Matt LaFleur has led the Green Bay Packers to the playoffs four times in five years. He didn't get the credit he deserved before because he had Aaron Rodgers, but here LaFleur is again, taking the NFL's youngest roster into the postseason.
Awaiting them are the Dallas Cowboys, led by former Packers Super Bowl-winning coach Mike McCarthy, who has his own street in Green Bay. McCarthy has played down the storyline of facing the Packers in a playoff game, but there's no avoiding the additional spotlight it places on this contest.
Few give the Packers a shot in this game. They enter the playoffs as heavy underdogs, but that's nothing new for this team. The same was true when they hosted the Kansas City Chiefs and visited the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving.
It's Green Bay's toughest test of the season, but as McCarthy put it best: "We are nobody's underdogs."
Here are four bold predictions for the Packers in the NFC Wild Card Round.
Packers don't allow a sack
Keeping Jordan Love upright is a priority for the Packers in this game. That's easier said than done against a fierce Cowboys pass rush featuring All-Pro edge defender Micah Parsons, who has 14 sacks and 33 quarterback hits this season.
According to ESPN, Dallas ranks first in the NFL for pass-rush win rate. But don't overlook Green Bay's offensive line.
The Packers rank second in pass-block win rate and have allowed only 30 sacks this season, the third-lowest total. Left tackle Rasheed Walker has dominated in the second half of the year, tying for the league's best pass-block win rate among tackles. Right tackle Zach Tom has consistently delivered all year. Per PFF, he has allowed only two sacks all season.
Montez Sweat entered Week 18 having made six sacks and 14 QB hits in eight games for the Bears. The Packers shut him down, with the star pass rusher registering no sacks or hits on Love.
Green Bay's offensive line faces its toughest test of the year. However, with a combination of the Packers' elite pass protection, Love's ability to escape pressure, and a heavy dose of the run game, Green Bay can keep Love upright in Dallas.