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Playoff loss to Giants still eats at Clay Matthews

Clay Matthews wasn't among the millions who watched Super Bowl XLVI, but he was on the field for the Green Bay Packers' loss to the New York Giants in the NFC divisional playoffs.

It still tears at him, to reexamine how Green Bay came undone against an underdog -- the very role they played to perfection one year earlier to win Super Bowl XLV. The 15-1 Packers shifted into autopilot when it mattered most against the Giants, and Matthews lives with it still.

"I didn't catch the Super Bowl at all, simply because I was on a plane at that time," Matthews told NBC Sports Talk on Friday. "I don't know if you ever really get over it. I still remember losses from my childhood that you never get over. Fortunately we get to play the Giants again this year and hopefully have a little redemption."

That rematch is set for a Sunday night showdown at MetLife in Week 12.

Matthews gave credit to Eli Manning and the Giants: "(They) had to go through everyone's backyard and win and that's exactly what they did -- similar to what we did two years ago. So we're just looking forward to getting back out there and hopefully show everyone what we're capable of and that's winning another Super Bowl."

(Not everyone's backyard -- the Giants hosted the Atlanta Falcons in the wild-card game, but Matthews' point is made.)

We can't expect Green Bay to equal last year's run. The Packers' schedule opens on a rough note, with the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints in the first four weeks. Scoring breathlessly won't do it alone in 2012. In the end, the fireworks didn't mask a defense that stood exposed in the final act, giving up 41 to the Lions in Week 17 and 37 in that playoff defeat to New York.

A defeat Matthews and Co. chew on still.

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