Rather than simply adding my own recap to the list of articles, I thought I'd take a look at this game for it's broader implications for the season and the post-season. It's easy to get caught up in the emotions of the big win (and the revenge, if you buy into it), but there's more to this game than the simple act of getting back at the team that blanked us in the playoffs a year ago.
I'm not going to explore the psychology of what this win means. It will be spoken about a good bit this week, and it's undoubtedly got some truth to it. But the deeper truth is this: that group of 53 men expect to be able to do what they did against the Giants every Sunday. This game was a simple validation of what they've already believed. What this game does NOT do, however, is prove that we will win in the playoffs. There are too many examples to be made on both sides of the "psychology" or "momentum" arguments.
What this game did do is more important than the future predicting we like to get into as fans.
First, our team now has 12 wins, and with one more in the next two weeks, we secure the #1 seed throughout. That will afford our roster some extra rest and ensure that we play at home. Despite our struggles at home, it's still better to fight it out at the dome than to go on the road.
Second, both sides of the ball provided glimpses of what each is truly capable of. The defense, against another elite QB, once again stymied and confused the opposing offense - pitching a complete shutout, and just dominating from beginning to end. Pundits will write it off as Eli having a bad day, but anyone watching the game clearly saw the Falcons harass and confuse him the entire afternoon.
The offense, against a dangerous (but inconsistent this year) pass rush, allowed only one sack on the day and gave Ryan plenty of time to pick apart the Giants secondary. He only missed 5 passes on the day and finished with a damn-near perfect QB rating. Additionally, though not incredibly impressive, the line also did better in run blocking and gave both Turner and Rodgers decent lanes. However, perhaps most importantly, the offense showed a consistent 4 quarters of play and demonstrated what most defenses fear most: an ability to either score quickly, or burn up the clock and beat the hell out of your D. From the Ryan deep ball to Julio to the 10 minute 4th quarter drive, this offense was able to shift gears when needed and be effective in both aspects.
Lastly, we added another defeat to a team that is known to be dangerous in the playoffs. The Giants loss now puts them on the outside looking in, and they are now relying on other teams to lose for them to get into the playoffs. Anytime you can take a dangerous team out of the playoffs, you take it.
Don't get me wrong - I do think this was a big emotional win for this team, but the season is not over; this game was not our SuperBowl. We need to snag one more win, and the game Saturday against the Lions is a perfect time to do it. This was a great win, but still only one win. It's time for this team to put this kind of game on the field every week going forward.