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NFL Playoffs 2012: NFC Final Four Set After Giants Beat Falcons

Wild card weekend trimmed the number of NFC teams vying for a trip to the Super Bowl down to four.

The New York Giants won their last two games of the regular season to win the NFC East and qualify for the playoffs and they were able to carry over that momentum to wild card weekend as the Giants completely shut down the Atlanta Falcons to advance in the NFL playoffs with a 24-2 win.

Atlanta appeared to catch a break when they started the scoring with a safety after New York quarterback Eli Manning was force to ground the ball while under pressure in his own end zone. From that point on it was all Giants as the New York defense stiffened, much to the delight of the home crowd.

Manning would go on to have an efficient game, completing 23 of 32 passes for 277 yards and three touchdowns including a 72-yard connection with Hakeem Nicks for the receiver's second TD in the game. New York closed the game out in familiar fashion by getting a strong effort out of the running game. Brandon Jacobs finished with 92 yards on 14 carries while Ahmad Bradshaw also had 14 carries and gained 63 yards.

The Falcons were held in check with running back Michael Turner gaining only 41 yards on 15 carries and quarterback Matt Ryan completing just 24 of 41 passes for 199 yards.

The win sets up a big challenge for the Giants as they will travel to play the Green Bay Packers at 4:30 p.m. ET next Sunday.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.