Before getting started, I’d like to take a second and talk about Ted Thompson. Thompson passed away Wednesday night at the age of 68. He inherited a horrible cap situation and turned things around rather quickly through his draft strategy and key free agent signings. Thompson had a great eye for talent and was the man responsible for drafting many Packer greats.
Above all that, he was a great human being and will be sorely missed. Thompson’s fingerprints are all over the team that will take the field Sunday. Perhaps none bigger than his very first draft pick Aaron Rodgers.
A dream matchup of quarterbacks is set for the NFC title game. Aaron Rodgers versus Tom Brady. It only took well over 16 years for it to finally happen but Rodgers-Brady is taking place in the postseason for a chance to play in the Super Bowl.
For the fifth time in his career, Rodgers will be playing in a NFC Championship Game. But this is the very first time he will get that game at home. The hope is that makes the difference. Rodgers is 1-3 in the NFC Championship Game, winning his first against the Bears. Again, those were all on the road.
Lambeau Field will host its first title game since the 2007 season when Brett Favre’s last pass as a Packer was intercepted, setting up a Giants win.
Make no mistake about it, Brady is not intimidated by Lambeau or what the elements will be. This will be his 14th conference title game, easily the most in the NFL. He has also played in bad elements after 20-plus seasons in New England.
While this is a great quarterback matchup, it will take much more than Rodgers and Brady to win this game.
The last time these two teams met, Tampa wiped the floor with the Packers in a dominating 38-10 matchup. The offensive line couldn’t protect Rodgers as he threw two interceptions, one of them returned for a score.
A lot has happened since then and these are not the two same teams.
Green Bay’s offense has evolved leaps and bounds since then and Tampa has altered the scheme even if slightly, to fit Brady’s style of play.
There’s a lot to dive into so let’s get started on the five players I feel will be key for the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game.