Packers Make Giant Statement vs. New York

The Packers passed their first "playoff" test with flying colors Sunday at Lambeau, completely dismantling the Giants 45-17, setting up a date with the Bears next Sunday that will determine whether the Pack can claim the last playoff berth.

Everything went right for the Pack, who were opportunistic on defense, picking off Eli Manning four times and forcing a couple of fumbles. The six turnovers were the most for the Giants in six years. The Packers were also stout against the run, keeping Bradshaw and Jacobs in check.

But this game belonged to Aaron Rodgers, who had a career day when he had the most to prove. Sporting a new helmet designed to prevent another concussion, Rodgers was brilliant, passing for over 400 yards and four touchdowns and putting up a near perfect passer rating. Once again, the Pack was effective enough on the ground to keep the pass rush honest. Though Bryan Bulaga struggled against Justin Tuck, Rodgers moved around enough to keep the fierce pass rusher at bay.

So let's see. Explosive passing attack: check. Productive ground game: check. Solid run defense: check. Ball-hawking secondary: check. Solid special teams play: check. In short, the game exceeded all expectations. A four touchdown beat down that doesn't quite make up for the '08 title game, but sure feels good in a season that began with such high hopes, but has too often been derailed by injuries and close losses.

The next test comes against the Bears, in a game that has been moved to a 3:15 start. If the Eagles win out at home against third string QBs for the Vikings and Cowboys, the Bears would need to beat the Pack to claim the #2 seed in the NFC and a bye. And as you know, a win by the Pack over the Bears would create a wildcard weekend rematch at Soldier Field--just like last year's scenario with the Cardinals.

But for a day or two, let's salute the Pack for a complete effort and a dominant performance against the Giants. Man, it feels good.

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