As a Packers fan looking over the NFC playoff field, there isn’t a single team that I look forward to seeing as an opponent. There are too many potential interlopers into this quest for back-to-back Super Bowl titles … too many chances for other teams to come at the king.
The Saints are an obvious team to want to avoid. They are hot, they are playoff tested, they can score and they have the intangibles on the field and on the coaching staff. Then there is the Week 1 matchup that – for all itensive purposes – was a coin flip away from going in New Orleans favor there at the end of the game. At least this matchup wouldn’t happen until the NFC Championship game. And it would be in Green Bay… where it was nearly 50-odd degrees today.
No need to see the Lions again either. Having faced Detroit twice this season – including the Week 17 shootout, I do not want to face a week of the sure-to-come “No team beats a team three times in a season” talk.
Atlanta? No way… Not only do they have payback on their minds from last year – and from earlier this season as well – but the situation would be nearly reversed from a year ago. In the Divisional round, the Packers went into Atlanta as a wild card and knocked off the NFC’s top seed. Then there is that 2003 playoff game against Atlanta at Lambeau… Sure, Michael Vick isn’t there, but do we need to see the replays?
And previous postseason disasters would also be in the air should Green Bay face the Giants. Hello… 2007 NFC Championship game anyone. Nevermind that New York played the Packers as close as anyone this season, and they matchup really well in the areas they would need to in order to defeat Green Bay. The Giants know how to navigate through the playoffs in these situations… And that doesn’t excite me.
So that leaves San Francisco, and while many of the points above also apply to San Francisco, there is one aspect that scares me more than any other. The 49ers are in the same position now that the Packers were in 1995 when Craig Newsome forced a fumble and Wayne Simmons returned it for a touchdown and sent the Packers on their way to a long-awaited win of San Fran.
And of course the 49ers have enough talent to make this happen.
Ah ya know what… Heck with it. Bring it on. Green Bay is the defending champs until they aren’t. Enjoy the playoffs everyone.