GREEN BAY, Wis. — With their own star quarterback and a dominating defense, the Giants exposed the Packers for what they now are — former Super Bowl champions.
Green Bay dropped passes, fumbled and simply couldn't stop Eli Manning and his receivers in New York's shocking 37-20 NFC division playoff victory Sunday. To the Giants' delight, a Green Bay team that had a real shot at an undefeated season less than a month ago is heading home.
And winning at Lambeau Field was just as sweet. The site has become a familiar launching pad for the New Yorkers. After winning at Green Bay in the playoffs for the second time in four years, they only hope this trip ends the same way — in the Super Bowl.
The Giants (11-7) play the 49ers in San Francisco for the NFC championship on Sunday.
"I think we're a dangerous team," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "I like where we are and how we're playing."
The Giants stunned the Packers (15-2) with a touchdown off a long heave from Manning to Hakeem Nicks just before halftime, then knocked them out with a late TD off a turnover.
"I knew we were going to beat them on Wednesday, to be honest with you," said running back Brandon Jacobs, whose 14-yard rushing touchdown finished off the defending champs.
The Giants have been on a roll. They stood at 7-7 with two weeks left but beat their fellow New York team, the Jets, on Dec. 24, then topped hated Dallas to win the NFC East. A blowout of Atlanta in the wild-card round set up their latest upset.
On Sunday they took down the Packers, a 7½-point favorite, as Manning threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns.
The Giants are 3-4 against the 49ers in the playoffs, but that probably won't be much of a worry for this year's Giants.
"This team knows how to win on the road," defensive end Justin Tuck said.
The win came four years after the Giants beat the Brett Favre-led Packers for the NFC title.
This time Manning found six receivers but did the most damage with Nicks, who caught seven passes for 165 yards and two scores — one a 66-yarder in the first quarter and the other a 37-yarder to end the first half.
Packers star and MVP favorite Aaron Rodgers was 26-of-46 for 264 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. He also was the Packers' leading rusher with 66 yards on seven carries.
The Packers fully expected to go back to the Super Bowl, but the reality hit Rodgers quickly.
"Oh, it's real," he said. "We got beat by a team that played better tonight.
"We play to win championships. You win a championship and you're kind of at the top of the mountain, and you forget kind of how bad this feeling is."
Green Bay lost three fumbles, one on a rare giveaway by Rodgers. The Giants also sacked him four times.
Now instead of facing the league's worst total defense they'll face the one ranked best in the NFC. But at this point why would the Giants show fear?
"It's not about being arrogant; this team is confident," Tuck said. "We believe in ourselves, and we don't really care what other people say."