The Packers roared to a 15-1 record last season, despite having an abysmal defense. And as the Packers reflect on the divisional-round loss to the Giants, there’s a feeling that the outcome was more about what the Packers failed to do than what the Giants accomplished.
“We picked the most inopportune time to play our worst ball,” linebacker Clay Matthews tells Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports. “The fact is, [the Giants] didn’t beat us; we beat ourselves. We need to play our best ball when it counts. This year, I expect us to be right back where we should be.”
It could be that the defense simply relied too much on the offense last year.
“Regardless of what happened in the first half, nobody thought we would lose that game,” Charles Woodson said of the first two quarters against the Giants, which saw the Packers trailing, 20-10. “With what our offense had done that season, I think we had, especially defensively, a false sense of security about what they were gonna do.
“Maybe we should have panicked. But we didn’t. We just felt like, ‘Hey, at the end of the day, the offense will put up enough points, we’ll win the game and move on.’ That was probably to our detriment.”
This year, the defense doesn’t need to get much better. And there’s reason to believe that the defense will be better, and that the offense will continue to be dominant.
Still, it would be wise not to disrespect the defending Super Bowl champions, who have somehow become an afterthought in their conference, their division, and their hometown.