Reminiscent of the 1960s—when the legendary Vince Lombardi beat his former team for the NFL Championship two years in a row—it seems playoff implications are always on the line now every time the two power houses meet.
The modern day rivalry began back in 2007, Brett Favre’s last game ever as a Packer. The road warrior Giants upset the heavily favored Green Bay team in overtime en route to one of the biggest Super Bowl upsets ever.
Although the two teams never met in the 2008 or 2009 seasons, the rivalry picked up steam in 2010.
In the 16th week of that year, New York went into the weekend with a 9-5 record, and Green Bay 8-6.
The Packers dominated the game, winning 45-17. They would sneak into the playoffs as a No. 6 seed, while the Giants were forced to spend January watching from home as the Packers went on to win Super Bowl XLV against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Last year only strengthened the rivalry. With Green Bay attempting to keep its undefeated season alive, the Week 13 battle came down to a dramatic last-second field goal by Mason Crosby to seal the victory for the Pack.
In the playoffs, of course, the Giants exacted their revenge by demolishing the Packers 37-20, making them 2-0 in playoff games at Lambeau Field in a span of four years.
This year, the stakes are undeniably high. After Green Bay started out the season at 2-3, it has won five straight to climb to a 7-3 record and a tie for the NFC North lead. Depending on how the Chicago-Minnesota game goes on Sunday, the Packers could be in sole possession of first place with a win over the Giants.
The G-Men have gone the opposite direction. After starting out with a strong 6-2 mark, they have lost two straight in an unimpressive fashion. Should they lose Sunday night, the Giants will only be one game ahead of the Redskins for the NFC East lead with a matchup in Washington the following week.
I’ve also got a feeling this won’t be the last time these two squads face off in the 2012 season. If Chicago and New York can hold on to win their respective divisions, a first-round 4-5 matchup between the Giants and Packers would be a very strong possibility.
Two of the most important aspects of a rivalry are that neither team dominates the other too much and that both teams are successful. The recent battles between Green Bay and New York contain both.
Since 2007, the Packers have beaten the Giants three times, while New York has won twice against Green Bay, including the playoffs. During that same span, the two teams accumulated a total regular season record of 117-63, a playoff record of 13-4 and three Super Bowl victories.
There really aren’t too many interdivisional rivalries anymore. Patriots-Colts and Giants-Jets are the two biggest ones right now, with classic matchups like Cowboys-Steelers or Cowboys-49ers lacking the same substance they used to.
But the Packers-Giants rivalry? Now there’s one that always creates excitement, even in the blowouts.
Hopefully, this one lasts for awhile.
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