Divisional grades: Giants-Packers
Head coach Tom Coughlin has a knack for getting his team to click when he's under pressure over his own future. It happened for his 2007 club, which won a Super Bowl just a few weeks after fans were ready to run him out of town. His 2011 team was 7-7 just a few weeks ago, but is now one win away from an appearance in the Super Bowl. Coughlin lost one challenge, when he argued that Green Bay receiver Greg Jennings had fumbled the ball. Replay officials confirmed the on-field ruling, even as video evidence indicated that Coughlin had plenty of reason to throw the red flag. Non-issue there. Big picture: The Giants once again are peaking at the right time.
A bigger question for coach Mike McCarthy surrounds his decision to take his foot off the gas at the end of the season. Aaron Rodgers, for example, did not play in the Week 17 finale against Detroit. So his last game before facing the Giants was three weeks ago, on Christmas Day against the Bears. Whether rust was a factor or not, the fact remains that Rodgers came out of the long rest with his worst performance of the season. The Green Bay family, meanwhile, faced a difficult week in the wake of the tragic death of offensive coordinator Joe Philbin's son.