The next stop for the Green Bay Packers on their pursuit of perfection is an opponent that has ruined unbeaten seasons for foes in the past.
The New York Giants , however, currently do not resemble a team posing such a threat.
The Packers will present a second straight well-rested opponent to the stumbling Giants on Sunday when these teams headed in opposite directions meet at MetLife Stadium.
Led by Aaron Rodgers ' astounding 33 touchdown passes to four interceptions, Green Bay is five games away from a perfect regular season. The Packers will wrap up the NFC North with a victory and a loss by Detroit at New Orleans on Sunday night.
Green Bay has won 17 straight - four shy of the NFL record including the playoffs set by the Patriots from 2003-04.
"It is motivating to go out every week and compete better than you did the previous," Rodgers said. "We have been able to play the way we wanted to play consistently the first 11 games. We will see what happens when we get down this road a little bit."
The Packers' win streak began with a 45-17 home rout of the Giants in the next-to-last week of the 2010 regular season. New York would have clinched a playoff spot and eliminated Green Bay with a victory.
Instead the Giants missed the playoffs for a second straight year and appear on the verge of another collapse. They have lost three straight, and have a short week to get ready after allowing 577 yards - the franchise's second-highest total - in Monday's 49-24 loss at New Orleans.
New York (6-5) has dropped one game behind Dallas in the NFC East.
"We will bounce back and that is the thing I believe in," coach Tom Coughlin said. "That is what we preach. It is a time for us to be bold and not sit back and listen to what all of you are saying. Rather, just to come out fighting and that is the position we will take."
New York has a history of ruining unbeaten seasons, ending Denver's 13-0 start in 1998 although the Broncos went on to win a second straight Super Bowl. More notably, Coughlin's Giants ended New England's bid for a 19-0 season with a 17-14 win in Super Bowl XLII.
"It is a different circumstance when we played but it is the challenge of playing a team that is obviously a very good football team," Coughlin said. "That part is consistent."
The Giants were defenseless against a New Orleans team coming off its bye. The Packers have also had time to rest since their Thanksgiving win at Detroit.
New York could be even more hard-pressed to generate a pass rush to counter Rodgers since two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora is expected to miss the game with an ankle injury.
Umenyiora was mainly a non-factor in last season's meeting as Rodgers threw for 404 yards and four scores.
"We just executed really well," said Rodgers about that game. "We started off with the 80-yard touchdown to Jordy Nelson and we were just able to make the plays that we needed to make."
Another high-scoring affair could be in order, with Rodgers third in the league in passing yards with 3,475 and Eli Manning fourth at 3,358. The Packers are 31st in pass defense (287.8 yards per game) and the Giants 26th (251.2).
The Packers will be short-handed due to injuries from the win over the Lions. Right guard Josh Sitton hurt his knee, starting inside linebackers A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop both suffered calf injuries and none of them will play Sunday. Running back James Starks tweaked an ankle problem last week but is probable.
The Giants own the NFL's worst rushing attack in yards per game (82.3) and per carry (3.2). They will get a boost if Ahmad Bradshaw returns after missing the last four games with a broken bone in his right foot.
The abysmal running game is a major reason why New York has failed to score a first-half touchdown over the last four games.
"That is something that we have to fix," Manning said. "We have to find ways to get down there and get touchdowns."
Although Green Bay's pass defense is poor, Manning will have to be wary of the unit's league-high 22 interceptions. He was picked off four times in last season's matchup.
From what the Packers are saying, overconfidence won't be a problem.
"The most important mindset that we have as a football team is staying in touch with reality and the reality is we have to go to New York and beat the Giants," coach Mike McCarthy said. "That's a challenge. That's a tough place to play. They're a physical football team."