The Giants simply had to beat Green Bay on Dec. 26 at Lambeau Field to make the playoffs. Instead, the Packers walloped them 45-17.
Considering what they did to the No. 1-seeded Atlanta Falcons in Saturday's 48-21 domination, could it be that the Giants really lost to the eventual Super Bowl champions?
Certainly, the Packers looked unstoppable Saturday. And yes, they'll be going up against a significantly better defense in Chicago -- at Soldier Field -- in Sunday's NFC Championship game. But the qualities that destroyed the Giants were the same ones that vanquished Atlanta -- a horrifying air game and solid defense.
And now the Packers have a full boat of confidence on their side. Maybe bordering on cockiness if you listen to wide receiver Greg Jennings' assessment of the semifinal victory.
"At times, yeah, it was like stealing," Jennings said.
The Packers put up their biggest playoff total in franchise history on the strength of Aaron Rodgers' arm. Rodgers went an amazing 31-of-36 for 366 yards and three touchdowns, as the Packers scored on seven of 10 possessions (five touchdowns). They never punted.
"I just got into a rhythm," Rodgers said. "It was a special night."
And Tramon Williams added a 70-yard interception return on the final play of the first half.
"I don't want to say we felt like we couldn't be stopped," said fullback John Kuhn, who scored two touchdowns on a short run and a reception. That was one touchdown less than he scored against the Giants. "But we did feel like we'd have some opportunities to make plays. People might say, 'Well, that many plays?' But we have a lot of talented playmakers, and it all came together."
At first, it was thought the Giants had hit a defensive slump, what with allowing 28 points in an infamous fourth-quarter meltdown against Philadelphia the previous week. But seeing what the Packers have done in the playoffs -- Rodgers now has six touchdown passes in two playoff games -- perhaps the Giants were just getting a taste of a ramped-up offense that has hit its stride.
Maybe the Bears should worry about that missed opportunity to knock the Packers out of postseason contention in that 10-3, Week 17 loss at Lambeau Field.