Things that come to mind as second-round playoff games conclude
The Green Bay Packers losing doesnt make the Bears any better and doesnt undo four Bears losses to them in a calendar year. But before Jay Cutler's injury, the Bears were a consensus threat to the Packers (which the Giants certainly turned out to be as well) and it does suggest that the NFC North is not as out of reach as worst-case thinking would suggest. And:
--Green Bay lost two of its last three games started by Aaron Rodgers.
The only Rodgers win since Dec. 11 was against the Bears
--Jermichael Finley is up for unrestricted free agency. So is Marques Colston, tag pending
--You have to be very good at something to be thinking about championships.
Baltimore and San Francisco rank 3-4 on defense; New York is 27 and the Patriots No. 31. But the Pats are No. 2 in offense, the Giants No. 8.
Defense doesnt necessarily win championships but a lack of one can keep you from winning one. The obvious difference between the 2010 Packers that won a Super Bowl from a start in the wild-card round and the 2011 one that was more than the turnovers. It was a defense that was shredded to the point of coach Mike McCarthy feeling compelled to try trickery in the form of an onsides kick (failed) to open Sundays second half.
Theres a significant couple of buts here, however.
Nine of the top 15 offenses for total yardage qualified for the playoffs. Only six of the top 15 defensive units were among the 12 playoff teams.
Mike Martz has philosophical differences with more than just Lovie Smith. The game-winning performances of tight ends alone (Vernon Davis in San Francisco, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in New England, even Jimmy Graham for New Orleans all season) point to Martz choosing not to use a major component of good offense.
The unfortunate reality is that the Bears had an effective modern tight end and were effectively forced to trade him away because he had no future in the offense as being cobbled together by Martz