Cory's Corner: The Packers Are Ready

The Packers are playing their best ball and now they just have to execute and play their game — Super Bowl LV awaits. 

The Packers are on the doorstep. 

Everything is there for them. The Packers are the ones that have averged 31.5 points a game. It's Green Bay that has averaged 164 rushing yards in the last seven games. The Packers are also only giving 18 points in that span. 

Sunday's NFC Championship Game is the first home title game for Aaron Rodgers. That doesn't even seem possible. In his 13th season as a starter, Rodgers will finally be playing in familiar territory. 

"That's what I dreamt about, being a part of an organization that had that kind of excellence," said Rodgers, who leads the league in passing touchdowns (48), passer rating (121.5) and completion percentage (70.7) and will most likely be bringing home his third MVP award next month. "Vince Lombardi, all the quotes that he has that still resonate to this day. The trophy is named after him for a reason. ... It's a special place to play."

It certainly has been this season. The Packers have been 8-1 at Lambeau Field. A stingy defensive unit has allowed nine touchdown passes and has tallied seven picks at home. Opposing passers have had a passer rating of 77.4 at home and 103.6 on the road. 

The reason the Packers are here is because they are a team of chameleons. Davante Adams is easily the best receiver in the game, but in the last three games, three different receivers have led this team in receiving. Rodgers really trusts his wideouts, even though Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard have combined for 13 drops. 

But the biggest bump in play has come on the defensive side of the ball. Rashan Gary just had his best game of the season last week and it's clear that he doesn't want this ride to end. Gary and Za'Darius Smith are the co-leaders on the team in quarterback hurries and Kenny Clark — who continually dodges double teams — is third. And then there's shutdown corner Jaire Alexander and the amazing ball-hawk Darnell Savage has turned into. 

However, all of those stars don't mean anything if they cannot solve the riddle that has been the 43-year-old Tom Brady and his never say die attitude. Everyone — including myself — cannot wait until Brady just goes away. But amazingly, 27 percent of his passing yards went 20 yards or more. He can somehow still get it done. 

"We always talk about winning the pre-snap and equating it to a poker game," said Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who is 3-10 vs. Brady as a defensive coordinator. "You obviously don't want to be the sucker at the table. And if you find yourself early in the game and he's looking at you every play, then you're probably holding your cards the wrong way."

The Packers are the best NFL team still standing. The offense is clicking on all cylinders and the defense is finally playing as one unit as opposed to a collection of individuals. But this is Rodgers' time now. He is finally playing at his house. This is his year and he's been smiling more during games than I can ever remember. He is genuinely happy, and that might be Tampa's toughest opponent of all. 

"He basically does everything well, so he's got great command and experience," said Tom Brady about his fellow No. 12. "And (his) leadership — players are playing hard. He's got a great style of play."

 

 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

8 points

Comments (30)

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

January 23, 2021 at 07:33 am

Can the defense put pressure on Brady and make him uncomfortable? Will the defense be able to stop the run game by the Bucs? Will the middle of the field be open for easy completions as it has been for most of the season? Will the Packers be able to get their running game going? Will Rodgers be patient and look for shorter completions to move the chains, or will he get impatient and go for the big gain? Will the Packers be able to take an early lead and not get complacent in the third quarter, in particular? Lots of questions; the answers will be provided Sunday. But at this point, it's SB or another wasted season.

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fastmoving's picture

January 23, 2021 at 08:50 am

We did not wast much season, because we were competitivv most of the years. What more can you ask more than a interesting season, playoffs and good football.
Luck is always a big factor and so we are better than als teams in the last 30 years, and way better, accept NE.
There was maybe 2 or 3 bad esasons and maybe 1-2 wasted.
How can some dramaqueens here acting like we should every year. This is the NFL and the beauty is the equality.
Sure should we win at all, but even if we do not, I had a lot of joy this year. You should be way more thankfull and you should taking noting for granted.
This complaining all the time is a disgrace for the GREEN BAY PACKERS

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Johnblood27's picture

January 23, 2021 at 09:12 am

speak and spell English properly please, and stop complaining about fans wanting their team to win, not just show up and get a participation trophy.

We are FANS, some of us call ourselves OWNERS, but we are just fans.

We are FANS. We are not players, we are not front office execs, we do not call the shots and our influence is minimal except at crucial times in the stadium when our voices can be heard exhorting our chosen heroes onward.

We are FANS, commenting on the vicissitudes of our chosen team is what we DO. We pay the freight. Our dollars make it possible for the sports world to exist as we know it. Our interest drives the dollars and fuels the entire machine.

We are FANS, we pay for the privilege of extolling the virtues of our chosen team and heroes and also the privilege of criticizing the same organizations and individuals as we see fit.

Please do not criticize FANS for doing exactly what FANS can and will do, that is just plain ignorant.

3 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 23, 2021 at 09:25 am

I think it’s stupid for people who know very little to be so critical of one of the great runs in Packers history.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 23, 2021 at 12:29 pm

I find it ironic that johnblood complains about someone's English, then proceeds to write in all capital letters and uses improper word shortages such as "execs". He further writes in run-on sentences with incorrect grammar. It is obvious that johnblood lacks the educational background to criticize anyone's writing.

Anytime you see someone whining about "participation trophies" you can be sure that person is a loser in life. Guess what johnblood? I have coached multiple grade school sports teams and we always gave each child a trophy at the end of the season. Each and every one of those children are now functioning, well-adjusted adults, certainly more well-adjusted than you. Acknowledging their contributions to the team effort did not turn them into "snowflakes", or diminish their desire to achieve in in life.

How dare you attempt to speak for other fans? Each individual's fan experience is their own. You have no right to describe how another person should cheer for the Packers and enjoy being a Packers fan. Do not ever attempt to tell me or any other person how to be a fan.

I abhor cursing on this site but you have driven me to make a one time exception to my rule. You, sir, can take your child hating, regressive attitude and gfy.

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murf7777's picture

January 23, 2021 at 07:43 am

As wise ol Vic would say “players play”. We can blame or give credit to the coaches, but most of the time it’s the players execution that makes the difference of wins and losses. Just execute an we win. That means, make your catches, throw ball in catchers radius, block opponent out of the play, tackle with arms, take ball away when given opportunity, etc....players will be the ones who decide the outcome to the largest extent. GPG

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4thand10's picture

January 23, 2021 at 09:07 am

This is going to be a tough game.I almost want a boring game at this point. What I mean by boring is just using Denard Dafney in a FB role and pounding Dillon and Williams...sprinkled in with Jones. The short passing game will NOT work with TB. NO tried it and failed. Outside of Adams NOs WRs were way better. TB plays a 4-3 cover 2 man which Rodgers has struggled with. They play man and smother the line.

But if GB stays patient with the running game, deep shots will be there on play action.

On defense....Gotta pressure Brady and contain Ronald Jones and company. If Pettine does not incorporate
That additional DL similar to the Tennessee game, Brady will have all day to throw an they will steam roll again. TBs OL are just that good...and they love using extra TEs. So I think Pettine has to rush more than 4 and not let up.

And finally, I would like to see 1 or 2 out of the ordinary trick plays used.....flee flickers...I don’t care. Just something to catch them off guard. No mistakes on special teams.

11 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

January 23, 2021 at 09:34 am

And on defense be ready for some trickeration with Ariens scheming. The safeties have to stay alert.

4 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

January 23, 2021 at 07:12 pm

I'm hoping to see some trickeration of our own as the boys matriculate the ball down the field. What's Hackett got in that bag we haven't seen yet?

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Jared's picture

January 23, 2021 at 09:44 pm

I agree with you except that Drew Brees is not the QB he once was and AR is a way better QB than Brees is now. Plus we have better receivers than NO has. Also in that game Brees threw 3 ints. If I remember correctly that resulted in 21pts.

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Since'61's picture

January 23, 2021 at 09:41 am

When a team has the success that the Packers offense has achieved this season it is primarily because of excellent OL play. The OL will once again be the key to this game.

If they maintain their level of play the Packers will score and keep Brady off the field. Keep Brady and the Bucs offense freezing on the sidelines.

Keys to the game:
1. Packers OL play
2. Solid tackling by the Packers defense
3. Pressure on Brady
4. No turnovers
5. No penalties

Bottom line if we execute we win. Keep our foot on the gas, no prisoners and no excuses. We’re playing at home, with at least some fans in the stands. This is our time.
Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ‘61

16 points
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KneelYoung's picture

January 23, 2021 at 10:11 am

Wish we were playing today. Ready to rock and roll. I looked back at the box score for the week 6 game with TB. Really interesting. Darius Shepherd and Malik Taylor being targeted on offense. Josh Jackson and Ty Summers in the top five for team tackles. (Josh Jackson was number 2) Aaron Jones having 10 carries and Williams having 4 carries. Rodgers with 164 passing yards. ..... Time to turn the page from that aberration of a game. We have come a long way since that week. I hope to see that wonderful smile of Aaron Rodgers all game long.

10 points
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TarynsEyes's picture

January 23, 2021 at 10:14 am

The key to the game is simple. The Packers need to play to the level they have for the last 4 games. If they don't, expect a loss as like week 6. I don't believe the Packers can overcome trailing a true double-digit lead (14) against the Bucs if they were to fall behind, as this is where IMHO, MLF needs some growth.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 24, 2021 at 07:15 am

What is the difference between a "true" double digit lead and a "false" double digit lead? Does a "false" lead equate to the "fake news" cult belief that you subscribe to? Or is this simply more of your anti-data, science denying mantra?

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tonys247's picture

January 23, 2021 at 10:29 am

Watch Packers vs. Buccaneers Game Live Online :2021 NFL Conference Championship

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The opponent? Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who won six Super Bowls with New England and has a chance to win a seventh for his new team.

One day after the Packers mostly dominated the Los Angeles Rams in a 32-18 victory, the Buccaneers punished the New Orleans Saints 30-20 at the Superdome. The same swarming defense that made life miserable for Rodgers and Co. in October produced four takeaways and made Drew Brees look like an old man.

That set up a made-for-TV showdown between two living legends. Rodgers and Brady will meet for only the fourth time in their illustrious careers. It will be by far the most important, with Green Bays infamous loss at Seattle in the 2014 NFC Championship Game robbing the world of a Rodgers vs. Brady matchup in the Super Bowl. Rodgers desperately wants to win a second Super Bowl. Brady desperately wants to win a Super Bowl without Bill Belichick.

We ve got to go beat a great football team. Aarons playing incredible. Were going to have to play great to beat them,” Brady told Foxs Erin Andrews after the game.

The early forecast for Sunday is a high of 23 with a chance of snow.

While they never would have admitted it, the Packers probably would have preferred a matchup against Brees and the Saints. Never mind that Green Bay won at New Orleans 37-30 in Week 3 but lost at Tampa Bay 38-10 in Week 6. Brees, who has spent all 20 seasons playing in the warmth of San Diego or the dome in New Orleans, played in only one game with a kickoff temperature of 25 or colder. Brady, meanwhile, is a resounding 15-3.

Almost exactly three months ago, the Packers were outclassed by the Bucs. Coming off its bye, Green Bay raced to a 10-0 lead but Rodgers threw a pick-six and an interception on back-to-back possessions. The Packers never crossed midfield over the final three quarters. They had nine first downs on their first two possessions and four in their final 10.

Might need to add an extra finger to the scotch, but I do feel good about the team,” Rodgers said after a miserable afternoon. Ive played for so long, youre going to have a couple stinkers. I think about the game at New York many years ago [2012] where I hit Jordy (Nelson) on an out-and-up to start the game, and we lost 38-10. Tonight kind of felt like that, unfortunately, where you kind of got off to a nice start and then just nothing. So, I feel really good about our squad. Weve had four really, really good weeks, being efficient, winning, offensively being very explosive, defensively coming up with timely stops.

This is, I believe, an anomaly, not the beginning of a trend. And weve got a chance to prove me right next week.”

Rodgers was proven right again and again. The Packers will enter Sundays championship game with seven consecutive wins.

In a heavyweight showdown on Saturday, Green Bays top-ranked scoring offense overwhelmed the Rams top-ranked scoring defense. It will be a similar challenge on Sunday.

Brees was 19-of-34 passing for just 134 yards. Premier receiver Michael Thomas was shut out on four targets.

Rodgers, of course, is a far better player than Brees at this point in his career. Hes the likely MVP after throwing 48 touchdown passes in the regular season and two more in the playoffs. He led the NFL in passer rating, touchdown passes, completion percentage, touchdown percentage and interception percentage.

Tampa Bays defense is legit. The Bucs finished eighth in points allowed and first against the run with 80.6 yards per game and 3.60 yards per carry. Linebacker Devin White, who had 11 tackles and one interception against the Saints, had 10 tackles, one sack and three tackles for losses against Green Bay. The Bucs had five sacks in the first meeting.

While the reality is it will be Rodgers facing that dominant defense and Green Bays defense contending with the legendary Brady and his deep list of weapons, the hype will be centered on Rodgers vs. Brady – arguably the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.

When it comes to big picture and you guys writing your stories and telling that whole story, which I know is a part of it, its two older guys,” Rodgers said before the Week 6 game. Hes a little bit older than I am – hes got me by about six-and-a-half or seven years – but we havent played a lot because hes been in the AFC the majority of his career and Ive been over here.

Hes obviously done it at the highest of levels for so long. Hes been an icon at the position. Hes been somebody that weve all looked up to for so many years as the standard of excellence. I think theres a ton of admiration and respect for the way that hes played the game from so many of us, especially us guys whove been in the same era for so many years with him and gotten to compete with him every now and then being an NFC guy. I think its good that we just enjoy it for what it is, have respect and admiration for the way that we have played over this time, and enjoy where were at in our careers now.”

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wildbill's picture

January 23, 2021 at 10:56 am

Not to take anything away from the Bucs win over the Saints but Brees looked like he couldn’t throw 20 yards. His passes had no zip and his interceptions were pathetic . This allowed the Bucs to crowd the LOS and really press the WRs, which also affected the Saints ability to run. But still the Saints scored 20. I think if we don’t turn the ball over that we should be able to score enough to win as I don’t see a repeat of our previous meltdown.

6 points
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Bucsfan_12's picture

January 23, 2021 at 10:56 am

What will this game come down to- who can run the ball? Do the Packers really think they can stop Fournette and Jones? On the other hand, the Bucs have the #1 rush defense. A. Jones will not get much yardage at all against this Bucs D. Aaron Jones only had 15 yards on 10 carries in week 7. Adams had 6 catches for 61 yds- no TDs. Rodgers was an abysmal 16/35 for only 160 yards and 2 interceptions. As much as GB thinks they have improved since then, they must remember, TB has improved very much since that game as well. Rodgers is 1-3 in conference championship games. This is Tom Brady's 14th conference championship game. Rodgers- 1 super bowl win. Brady has 6.
Tom Brady alone, has more playoff wins (32) than all but 5 franchises. It's also easy to notice the Bucs have better weapons and a better defense.
One thing is for certain, when Aaron Rodgers says he feels no pressure this week, he is full of BS. He is nervous as hell, and he knows it. All the pressure is on Rodgers and the Packers. The Bucs have already far surpassed their expectations for the year. But, Brady isn't done yet. Now, the Packers have to go against the G.O.A.T.
Better keep your eye on #45, Mr Rodgers, because he's gonna bring it on Sunday

-8 points
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wildbill's picture

January 23, 2021 at 10:59 am

Love reading fiction, thanks for the laugh

4 points
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TheKanataThrilla's picture

January 23, 2021 at 11:23 am

Let me guess you were Patsfan_12 last year?

4 points
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PeteK's picture

January 23, 2021 at 11:41 am

Check out these #s 48-5 as opposed to 40-12. Pamper Bay "say hello to my frosty friend, LAMBEAU"

2 points
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Bure9620's picture

January 23, 2021 at 12:03 pm

Great unbiased opinion with literally no worthwhile analysis. Packers fans (most of us) do quite a bit of matchup analysis. I would remind you this is a week to week league. The Bucs were embarrassed by New Orleans 38-3, lost to them twice and win last week. Now all you bucs fans think this game is a repeat of week 6 which is pretty hilarious. You will be gone after Sunday.....

1 points
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PeteK's picture

January 23, 2021 at 12:00 pm

If we're rushing the ball at a 4 yd clip after the 1st quarter, it spells trouble for Bucs as it will open up our dangerous playaction. On defense the Bucs will move the ball , but it will stall past our 40. I'm worried about Barnes' injury( could see more of Martin), Keke out, and King being questionable. Fournette has to be contained running and catching the ball. Will some unlikely player step up, Martin,Harrison, ESQ, Austin, Sternberger. Holmgren and MM had a knack of adding a wrinkle to the offense before big games, will Lafleur. A Jaire blitz?

2 points
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PatrickGB's picture

January 23, 2021 at 02:11 pm

I agree. And I cannot see the Packers winning this one. It’s not that I think that Brady is better because he is not! It’s not even close. Rather it’s about their team as a whole and the injury’s you mentioned. And don’t forget the loss of two of our offensive linemen. The others have stepped up nicely but with the addition of Vita and the speed of their linebackers I don’t see much success in the Packers run game. I have been reading about how the plan is for the Packers to run up the middle no matter if it’s working or not. Ok? So that means a lot of third and longs and probably punts and relying on our sucky special teams.

0 points
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PewAuKeeFan's picture

January 23, 2021 at 02:35 pm

Thank goodness you're not the official Packers' motivator!

2 points
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dblbogey's picture

January 23, 2021 at 04:59 pm

I just hope he doesn't work for suicide hotline. Depressing.

1 points
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PatrickGB's picture

January 23, 2021 at 11:57 am

This, to me, is the most important game of the season. This is our toughest opponent. I would rather see us against the Chiefs. I think that we are built to beat them. But I can’t see the Packers win this one, home field or no home field. I want to but don’t see how we can. But that’s ok because I remain a fan. I don’t expect them to blow us out or anything yet I think that they have our number. I would enjoy seeing Brady beating his helmet against the bench and watching him swearing on the sideline. Just keep it close and not get blown out is my wish. My congratulations on a great season.

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PhantomII's picture

January 23, 2021 at 04:34 pm

PatrickGB, go watch the clip from Silverstein and Butler. Understand WE as a team beat ourselves in that game after a 10-0 lead. Pull yourself together. I say we win handily. Our offense is clicking..it wasn't then. Our defense is better than then. NO beat themselves. We execute...Rodgers plays better than Rams game....Our receivers catch better....OL makes bigger holes for RB's to run through or block better running outside...We win by 2 scores. GPG

-1 points
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NWPackersfan's picture

January 23, 2021 at 03:56 pm

To paraphrase The Great Lombardi...." You can't achieve perfection but you can damn well try!"
Go Pack GO!!!!

1 points
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CoachDino's picture

January 23, 2021 at 09:15 pm

Thought Pettine take on pre-snap strategy was interesting.

1 points
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