It must have been hard for the Green Bay Packers to not look back after Sunday night's beatdown at the hands of the New York Giants. The team was whipped up front, on a big stage, by the same team that ended their title hopes last season.
"That's a pretty good group," Packers general manager Ted Thompson told Bob McGinn, talking about the Giants' defensive line. "So I don't want to discount those guys being able to make plays. But we've got to protect our passer."
The same problems that plagued the Packers a year ago plagued them on Sunday night. They were pushed around on both sides of the ball. The offense was forced out of rhythm. And the Packers know they might have to face the Giants again.
"We're a different team -- a much different team," defensive tackle Ryan Pickett said. "They just outplayed us. No excuses. There's nothing you can say. They outplayed us in all phases of the game. But do we think we can beat the team? Absolutely."
The big difference between this beatdown and the one in the divisional round back in January: The Packers have plenty of time to regroup. That was the focus after the game.
"Hopefully, we'll remember this feeling and not let this kind of embarrassment to happen again," coach Mike McCarthy said, via ESPNMilwaukee.com, later adding. "Everything we want to accomplish is still in front of us and that'll be our focus."
"It's one game. ... We're better than this. We're going to regroup," Rodgers said.
The Packers have the talent to pull it off, especially when Clay Matthews, Greg Jennings and Charles Woodson return from injury. They just have to realize the road to New Orleans isn't going through Lambeau Field if get into the playoffs.
Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.