Who would have thought in Week Nine that we'd be watching the Green Bay Packers take the field in a playoff game mere months later? Most Packers fans hopes for the season were in serious doubt after a bad loss to the previously winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The team that defeated the Arizona Cardinals this past Sunday looks like an entirely different group of athletes than earlier in the year. Having won seven of their last eight games, the Packers 4-4 start is merely a distant memory and they are now playing their best football going into the playoffs. Coming off the victory in Arizona, the No. 5-seeded Packers will embark on a rematch to the No. 4-seeded Arizona Cardinals. Players and fans alike are hoping that the 33-7 win from the previous Sunday can and will be repeated.
McCarthy knows his team will see a different Arizona team come this Sunday. Several starters, including quarterback Kurt Warner, sat for the majority of the final regular-season game. The Packers were in control of the whole game, outgaining Arizona with 345 yards to the Cardinals' 187, and dominating the time of possession by holding the ball for over 37 minutes. Before Rodger's took to the bench in the fourth, he threw for 235 yards and a touchdown on 21-of-26 passing. While the Cardinals players might be more rested, it cannot help them psychologically to know that they have to play the same team that just cleaned their clock seven days earlier.
If the Packers win, they will have defeated the Cardinals in the preseason, regular season, and playoffs. As a Wild Card team, they will be looking to become the third team in five years to win three straight road games to get to the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh did it in 2005 and who can forget the New York Giants in 2007... and both won the title.
And it begs acknowledgment that if the Packers do win, they will be one step closer to a third shot at Brutus/Judas Favre. Though the road is still a long one, the Packers are certainly headed in the right direction. Get ready, Brett. Green Bay may not be done with you yet.
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