Last year's sour playoff defeat to the New York Giants is a dot in the rearview mirror, but the Green Bay Packers haven't forgotten. That loss set the standard for this season, meaning Sunday's 21-13 win over the Chicago Bears was nice -- but it wasn't nearly enough.
"It's great that we won the (NFC North) today," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said, via the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "I feel good about it. I'm not trying to diminish anything here, but we're just getting started. We feel that way as a football team. I'm not trying to be arrogant. We feel we have a lot better football in front of us. This is an extremely important game for everybody involved today, but we fully expected to come in here and win this thing."
The Packers (10-4) have operated outside of the bright lights that shone down on their 15-1 campaign from a year ago. That sense of diminished adulation doesn't seem to matter to a team that quietly has won eight of its last nine and grasps a shot at a playoff bye depending on what the San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1) do over the final two weeks.
The Packers even possess a mathematical chance at the top seed -- putting them right back where they were last year -- but that's not how this season will be judged. This always was about January for Green Bay.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.