Packers Look To Change Recent Playoff Trend

By Joseph Gunther

The Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011. They’ve made the playoffs every year since, but have just one win to show for it. To quarterback Aaron Rodgers, “it’s not good enough.”

“We’ve (gone) 1-3 since then, and two of (the losses came) at home,” he said.

The one win that came was against the Minnesota Vikings, who were without starting quarterback Christian Ponder and had to start backup Joe Webb in a 2012 wild card round game at Lambeau Field.

“I think most people think we should’ve won because their starter was out,” Rodgers said on his radio show on ESPN Milwaukee. “But yeah, we haven’t played good enough.”

Many believe that the Packers have gotten by in the regular season because of their division and their quarterback, and that they are a quick playoff exit because of the lack of a running game and suspect defense. Rodgers, however, knows his part in the playoff struggles. The MVP favorite has completed just 63.9 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and two interceptions while posting a 91.6 passer rating in the last four playoff games. During their four game playoff march to the Super Bowl victory, Rodgers completed 68.2 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and two interceptions while posting a 109.8 passer rating.

“I have high expectations every time I take the field and I think most people do of me, and that’s how I want it,” Rodgers said. “The bar has been set high and nobody’s going to apologize for setting it, and I’m not sorry for the bar being up there. I love an expectation of greatness because that’s what I expect of myself every time I take the field, and I know my teammates expect me to play well.

“I go into the game expecting to play and excited about the opportunity to be a guy that my teammates can count on. I know everybody has a role and my role is an important one, just like the other 45 guys that are going to be suiting up. We all believe in each other, and we need each other to ‘hold the rope,’ as we used to say at (the University of California), just do your part.”

The Packers begin the playoffs in the divisional round after having a bye in the wild card round against the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys defeated the Detroit Lions at home on Sunday to advance. It will be the third time in NFL history that a team that went undefeated at home (the Packers) and one that went undefeated on the road (the Cowboys) during the regular season will meet in the playoffs. The home and road teams have split the previous two.

Packers-Cowboys rematch of Ice Bowl

The last time the Packers and Cowboys met in the playoffs at Lambeau Field was Dec. 31, 1967. The game otherwise known as the Ice Bowl determined the winner of the National Football League and secure a spot in Super Bowl II.

The game became known as the Ice Bowl because the temperature at game time was -15 degrees fahrenheit with an average wind chill of -48 degrees (a new revised National Weather Service wind chill index would actually put the wind chill at -36 degrees for the game). To make matters worse, the turf-heating system failed.

The game became a thing of legend when Bart Starr scored a touchdown with 13 seconds remaining in the game on a quarterback sneak to re-claim the lead for the Packers. Kicker Don Chandler made the extra point and the Cowboys threw two incomplete passes to give the Packers the 21-17 victory.

The Packers and Cowboys have met six times total in the playoffs, but the last four have been in Dallas. The Cowboys won all four, including three straight from 1993-95.

For more Packers news and updates, visit Packers Central.

Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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