Senior writer jclombardi previews Packers vs Giants game.
Sunday afternoon showdown: Mike McCarthy announced on the flight home from New England that the playoffs were starting before the team’s charter touched down. The message: Sunday’s game between the Green Bay Packers (8-6) and the New York Giants (9-5) at Lambeau Field is a de facto playoff game. The Packers can ensure a postseason invitation by beating the Giants and then beating the NFC North division champion Chicago Bears (10-4) on Jan. 2. To that end McCarthy wanted to send clear message to the team. After McCarthy acknowledged to his players after Sunday night’s loss to the New England Patriots that winning their final two games was almost certainly their only way into the playoffs. “Our playoffs started when we got on the plane to come home Sunday,” McCarthy said Wednesday. “That’s the way we’re approaching our preparation, that’s the way we’re approaching this game. It’s going to be a playoff-type atmosphere here at home.” That message got through loud and clear to his team, as player after player echoed that sentiment in the locker room following McCarthy’s press conference. “There’s no room for error,” cornerback Tramon Williams said. “Basically, the playoffs start now for us. Either we win or we go home – the next two weeks. It’s like six-week playoffs for us. If we win these two games, then we’re really considered it the playoffs, but it’s just like the playoffs now.” While disappointed with their record, the Packers realize they got some much-needed help last weekend and are thankful to be in contention after a rash of injuries and six losses by four points or fewer. “We control our own destiny. We have everything in front of us. That’s all you can ask for at this point of the season,” said quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Commentary: What is at stake? For 2010 NFL season, the Packers self-respect, pride, and everything with the playoffs starting now. The Packers lost 3 of 4 last games, play at home, and face the Giants with memories of January, 2008 NFC Championship game. It’s time to even the score and move on. They have an opportunity to show the Packers nation, the NFL, and prime time television audience outside of laughable biased NY media that they are a legitimate contender. Story Line—Toughness test. In the January, 2008 NFC championship game, the Giants imposed their will against the Packers. They were more physical and dominated the lines in the winter conditions in Lambeau. The Giants are essentially the same team. The Packers need to show that they are tougher than that day. For the Packers playing at home knowing you can determine your destiny, how can they lose knowing the stakes!