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Giants stun packers with 37-20 win to advance to NFC championship game

Jan. 15, 2012: New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning reacts during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, Wis. The Giants won 37-20.AP

For Eli Manning and the New York Giants, Lambeau Field has become a familiar launching pad. After beating the Green Bay Packers at home for the second time in four years, they only hope this trip ends the same way -- at the Super Bowl.

Manning threw three touchdown passes and the Giants shocked the Packers 37-20 in an NFC divisional playoff game Sunday. Manning threw for 330 yards, sending the Giants to San Francisco for the NFC championship game next Sunday night.

The Giants stunned the reigning Super Bowl champs with a touchdown off a long heave just before halftime, then knocked them out with a late touchdown off a turnover. Lambeau Field fell silent as the Giants swarmed the field in celebration, with a handful of New York fans chanting, "Let's go, Giants!"

The win came four years after the Giants beat a Brett Favre-led Packers team in the NFC title game. It wasn't nearly as frigid this time around, and the Packers' vulnerable defense seemed to be waiting to get sliced up.

Manning found six different receivers against a porous Packers defense. But Manning did the most damage with his throws to Hakeem Nicks, who caught seven passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns.

Nicks' biggest play was a 66-touchdown catch at the end of the first half.

The Giants' defense also was able to defuse the big-play abilities of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' defense.

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.

Meanwhile, the Packers' past problems with dropped balls by their talented group of wide receivers returned at the worst time imaginable.

And while the Packers' defense has been porous all season, giving up far too many yards and big plays, they've typically made up for it by forcing turnovers.

This time, the Packers were the ones giving the ball away.