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Giants' Pierre-Paul has right outlook

Some may think New York Giants young defensive end Jason Paul is foolish for providing the top-seeded and defending Super Bowl board material by guaranteeing a victory in this weekend's NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Lambeau Field.

Others might believe the disposition of the rising defender was spot on.

"We're going to win," Pierre-Paul said following the Giants' triumph over Atlanta in this past Sunday's playoff opener. "One hundred percent we're going to win, because we're the best."

What else is Pierre-Paul going to say? How would his teammates, coaches and the media react had he said the opposite? Joe Namath, Mark Messier and Jim Fassel are just a few examples of players or coaches who have pledged victory for their respective teams, and Pierre-Paul simply became the latest to join the list with his bold statement.

Over the past month, the Giants have resembled a nasty bunch of players who are on a mission much like in the 2007 playoffs, when they needed to dispose of a Brett Favre-led Packers team on a cold night in Wisconsin to reach the Super Bowl. They have played superb in winning four of five outings since a four-game losing streak from Nov. 13-Dec. 4 and steamrolled the Falcons, 24-2, in their Wild Card-Round matchup.

Pierre-Paul, who recorded a career-high and team-best 16 1/2 sacks in the regular season, had eight tackles versus Atlanta. He ended the regular season with a sack in each of the last four games, totaling six in that span, but did not get to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in a 38-35 loss at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 4.

Rogers and the Packers' offense will surely be a stiffer challenge than the Falcons for New York's defense, which is led by its dominating front line of Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Chris Canty and Osi Umenyiora. All eyes will be on Pierre-Paul for this anticipated showdown, however, though the second-year talent out of South Florida has taken a step back from his previous claim of an absolute Giants win.

"If the defense, offense, special teams, we all do our jobs and execute it on Sunday, we should win," a more reserved Pierre-Paul told New York radio station WFAN on Tuesday.

Pierre-Paul added that he is not going to twist his words around and was simply reacting after an exciting finish versus the Falcons. People tend to say things when emotions run high, and Pierre-Paul's demeanor was probably meant to be more of an uplifting compliment to his team rather than a knock on Green Bay. He was not punished for his comments, which may come as a surprise since head coach Tom Coughlin is a "no nonsense" kind of guy.

Coughlin is more concerned with how his players perform than what is said on the airwaves, however.

"I just think that we also have done a better job underneath, and that was an issue for us in terms of pattern reads, identification, recognition of who is where and doing a better job with a lot of the checkdowns," Coughlin said on Monday of his defense's performance. "There were a couple [Sunday] that were open, but by in large we have done a better job of that. We are just playing better coverage and we are playing the rush better, let's put it that way."

New York's defense is averaging just 10 points allowed over the last three games, and shutting down opposing quarterbacks has been its calling card. Rodgers is unlike most quarterbacks in the NFL, however, and had his way with the Giants' secondary in the first meeting just over a month ago, passing for 369 yards with four touchdown strikes and one interception. He was sacked twice in that one, with Tuck and reserve end Dave Tollefson each getting to the All-Pro. Pierre-Paul had three tackles and also batted down a pair of pass attempts, and Umenyiora was not active due to an ankle injury.

With New York's big guns on the defensive front at full strength for round two of this matchup, the trash-talking will go by the wayside to make room for those who can back it up. Pierre-Paul has been waiting for almost a week now to prove that his words weren't just to sell papers, but to solidify his belief that the Giants are the better team.

Come Sunday night, the nation will know.

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