Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 11/23/12
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- The Green Bay Packers again have a defense that they believe can win games for them."You know, last year, there weren't many games where you'd say that," Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. "Of course, our offense was playing so well, it was such a different scenario."This year, the Aaron Rodgers-led offense isn't as unstoppable, which is why the NFL MVP appreciates the defense's return to form."For our defense to play that way, it gives our offense a ton of confidence, knowing that we don't have to press thinking that we got to score just about every possession in order to win the game," Rodgers said earlier this week on his weekly radio show. "They keep playing like this, we're going to be tough to beat."Last year's defense ranked dead last in the 32-team NFL in yards allowed, gave up more passing yards than any defense in NFL history and finished 19th in scoring defense.In 2012, the defense entered this week's games 16th in yards allowed per game (343.9), 21st in yards passing allowed per game (244.4), 11th in yards rushing allowed per game (99.5), 10th in scoring defense (20.7 points per game) and second in sacks (33). Coach Mike McCarthy now acknowledges that last year's defense simply wasn't good enough, prompting him to focus on making his team more balanced."Our special teams has graded out consistently as the best unit. The defense graded out this week (against Detroit) as the best unit," McCarthy said. "Offensively, we have to pick it up. We didn't grade very well."But that's how you win the hard games. That's why you win the tough games. That's what good teams do."And that's why the Packers may be in better position for a long playoff run this year."Last year, if the offense struggled, the team struggled," veteran defensive tackle Ryan Pickett said. "Now this year, I think it's more of a team effort. I think we pick each other up."Never were the Packers' issues last season more evident than in the two games they played against the Giants -- their opponent again Sunday night.In the Dec. 4 regular-season meeting at MetLife Stadium, the Packers won a 38-35 shootout on Mason Crosby's game-winning 31-yard field goal as time expired.The Packers' offense racked up 449 yards, but the Giants had 447. The Packers' offense scored touchdowns on four of its five trips into the red zone; the Giants scored on three of their four. The Packers' 12 possessions ended in four touchdowns, five punts, one interception, one missed field goal and Crosby's game-winner. The Giants' 12 possessions ended in four touchdowns, four punts, two field goals, one interception and one fumble.Then, in the Jan. 15 rematch in the NFC divisional playoffs at Lambeau Field, when the offense wasn't up to the task of going touchdown-for-touchdown with the Giants, the Packers were in trouble.In a 37-20 loss that wasn't that close, they allowed Eli Manning to complete 21 of 33 passes for 330 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Rodgers was very un-Rodgers-like (26 of 46, 264 yards, two TDs, one INT, one lost fumble). The Giants racked up 420 total yards, and the Packers managed only one sack and one takeaway.The Giants converted half of their third-down situations. With the Packers offense turning the ball over four times, the defense couldn't save the day with takeaways of its own.This year's defense is different, and that's obvious to Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who had Capers as his defensive coordinator in Jacksonville for two seasons."The Packers' defensive team last year had a tremendous amount of takeaways," Coughlin said Wednesday. "This year's team has not as many takeaways, but they appear to be playing a much tighter, much better defense. The personnel combinations are really obvious, lots of young players contributing."Last Sunday against the Lions, the Packers offense managed only two touchdowns: Rodgers' 20-yard first-quarter TD to Jermichael Finley and his go-ahead 22-yard TD to Randall Cobb in the fourth quarter. But the Packers won because of safety M.D. Jennings' 72-yard interception return for a touchdown and the way the defense, trailing 17-14, held the Lions to a field goal late in the fourth quarter when a touchdown likely would have put the game out of reach."What you want is a confidence level with your team that there's going to be days that one side of the ball's not clicking. And you're good enough that the other side picks up the slack," Capers said. "To me, that's an indication of a good football team."That way, you don't always have to depend on having to outscore people. And obviously being a defensive guy, I've always felt that if you have a good defense, it gives you a chance."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Cam Newton to be named NFL MVP

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Sacramento Kings seriously considering firing George Karl

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rick Pitino says school should be penalized, 'but not this team'

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban defends hack-a-player strategy

Jameis Winston awarded Pepsi NFL rookie of the Year

Trade Rumors: Clippers ‘reluctant’ to deal injured Blake Griffin

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

Terrell Owens says he was not elected to Hall of Fame

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

$40,000 in Super Bowl tickets stolen from San Francisco hotel

Rams fan makes Super Bowl commercial ripping Stan Kroenke

Panthers LB wants 'clown' Rodney Harrison off the air

Jason Reid: Tom Brady will play at least three more years

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker