In the heart of New England, Victor Cruz remembers watching the Giants make their magical run to the Super Bowl back in 2008.
"It was just one of those runs they had and it was incredible to watch," Cruz said. "You know you were watching something special when you were watching them win game after game in the playoffs and they're going to the Super Bowl, obviously do all the great things they did in that game, it was one of those games you felt honored to watch and be a part of."
Four years later, the wide receiver is going to try to help the team orchestrate another run to the Super Bowl. Cruz is entering the playoffs for the first time in his career after finishing the season third in the NFL with 1,536 receiving yards.
"That has to be the goal," Cruz said about the team's goal of winning a Super Bowl. "You play the game to win the Super Bowl and the first step is obviously winning the division, the next step is getting into the playoffs, we've done that so far and I feel like we're hitting our stride at the perfect time and we should be able to make a solid run for it."
As he embarks upon his first career playoff game, Cruz is all ears and is going to try to soak up as much information as possible. He said coach Tom Coughlin has talked about the team's run to the title but there hasn't been overall that much discussion about it. He's hoping to learn from the veterans about what to expect this week.
"We have to understand these guys have been around, they've played in a few playoff games, some guys have played and won a Super Bowl, just having those guys around to kind of speak to and understand what the atmosphere is going to be like and kind of come in and understand what you're facing and what it's going to be like as opposed to coming in and not knowing," Cruz said.
Cruz could be one of the biggest keys in determining how the Giants fare in the postseason. The receiver emerged as arguably the team's second-most important offensive player this season, hauling in big catches like a 99-yard score against the Jets and a 74-yard touchdown in Sunday's win over Dallas.
"When you look at this last part of the season and the number of plays the young man has made which has given us a spark or put us in position to win games, it is truly amazing," Coughlin said. "My hat is off to him. He goes on IR (last season) and he has no offseason although Eli (Manning) has been working with him, all he has is the preseason and yet is able to have the kind of season we all have witnessed."
Not being familiar with Atlanta, as the Giants have not faced them since 2009, Cruz is ready to get the tape rolling to try and become more familiar with this next opponent.
"Coming into the game if we prepare well like we have these past two weeks, we should be OK," he said.