NFL wild-card: Giants trounce Falcons 24-2

Hakeem Nicks of the New York Giants scores on a 72-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons during their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at MetLife Stadium on January 8, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Nick Laham/Getty Images

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes and the New York Giants ran all over Atlanta in a 24-2 rout of the Falcons in an NFC wild-card game on Sunday.

Manning, having his best pro season, connected with Hakeem Nicks for a 72-yard score and Mario Manningham on a 27-yarder as the Giants (10-7) pulled away from the inept Falcons (10-7) in the second half.

He also threw a 4-yard TD pass to Nicks in the first half, which came after the quarterback scrambled 14 yards to spark the 85-yard drive.

While Manning came through with touchdown passes, the tempo was set by New York's defense, which never allowed Atlanta to get going, and the league's lowest-ranked rushing game, which ran for a season-high 172 yards. Brandon Jacobs led the way with 92 yards on 14 carries.

The Giants travel to Green Bay next Sunday to play the defending Super Bowl champion Packers (15-1), who beat them 38-35 in December.

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