You’ve got to hand it to the Giants. They made it here the hard way, winning all three road games. I still don’t think they are in the class of any of the final four AFC teams, though.

I’ve always been a closet Eli Manning fan. I think it’s because he’s always been crapped on for not caring enough, which isn’t true. I see his disintrest as a positive quality that helps him remain calm when he needs to deliver. He doesn’t have the charisma of his brother, but when all of the chips are on the table, I’d take Eli over Payton and his anxious feet when you have to come from behind in the fourth quarter of a playoff game.

I don’t think Eli has the weapons around him to win his next game, though. Burress has come up big in the playoffs so far, but in my opinion the lack of a good check down option for Eli is going to be the Achilles heal for the Giants offense. Despite Shockey’s mouth and antics, his hands are going to be missed when they need to complete a third and seven with Plaxico and Toomer covered. I think the Pats will allow Steve Smith some opportunities to make big catches before they start worrying about a rookie in the Super Bowl beating them.

This time Pats’ will have the right side of their OL back, and we see what that has meant for Maroney in the past two games. They also don’t have to force the ball to any specific receivers in order to break those pesky records. Brady will have the full buffet of receivers to choose from, so I’d be surprised if we see the fourth down kicking units make five appearances like they did in week 17.