2019 Wild Card Weekend - That's What Cheese Said

Wild Card Weekend did not disappoint, and now the Packers are prepping for a Divisional Round matchup at Lambeau Field against the Seattle Seahawks. 

Both NFC road teams won on Wild Card Weekend, and the Packers are looking to put a stop to that this Sunday as the Seattle Seahawks travel to Lambeau Field for yet another chapter in a storied playoff rivalry. 

This season, the Seahawks actually have a better record on the road than at home at CenturyLink Field, so Head Coach Matt LaFleur has a request for any Packers fans traveling to Lambeau for the game Sunday.

“Hopefully we get our fans nice and loud this weekend and we’ll have quite the home field advantage here,” he said.

The Packers needed the bye week to recover from some of the injuries the team sustained Week 17 in Detroit. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga is still working his way through the concussion protocol, and left guard Elgton Jenkins is the current player battling a flu that’s making the rounds in the locker room. 

For the players, they know the bye was an opportunity for the team to get healthy for what they’re hoping is a long playoff run. 

“Yeah I feel great. You know, I started all 16 and I wasn’t in the training room a whole lot,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said, which is refreshing after his 2017 and 2018 seasons. “I’ve felt great from about Week 8 on.”

Green Bay won five straight games to earn a playoff bye, but the team knows better than to rest on their regular season record of 13-3. 

“I think you have a chance to start fresh and you have a chance to carry on whatever, however you kind of enter the playoffs, you have to try to harness that energy,” said Rodgers. 

“We’ve won five in a row. No one here is going to say we’re on a tear, because you guys like telling us how we’re just kind of an average team that knows how to win, which is fine. But the key point is the win part. Because right now we’re two wins from the Super Bowl, and we know for sure the first one’s gonna be here.”

Rodgers has played in 15 playoff games in his career and only five of them have been at Lambeau Field. He knows as well as anyone the importance of having a home playoff game. So does Veteran kicker Mason Crosby who is another of only four players remaining from the Super Bowl XLV team. 

“It’s the last game of the Divisional Round, so it’s gonna be a fun one,” Crosby said. “I’m excited about this weekend; I’m excited to kind of get back on the field and get preparing for a game. It was nice to have the weekend off and get to watch some games...but as soon as that game was over last night I was ready to roll. It’s going to be a good one.”

While there’s plenty of playoff familiarity with the Seattle Seahawks, to the players, it’s just another game. Tramon Williams told the media his advice to the rookies was to remain even-keeled and treat it like any other football game. When asked if Williams holds any extra motivation knowing how the 2014 NFC Championship Game ended in Seattle, he smiled and downplayed the question, saying he’s just thankful he was given another opportunity to put on a Packers uniform. 

“New year, new team, new energy to it. I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “We’re just happy we’re here in front of our crowd.”

When asked what makes this team so special, a lot of guys said similar things, attributing the team’s success to the tight knit nature of the squad as a whole. 

“I think across the board, this is the tightest team I’ve been a part of in my history. Guys care. Guys are helping each other on both sides of the ball,” said Lucas Patrick, who filled in for Corey Linsley at center midway through the Detroit game.

“We have a bunch of guys on our team that can corral and come together, and when we do that, that’s when we play our best ball,” said Jaire Alexander. 

“I think at this point, the thing that really makes it work on both sides of the ball is obviously those guys who have played at such a high level, but there’s so many role players who don’t get a lot of credit who deserve part of the appreciation for what they’ve done outside of the ball,” said Rodgers. “And there’s a lot of guys who do their job consistently and make plays, don’t get the fanfare, but are a really important part of what we’re doing on both sides of the ball.”

There were plenty of Packers that made strong cases for the Pro Bowl or All-Pro teams, and with only David Bakhtiari securing a second-team All-Pro nod, that simply added fuel to the fire for players like Aaron Jones and Za’Darius Smith. 

“These guys are intrinsically motivated to put their best out there, I don’t necessarily think whether they get voted to this team or that team, that’s gonna make a huge difference. I think it’s about these guys, like I said, the character in that room.”

The guys in that locker room fully understand what’s at stake on Sunday against Seattle, and you can bet they’ll also be keeping a close eye on Saturday’s matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers. 

“You gotta play two games and win two games to get to the final stage and I think everybody knows how critical obviously the one in front of us is first,” said Davante Adams. “And then we worry about the stuff after that. We definitely are aware and it’s a good feeling to be in this spot.”

“I like the matchup against Seattle here. I guess we’re hoping Minnesota can go beat San Fran out there and then we try to get a home NFC Championship,” said Crosby. 

The Packers won the NFC North. That was step one. Now it’s time to win in the playoffs and make a Super Bowl run.

 

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Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

9 points

Comments (16)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Razer's picture

January 07, 2020 at 03:52 pm

I didn't give this team much of a chance to get to a first round bye - particularly after not playing a 'complete' game all season. Truly remarkable. All I ask is that we lay a beating on those S-Hawks. I can rest in peace after that. Thank you.

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SterlingSharpe's picture

January 07, 2020 at 03:57 pm

The 3 remaining teams are teams who have beaten us in the playoffs this century.
#RevengeTour

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 07, 2020 at 04:11 pm

"Oh, make no mistake. It's not revenge he's after. It's a reckoning."

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Lare's picture

January 07, 2020 at 04:08 pm

I never thought the Packers would make it to the playoffs under a first year head coach. This game and any others are icing on the cake to me.

May the best team win.

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Packers0808's picture

January 07, 2020 at 04:53 pm

Gut feeling Packers win going away! And I have a big gut!

13 points
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Lphill's picture

January 07, 2020 at 05:47 pm

This is what it’s all about , we will know who the Packers are after this game, Aaron Rodgers needs to show up and I think the Smiths are ready for some football.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 07, 2020 at 09:33 pm

LaFleur just said the Fans better show up. It will be cold after sundown, so hopefully they start with the anti-freeze a little later than usual and stay awake during the contest. The crowd should be O.K. as long as the old man gives his tickets to the kids and their friends. If this defense falls for a Philly Special as in the Viking game and the NEXT week at Detroit which resulted in a TD, then you know they are cooked. This is the Game LaFleur takes command of this team
on all sides of the ball.

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CAG123's picture

January 07, 2020 at 05:51 pm

199, 162, and 253 these numbers represent the rushing totals for the teams that handed the Hawks their three double digit losses in those games Russ was sacked 11 total times with 5 each coming from the Rams and Cardinals. This team is made for the Packers to beat and beat handily we got the Smiths, KC, Jones, and Rodgers the Packers lines on both sides of the ball are better. Yes Russ is an X-factor but in those games he was nullified and the Hawks were bullied up front.

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wildbill's picture

January 07, 2020 at 06:07 pm

Of course controlling the los and turnovers will be key but I am nervous as we have played “down” to many opponents this year. I really think the winner of the Rodgers vs Wilson will win the day and this game will go down to the last possession

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splitpea1's picture

January 07, 2020 at 08:22 pm

Actually, Rodgers has played in 16 playoff games (including the Super Bowl), and only 5 have been at home, with the Packers winning 3. Hopefully the days are over where he has to carry defense-less teams, and I'm glad the new front office realized they had to invest money in great players and leaders on that side of the ball.

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Thegravedigger's picture

January 07, 2020 at 09:23 pm

I wanna see the role players step up this week. If mvs catches a deep ball thadt be huge for his mental game and confidence going forward. I also like tyler ervin as an x factor out of the backfield and in the slot. And jamal williams. I wanna see him punishing them. Second half smashmouth 5 yard runs turn into 6 7 8 yard runs.

4 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

January 07, 2020 at 09:44 pm

Hopefully, MVS will be on the Inactive list. As the previous blogger noted, you have to smash the ball down their throats the entire game. Split backfield will help and the Pack will have three healthy running backs. Work the WCO to Adams, Lazard and Graham. Move the chains. It will be cold. MVS is not Plaxico Burress dominating the Defense a' la 2007 NFC. Metcalf has the same physique, but not the same ability as a route runner. Carroll will take his chance with him. King has to have a great game and I believe he will.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 07, 2020 at 09:31 pm

If we can protect the ball, and protect Rodgers, we should be in good shape. I think our defense is going to stop Seattle pretty well.

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mrj007's picture

January 07, 2020 at 09:59 pm

Rodgers said only two wins from the SB and “the first one will for sure be here”. Did he just sort of guarantee a win? The way it reads it kinda sounds like it!

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fastmoving's picture

January 07, 2020 at 11:08 pm

So you say he knows the future??? I would be already pleased if he plays like a top 10 QB and hit some open WR. That would help more than gurantee any BS.

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BobWellhoefer's picture

January 08, 2020 at 11:56 am

I certainly hope so! Go PACK!

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