After beating the Chicago Bears to clinch the NFC North, the Green Bay Packers will have to face the San Francisco 49ers, again.
This Sunday the Packers will take on the 49ers in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game.
As a Packers fan, I’m happy to see them make it this far into the playoffs. It was touch and go for a while, first Clay Matthews broke his thumb in the week 5 game against the Lions, then Randall Cobb got hurt in the game against the Ravens in week 6, then Jermichael Finley’s season ending injury he suffered week 7 against the Browns, and quite possibly the greatest loss for the team for a while, when Aaron Rodgers got hurt during the Monday Night Football game week 9 against the Bears.
All the worry and frustration dissipated when news broke that both Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb would be playing in the playoff game against the Bears.
Now a win against the 49ers will determine if the Packers continue their season.
When word came that the Packers would be playing the 49ers, flashbacks to last season’s final game against the 49ers began. It was the game that would send the winner to the Super Bowl. That winner was the 49ers. That game still stings for this fan.
That game was played in San Francisco though. Maybe the bitter cold of winter in Green Bay could be an advantage for the team? Not necessarily so according to Rodgers, “You know, not everybody in this locker room is from the great state of Wisconsin. We do practice in it, live in it. I think we’re going to be better adapting to it initially, but once the game starts, it’s about who can execute in the cold weather. It does some different things to the football. It’s about taking care of the football in the playoffs and making some big plays. It definitely does change the texture of the football. So, you have to factor that in when you’re tossing the ball to a (running) back or when you’re throwing it. You have to make some small adjustments.”
However, that bitter cold could have one downfall – fewer butts in the seats at Lambeau Field, but head coach Mike McCarthy isn’t worried about ticket sales. “I’m not concerned about it. Lambeau Field, I fully expect and have great confidence that it will be an incredible environment come Sunday. We have great fans. These are the games our fans live for, so I really have no concern about it at all. I have confidence that whatever needs to be done will be done,” said McCarthy.
With their offense looking fresh again, it’s the defense the Packers need to worry about and keeping 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick contained. The Packers defense was ranked 29th and they have been struggling the past nine weeks. Matthews breaking his right thumb again in the week 16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers isn’t helping either.
These injuries and changes the Packers have faced this season doesn’t seem to phase McCarthy. “We’re a playoff football team. Our identity has changed. This team has embraced it, and we know it’s going to take the full game to get it done, and that’s the way we play,” said McCarthy.
You can watch the Packers take on the 49ers on Sunday, January 5 on FOX at 4:40 p.m. EST.