The Giants rose to the occasion Sunday, and now fans' hopes are on the rise too - with good reason.
Making mincemeat out of the Atlanta Falcons with a 24-2 win yesterday, the G-men have a showdown with the defending champion Green Bay Packers next Sunday. As they make their first playoff run in three years, the Giants are picking up fans along the way.
"I had a life-changing experience today: This is the team of the city I¹m moving to! This is my welcome!" said Chris Wineland, 21, a former Browns fan who¹s currently moving from Cleveland to Prospect Park. "They reached out to me while I was watching this."
The defense completely suffocated the Falcons while Eli Manning escaped from some early-game bumps -- including a safety that gave the Falcons their only points -- to throw three touchdown passes, two of them to Hakeem Nicks.
It was the first home playoff win for the Giants since they beat the Vikings in the 2000 NFC Championship Game, 41-0, on Jan. 14, 2001. It was the Giants' first playoff win anywhere since they beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
Fans said kept the faith their team had worked out all the kinks from their midseason foibles.
"This is the impressive Giants team - the healthy Giants team," said Octavia Carter, 48, of Jamaica, while watching the game in midtown.
The quest for a title gets a lot tougher next week, as the Giants must beat the heavily favored Packers, who went 15-1 this season.
"It's not going to be as easy as it was this week," said Anthony "Big T" Guarente, of "Talking Football Live" on Mix 1620 AM in New Jersey.
Still, there was a lot of impressive hustling against the Falcons that should bode well for the Giants next week if they play the same, Guarente said.
"That was the best defensive game that the Giants have played since [their Super Bowl win in 2008]," he added.
Guarente¹s co-host, Bobby Blackjack, said the G-Men can continue their hot streak as of late by ensuring the defense stays strong and Manning continues to throw with precision.
"This team is peaking at just the right time" Blackjack said.
And hopefully it will pay off for fans willing to trade anything for a title.
"I'd give all my Christmas presents for a Giants Super Bowl win," said Charlie Kesnig, 21, of Manorville, L.I.
(With Sheila Anne Feeney and Newsday)