While the American Football Conference’s Wild Card games take place on Saturday, the National Football Conference’s Wild Card games will begin starting Sunday afternoon. They are the Green Bay Packers vs. the Washington Redskins, and the Seattle Seahawks vs. the Minnesota Vikings.
First, the Packers/Redskins game (which takes place at 3:30 CST tomorrow).
Both of these teams have two of the best quarterbacks in the NFC: Aaron Rodgers for the Packers, and Kirk Cousins for the Redskins. Rodgers, 32, finished with another successful season once again, throwing for 3,821 yards, 31 touchdowns, and only eight interceptions. Cousins, 27, actually threw for more yards in 2015 than Rodgers (he threw for 4,166 yards), along with 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Offensively, the main difference revolves around the fact that Green Bay’s rushing offense was more effective than Washington’s. While running back Eddie Lacy struggled in 2015 (in comparison to 2014), overall the Packers finished 11th in YPC (4.3), and 12th in rushing yards (1850). Washington, on the other hand, finished 20th in yards (1566), and tied for 30th in YPC (3.7).
Green Bay started off the season 6-0, but then lost six out of their last ten, starting with a Sunday Night Football loss to the Denver Broncos. And for the first time since 1968, the Packers were swept at home by their division rivals (the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, and Minnesota Vikings).
Since their 2010 Super Bowl win, which featured three straight road victories on the path, the Packers enter Sunday’s game looking to avoid a fourth loss in five playoff games post-2010.
Defensively, without cornerback Sam Shields, Green Bay will be looking to put pressure on Cousins, with key players such as veterans Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, along with key defensive tackle B.J Raji. The Redskins have themselves a key defensive tackle in their “Base 3-4” defense, and that is Terrance Knighton. Other players that will play a role in their attempt to stop the former NFL MVP Rodgers include Ryan Kerrigan, corner Chris Culliver, and safety Dashon Goldson.
In a battle between two talented quarterbacks, the defenses will have their hands full on Sunday afternoon.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)