I've heard from a lot of Giants fans who were excited about getting to face the 49ers and not the Saints in the NFC Championship Game. Oh, and I also heard from a Giants player who felt the same way.
“Just coming from our schedule and how it turned out, how we played against New Orleans and how we played against San Fran, it definitely works out in our favor a little bit … just because of how we feel about them and we understand that we have a good chance of winning that game,” Victor Cruz said.
The Giants lost, 49-24, to the Saints in New Orleans on Nov. 28. It was not a close game. Two weeks before that they played the 49ers at Candlestick Park. They lost that game, 27-20, and were driving for the game-tying touchdown in the final minute.
“We were able to move the ball pretty efficiently that game, we were going up and down, we had a few turnovers unfortunately early on,” Cruz said. “We felt like we did some positive things and we basically controlled a lot of that game and we’re looking to repeat that again.”
The Giants did have a tremendous statistical advantage, outgaining the 49ers 395 yards to 205 and winning the time of possession in a landslide (34:37). They also held a team that was averaging 137.6 rushing yards to just 77.
“We understood that they were a team that we could potentially see again and we wanted to see again in this situation,” Cruz said. “We got what we asked for … We understood that if we saw them again it could be a different outcome. We wanted that opportunity.”
They have it now. It will be the second time in two weeks the Giants draw some inspiration – and perhaps some knowledge – by facing a team they lost to in the regular season.
Cruz did admit that the 49ers were one of the two toughest defenses the Giants faced all year. Oddly enough he put the Packers in that exacta even though the Giants scored a combined 72 points in two games against them and they were ranked last in team defense this season.
Watching the Saints play them on in a shootout on Saturday also gave the Giants confidence going into the game.
“Anytime you see a team throw for a bunch of yards against that defense, it opens our eyes a little bit,” Cruz said. “We understand that if we can have those same opportunities – and we’ll watch film and see where their weaknesses are and where we can take advantage of them – it’ll be a huge day for us as well.”