January 9, 2011 – Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia Pennsylvania
It was a mixture of relief, satisfaction and joy that accompanied the Green Bay Packers as they prepared for their NFC wild card playoff game against the Eagles. In truth, these Packers had been in playoff mode for the better part of a month anyway. After back-to-back losses to the Detroit Lions & New England Patriots in mid-December, the Packers knew what they had to do–win or go home, which sounds an awful lot like a playoff game scenario.
So it was into that pressure-packed cauldron the Packers entered the final 2 weeks of the regular season. They responded with a blowout win over the NY Giants & a tough, grind it out, win over the Bears. The Bears played their starters the entire game when they didn’t have to. If any team was playoff tested, it was the Packers & no team wanted to face them, especially in the playoffs.
Their first-round foe would be a familiar one. The Packers and Eagles had faced off in the season’s opening week, but a lot had changed for both teams since that early September afternoon.
Green Bay had, of course, absorbed a ton of key injuries, ultimately putting 16 players on injured reserve. The offense had found its stride and the defense, which had seemed so confounded by the entrance of Michael Vick in that first game, was playing with confidence and speed.
The Eagles had committed to Vick & he had responded with an MVP-type season.
While Vick had ran through, over & past the Packers the first time they met, Packers’ defensive coordinator Dom Capers this time had a week to prepare & a season’s worth of tape to watch in anticipation. It would make a huge difference.
This post was written by Boris on July 15, 2011