The minute we saw the Sunday Night Football matchup between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints on the schedule, we knew we were in for a true primetime game. The first real test for the Packers brought the meeting of two legendary quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees.
Both headed for the Hall of Fame, they have faced equal scrutiny over the past few seasons with fans wondering “where has THE Rodgers been?” and “is it time for Brees to hang up the cleats?” Adding to the nervous excitement of the game was the fact that both teams would be without their stars, as wide receivers Michael Thomas and Davante Adams were sidelined.
The NFL schedules were released Thursday night, although we have known the opponents throughout the week. I was surprised to see Green Bay opening the season in Minnesota. I can’t remember a time the opener wasn’t a Chicago Bears/Green Bay Packers game. And I know I cannot be alone – this is actually the first time in Packers franchise history.
Due to the pandemic, what will games even look like this season? Will the number of fans be limited severely, with at least 6ft of space between seats? Or will we only be able to watch in our houses, and sports bars? How will the lack of crowd hype make a difference in a player’s game?
There was a feeling right at the start of the NFC Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers. A feeling that the 49ers were completely dialed in. And they were. It was pretty much over right after it got going.
The 49ers scored on their second series of the game, and that was pretty much it, they never looked back. Running back Raheem Mostert was definitely the star of the game. He had over 200 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns, becoming the 1st player to score 4 touchdowns in a conference championship game.
The Green Bay Packers? Well, to put it nicely, they never really got going.
And yet, here we are. The 49ers are in the NFC Championship Game, with home field no less, and they get to face the Green Bay Packers. Again. Had you told me at the beginning of the year that the Packers were going to the NFC Championship game, I don’t think I would’ve gone 100% “Sure, Jan” but I still wasn’t 100% sold on them either.
However, both teams have proven me wrong and will face each other to earn a spot in the Super Bowl. So, what’s it going to take for each team to get there?
I’ll start off by saying that once the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Minnesota Vikings, all I could think was “We might get to see Richard Sherman and Marshawn Lynch on the same field again!” Yeah, I know, different teams, but still… those Seahawks teams were really fun to watch and even a bit of that nostalgia makes me happy. But it was not to be.
These two teams know each other very well. Their playoff battles have been some of the best around the league. And this year was no exception. The Packers wound up victorious, however, and will move on to face the 49ers in Santa Clara for the NFC Championship while the Seahawks and their fans will have to just sit back and watch.
This weekend, the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs will commence. The game on Sunday at 6:40 pm EST (tv: FOX) where the Green Bay Packers (13-3) will host the Seattle Seahawks (11-5) will feature two top-rated quarterbacks. A showdown between Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson is always thrilling.
Odd-makers have the Packers giving up four points. Typically the home team gets a three-point advantage but since the Seahawks have been just stellar on the road this year, I’m surprised it’s not a closer margin.
And they have the over/under at 47. Hmmm. Do I think this will be a shootout so I bet the over? Or am I predicting some great defensive plays which keep it a low scoring game? Hmmm again.
Ultimately it comes down to one simple question: Are Rodgers and Wilson the two most important players in this game? The “Keys,” if you will. Or will the outcome hinge on someone else?
Week 3 is just about here. Let’s take a tour around the NFC North and see what’s been going around the division going into play on Sunday.
Let’s start with the Chicago Bears. What in the name of wild finishes was that? While I understand Broncos fans frustrations, a win is a win. And the biggest news out of that win? Kicker Eddy Pineiro. He was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Which is great news for the Bears faithful, especially after last years disappointing playoff loss. The Bears have found their guy! The Bears are heading to Washington to take on the Redskins on Monday Night Football. Hopefully, they can put all phases of their game together to get the win.
The Packers face a tough schedule right off the bat. For the second week in a row, they’re facing a divisional opponent, and while we do love home-field advantage, the Vikings have shown us that doesn’t always help.
Going into Sunday’s game, both teams are 1-0, but while Green Bay was fighting a battle in Chicago, the Vikings had a much easier game in Atlanta. This is going to be another tough game for the Packers.
And while I always have all the confidence in my team, there are a few teams I still get nervous about facing. The Vikings are near the top of that list. If you’ve been reading my articles for a while, you know how much I hate tense and close games. So, yup! I’m already stressing Sunday.
Alright, alright alright! (In my Matthew McConaughey voice)
Week 1 has come to a close and it’s time to hand out grades for the team’s performances! I’m a pretty easy grader, and I do grade on a curve. Mostly because a curve helped me out of some classes (Looking at you AP Chem.), so it’s only fair.
After coaching changes, key free agent signings, and some great defenses, it was time to get the show on the road. The oldest rival in the NFL came from the NFC North and it was only right that they kicked off the NFL’s 100th season.
Chicago Bears: C. Last years defense was back in full force. Linebacker Roquan Smith was letting his presence be known early on in the game. But in the end, the offense just stalled. In fact, the only offense that the Bears could muster was a 38-yard field goal from recently signed kicker Eddy Pineiro. Irony. Despite the struggles on offense, the defense was really the bright spot.