The Packers’ 2021 regular season has officially come to an end as the team fell in week 18 to their NFC North rival the Detroit Lions at Ford Field by a final score of 37-30. The starters saw limited playing time to avoid injury. They played the entire first half leading to 17 points. The loss itself didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things as they had already locked up the NFC’s top seed in the postseason. The results of a number of games in week 18 have led to the postseason matchups starting January 15th with Super Wildcard weekend.
The seeding is as follows:
- 1-seed: Green Bay Packers (First round bye)
- 2-seed: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- 3-seed: Dallas Cowboys
- 4-seed: Los Angeles Rams
- 5-seed: Arizona Cardinals
- 6-seed: San Francisco 49ers
- 7-seed: Philadelphia Eagles
The playoff matchups for Super Wildcard Weekend are set and are as follows:
- 6-seed San Francisco 49ers at 3-seed Dallas Cowboys
- 7-seed Eagles at 2-seed Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- 5-seed Arizona Cardinals at 4-seed Los Angeles Rams
The 1-seed Packers will host the lowest remaining seed in the Divisional Round at Lambeau Field. This means there’s only four possible opponents. The 7-seed Philadelphia Eagles, the 6-seed San Francisco 49ers, the 5-seed Arizona Cardinals, or the 4-seed Los Angeles Rams. With that said, let’s break down each possible opponent and see which would provide the best matchup.
7-seed Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles are quite possibly the strangest team amongst the four opponents for Green Bay. The Eagles got into the dance by winning against Washington in week 17 and Minnesota losing and San Francisco winning. They rely on Jalen Hurts’ dual-threat ability as well as their run game in order to make an impact on offense. In the first seven weeks, the run game was nearly non-existent. It’s come alive since, averaging 214.4 YPG on the ground, which ranks first in the NFL.
The Eagles’ offensive line has a ton to do with their success running the ball as well led by both Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson. Their passing attack also consists of two very good pass catchers in Devonte Smith Jr. and Greg Ward Jr. Furthermore, Dallas Goedert is yet another pass catching threat to worry about. Safe to say with how banged up Tampa Bay is, even at home, Philadelphia could pose a huge threat to them as well as Green Bay if they get past the Buccaneers in the wildcard round.
6-Seed San Francisco 49ers
With such a storied history between them, these two teams match up very well against one another. The biggest evidence of that coming in week three of the 2021 season, a game which was one by Green Bay 31-28. Going back a bit further, there’s the 2013 NFC wildcard game played at Lambeau Field which was a 23-20 victory for the 49ers. Even further back then that in the mid-90’s with the great games between the Steve Young led 49er teams going against the Brett Favre led Packer teams. San Francisco currently has the third most super bowl titles with five while Green Bay is tied with the New York Giants for the fourth most with four but the most overall titles with thirteen.
The all-time series is led by Green Bay 38-32-1. The last four games between the two teams have been split down the middle with Green Bay winning the last two games played in the 2021 and 2020 seasons while San Francisco had won the previous two before then in 2019 (once in the regular season and once in the postseason). It could be another classic contest should they meet again.
5-Seed Arizona Cardinals
These two teams have had some classic games in recent memory as well. Starting with the 2009 NFC wildcard game played in the desert. It was a back-and-forth thriller ending in a 51-45 victory for the Cardinals led by veteran quarterback Kurt Warner. Aaron Rodgers was just in his second year as a starter and first in the playoffs.
The next game was the 2015 NFC Divisional Round game which was yet another thriller ending in overtime. There were two memorable moments to get it to that point though, starting with a 4th and 20 for Green Bay from their endzone with 55 seconds left. Aaron Rodgers would find Jeff Janis for 61 yards for the first down to extend the game. The next play came with five seconds left, Aaron Rodgers to Jeff Janis again — this time for a touchdown on a desperation hail mary heave to the endzone for 41 yards which tied the game at 20. In the end though, Arizona would once again prevail in overtime on a late touchdown 26-20.
With the classic postseason games and endings between these two teams, it wouldn’t shock anyone to see these two lock horns again in 2022. The most recent game was week eight in 2021 which was a 24-21 victory for Green Bay on a last second game winning interception by cornerback Rasul Douglas in the endzone. The all-time series is led by Green Bay 46-26-4.
4-Seed Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers also have had a lot of recent memorable games. The first coming in 2018 which was a 31-29 victory for the Rams. The next game came in the 2019 divisional round game at Lambeau Field, that game ended up being a victory for Green Bay as well by a score of 32-18. If they were to meet again, it’d be the second straight time the two teams would meet in the divisional round. The all-time series is led by Green Bay 48-47-2 with the most recent victory coming in week 12 of the 2021 season by a score of 36-28 at Lambeau Field. The Rams struggled overall against Green Bay’s pass rush in the second half, forcing Stafford into some tough throws and intercepting him twice.
Overall, Green Bay dominated Los Angeles with the final score not being indicative of how the game actually played out. If the two teams were to meet once again, I’d expect another tough, close game. These two teams have had some great games over the years and I’d expect nothing less this postseason.
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