A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
A Question of Momentum
After beating the Arizona Cardinals convincingly last Sunday in Phoenix, the Packers return to the desert to play the same team this Sunday at 3:30 p.m. CT in the NFC Wild-Card Playoffs.
Their 11-5 regular season record means nothing now. Throw that record out the window. Now it’s put up or shut up time for Green Bay.
“I feel very good about our football team,” head coach Mike McCarthy said Monday. “I like the way our football team looks right now. I like the energy they’re playing with.
“I like the way they prepare, and I like the way they’ve focused. And we’ll totally in tune with the fact that playoff football is different.
“We have a group of men that experienced this two years ago. We have a group of men that have not experienced it.”
Green Bay’s last playoff run ended with a loss at home to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants in Brett Favre’s last game as the Packers’ quarterback in 2008.
Don’t expect Arizona to lie down as they did in the preseason and the last regular season game against Green Bay. They will be ready.
Remember, they’re the defending NFC champions. And if not for a spectacular game from the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Cardinals would’ve had a title to celebrate.
Speaking of Favre, his Minnesota team gets a week off and will host a home game in the NFC Divisional Playoffs Jan. 16 or 17.
Green Bay players and fans would really lick their chops if they get a chance to face the Vikings a third time. There are still some bitter feelings after being swept by the purple and gold this year.
For that to happen, Philadelphia must beat Dallas on the road this weekend and the Packers have to win, of course.
It’s possible that Green Bay could host the NFC Championship Game Jan. 24, but both the Packers and Eagles have to run the tables, meaning they must win two playoff games each.
Upsets of New Orleans and Minnesota would trump the oddsmakers in Vegas. If that happens, Green Bay would be the home team because they’re seeded higher than Philadelphia (5th vs. 6th).
After the Tampa Bay loss, Green Bay had a 4-4 record. Uncertainty settled in. The players had a meeting. Everyone refocused on the job ahead, and the team won seven out of the last eight games.
The offensive line is playing much better, especially after re-signing tackle Mark Tauscher. The Packers allowed 37 sacks in the regular season. The defense came on strong in the last half of the season.
It would be all for naught if Green Bay’s season ends after this weekend.
Forget just making the playoffs. Green Bay need three wins to reach the Super Bowl. They have to take the postseason approach one game at a time.