Week 5 wasn’t necessarily the best of times for the New York Giants (then 2-2) or the worst of times for the Green Bay Packers (the perennial playoff team that started the season 4-6), but what is clear is that both teams are seemingly light years away from that early season matchup.
Green Bay won that game in what might have been one of the worst performances of the season for the Giants, who finished 11-5 to grab the fifth seed in the Wild Card round. The Giants, especially on defense, are now vastly different and more confident, closing out their season on a tear. Conversely their opponent this Sunday in the playoffs has gone a similar course as Green Bay finished out their season with six straight wins.
Ben McAdoo, the Giants head coach who spent several years on staff with Green Bay, has seen his team develop in recent weeks.
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“I think we’re two different football teams. I think we’ve learned how to win since then. We’ve grown together and we’ve learned a lot about each other,” McAdoo said on Wednesday. “We just have to prepare for the game and let the game play out.”
The Packers too have overcome some early struggles to soar in the playoffs. Infamously at the midpoint of the season, quarterback Aaron Rodgers predicted this run, saying he thinks his team could win-out their schedule and continue their streak of postseason appearances.
Turns out that Green Bay did just that.
“It was more a feeling. It was more of a feeling that we could get things going if we just got that first one and knowing maybe that we needed just a little jolt of confidence in that moment that maybe if the guys knew that I believed it was possible, then they might start believing as well,” Rodgers said Wednesday on a conference call with the New York media. “We all stuck together and there wasn’t any splintering in the locker room or in the media or unnamed sources or any of that garbage. We just stuck together and won a big game against Philly at Philly and started that run, took care of our games at home and won a big game in the division on the road.”