On December 18, 2011, the New York Giants lost to the Washington Redskins, and New York’s season seemed doomed. However, in the next two games quarterback Eli Manning, receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, and New York’s defense all stepped up, beating the New York Jets, and the Dallas Cowboys in the next two weeks to win the NFC East. Manning, Cruz, Nicks and the defense have continued to play well in the Playoffs, making them the four candidates for the New York Giants' MVP award.
In the two games against New York and Dallas, the Giants' defense only allowed 14 points to each team, while being responsible for a total of three interceptions, and recovering two fumbles.
In the Playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons, New York’s defense shut out Atlanta’s offense, holding quarterback Matt Ryan to 199 passing yards and no touchdowns, and holding running back Michael Turner to 41 yards.
In the Playoff game against Green Bay, New York’s defense held Green Bay to 20 points, Aaron Rodgers to fewer than 300 passing yards, and were responsible for an interception, and three fumble recoveries.
In the Playoff game against San Francisco, New York’s defense kept San Francisco’s offense in check, and the special teams came through allowing New York to advance to the Super Bowl.
In the final two games of the regular season, Nicks combined for 96 yards with a touchdown. While those numbers are not great, Nicks continued to improve going into the Playoffs.
In the game against Atlanta, Nicks recorded 115 receiving yards with two touchdowns. In the game against Green Bay, Nicks recorded 165 receiving yards with two touchdowns. While Nicks did not score a touchdown in the game against San Francisco, he did add 55 more yards, making his totals in the Playoffs thus far 355 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
Victor Cruz emerged this season as one of Eli Manning’s go-to wide receivers. In the games against New York and Dallas, Cruz combined for 342 receiving yards, and two touchdowns. In the Playoffs, Cruz has a total of 244 yards, with 142 of those yards coming in the game against San Francisco.
While the defense has been spectacular, and Nicks and Cruz have played great, New York would not be in the Playoffs without Eli Manning and is undoubtedly the New York Giants' MVP. In the two games against New York and Dallas, Manning combined for 571 passing yards, while throwing four touchdowns and only one interception.
In the game against Atlanta, Manning threw for 277 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. In the game against Green Bay Manning did even better, passing for 330 and another three touchdowns. In the game against San Francisco, Manning threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions. In the three Playoff games, Manning has thrown for 923 yards, and eight touchdowns.
As a team, the New York Giants are red hot, and I certainly would not bet against them in Super Bowl XLVI.