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Green Bay Packers and NFC Divisional Playoff Games Since the Brett Favre Era Began: Fan’s Review
The Green Bay Packers will begin their playoff journey for the 2011-12 NFL season during the divisional playoff round. With the exception of the game in St. Louis in 2002, the Packers have played very well during this round. The Packers have won five of their last seven NFC divisional playoff games since the 1995-96 season. They've scored a combined 90 points in their past two games.
Here is a rundown of some of those divisional playoff games since the Brett Favre era started in the 1992-93 season.
1994-95: Green Bay Packers 9 at Dallas Cowboys 35
1996-97: San Francisco 49ers 14 at Green Bay Packers 35
This was the one divisional playoff game where the Packers were absolutely pathetic. Allen Rossum had a 95-yard kickoff return called back because of a holding penalty. Brett Favre was responsible for six interceptions, three of which would be returned for touchdowns by Aeneas Williams and Tommy Polley. The St. Louis Rams would force the Packers into eight turnovers en route to a 45-17 victory.
The Philadelphia Eagles enjoyed a 17-14 victory over the Packers at Lambeau Field earlier that season. However, the Packers had won five consecutive games. They had won each of their final four regular-season games by 13 points or more. They won their final two regular-season games by a combined score of 72-10. Favre was riding an emotional roller coaster after his father had passed away. They also had the momentum that came from Matt Hasselbeck's "We're going to score" comments.
The Packers had another chance at the Eagles in the divisional playoff round. The Packers jumped out to a 14-0 advantage in the first quarter after Robert Ferguson caught two touchdown passes. The Eagles would tie the game in the fourth quarter after Todd Pinkston's 12-yard touchdown reception, 14-14. Packers kicker Ryan Longwell would nail a 21-yard field goal that gave the Packers a 17-14 lead.
Packers head coach Mike Sherman passed on the opportunity to convert a 4th-and-1 that would've sealed the victory. Instead, the Packers' defense had the Eagles in a 4th-and-26. Somehow, Freddie Mitchell came down with a 28-yard reception against the Packers' cover-2 defense. The Eagles would eventually send the game into overtime after David Akers kicked a 37-yard field goal with five seconds remaining.
Donovan McNabb finished the game with 107 rushing yards on 11 carries. Ahman Green had 156 rushing yards on 25 carries. Favre was 15-of-28 for 180 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Unfortunately, his interception in the overtime period would lead to the Eagles' winning scoring drive as Akers kicked a 31-yard field goal. The Eagles won 20-17.
The Packers were the NFL's youngest team and possibly the biggest surprise of the 2007-08 NFL season after they started 10-1. They secured the NFC's No. 2 seed after they finished with a 13-3 record. They were scheduled to play the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round, four years removed from Hasselbeck's "Blunder."
The Packers fell behind 14-0 just four minutes into the game after Ryan Grant fumbled twice. However, Grant would recover nicely as he'd finish with one of the greatest performances by any running back in NFL playoff history. Grant had 27 carries for 201 yards and three touchdowns. The Packers would need that effort after the weather conditions turned snowy.
The Packers would score 42 of the final 48 points en route to a 42-20 victory. The Packers out-gained the Seahawks in total yardage, 408-200. While they had 235 rushing yards, the Packers still out-gained the Seahawks in passing yardage, 173-172.
The Atlanta Falcons had beaten the Packers 20-17 on their way to the NFC's No. 1 seed in the 2010-11 NFC playoffs. The Packers would have their revenge meeting in the divisional playoffs. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was looking for his first playoff victory. He had been nearly unbeatable at home before this game.
The Falcons jumped out to a 14-7 lead after Eric Weems' 102-yard kickoff return against the Packers' non-existent special-teams coverage units. However, the Packers would score five consecutive touchdowns through the next two quarters. The heartbreaker was Tramon Williams' 70-yard interception return when the Falcons were trying to get closer for the field-goal attempt. That turned a soon-to-be 21-17 Packers' lead into a 28-14 Packers' lead. The Packers scored on their first possession of the second half to basically seal the victory.
The Packers won 48-21. They out-gained the Falcons in total yardage, 442-194. The Packers had 13 more first downs than the Falcons (28-15). Aaron Rodgers finished the game 31-of-36 for 366 yards and three touchdowns.
2011-12: (To Be Determined) at Green Bay Packers
Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He's been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-01 and for approximately eight months in 2009-10 while completing a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs and Nashville Predators. He also follows the Tennessee Titans, his favorite AFC team.
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