AFC Championship Game on Jan. 17, 1999 when Denver’s John Elway and the Jets’ Vinny Testaverde were the quarterbacks. 

» Manning has four postseason road victories in his career. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that puts him in a six-way tie for most playoff road wins in NFL history (the NFL considers the Super Bowl an away game for both quarterbacks). The other quarterbacks are Pro Football Hall of Famers Len Dawson and Roger Staubach and current quarterbacks Jake Delhomme, Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez.


Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter
@TBone8.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

City Council committee moves Williamsburg's Domino refinery deal…

The deal to turn the old Domino Sugar refinery along the Williamsburg waterfront into a new housing complex is one Council vote away from approval.

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

National

Electric Zoo tickets on sale Tuesday as festival…

Electric Zoo tickets go on sale Tuesday. The festival announced plans to amp up security after two attendees died last year from apparent drug overdoses.

Local

VIDEO: Conflicting accounts after horse carriage falls over…

There were conflicting accounts about what caused a horse carriage to fall near Central Park and Fifth Avenue on Wednesday.

The Word

Taylor Swift has a hard time leaving the…

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

Going Out

Pop-up cat cafe opens to long lines in…

The country's first pop-up cat cafe opened in New York on Thursday.

Movies

Interview: Steven Knight on making Tom Hardy normal…

Filmmaker Steven Knight discusses his new movie "Locke," set entirely within a car and featuring only one actor on-screen: Tom Hardy.

Movies

Interview: 'The Quiet Ones' star Sam Claflin on…

"Hunger Games" co-star Sam Claflin talks about his new horror film "The Quiet Ones," plus how technology connects him with fans.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

5 infamous pitcher ejections for cheating

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.

MLB

Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda ejected for using pine…

Pineda was thrown out of the game against the Red Sox Wednesday for having pine tar on his neck -- for all the world to see.

NFL

Giants 2014 regular season schedule

The Giants will play five prime-time games — against the Lions, Redskins, Eagles, Colts and Cowboys.

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.

Style

MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.