The Green Bay Packers have had the ball bounce their way regarding playoff advantages for the past two seasons. Factors such as winning 13 games since 2019 and the opportunity to host home playoff games at Lambeau Field should have resulted in another Super Bowl title for Green Bay. However, they have failed to capitalize on those opportunities.
Dating back to 2019, Green Bay has finished at least one or two in the NFC playoff picture. The one or two seeded teams usually host a home playoff game in the postseason. In previous years, the top two teams in each conference were awarded a first-round bye in the tournament.
The new playoff format introduced in 2020 only allows the number one seed to be awarded a first-round bye in the postseason. Green Bay has had the home-field advantage during the new playoff format for two consecutive years. The team have compiled a 39-10 record during the current span. They are also the only franchise in the NFC that will have a first-round bye and remain at home during the playoffs.
Despite the narrative generated on how Aaron Rodgers needs more help to contend for a championship, an efficient supporting cast has been on Green Bay’s roster the entire time. In 2019 when they appeared in the NFC championship game, the San Francisco 49ers were the better team, showing on the field. In both matchups against the 49ers, Green Bay was outscored by a margin of 74-28.
Fast forward to 2020, and the stakes catered into the Packers’ hands. Green Bay finished the 2020 campaign with another 13-3 record and was awarded home-field advantage throughout the postseason. They were far better than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season, but the results were the same as the 2019 matchups with San Francisco.
Tampa Bay defeated Green Bay in both games last season as they advanced to winning their second Super Bowl title in franchise history. Their inept decision-making would not allow them to take advantage of Tom Brady’s three interceptions in last year’s NFC championship game.
There was plenty of blame to go around as Green Bay watched the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrate their victory on Lambeau Field. Despite everything that has occurred in the offseason with Rodgers and the Packers front office, the team finds itself in the Super Bowl conversation. They won the NFC North title for the third consecutive year, and the road to the big game in February will have to go through Lambeau Field.
Potential opponents such as Tampa Bay currently have a depleted roster that has been decimated by injuries. Those factors by themselves should show that advantage should go to Green Bay if there were a rematch of last season’s NFC championship game. However, with the playoffs, the best teams always figure out a way to exploit weaknesses.
Right now, Green Bay has all of the leverage to succeed over both Tampa Bay and Los Angeles. Their journey to the Super Bowl starts this Saturday against a familiar opponent in the San Francisco 49ers. Accolades such as having consecutive 13-win seasons, multiple playoff games at home, and a perennial MVP candidate in Aaron Rodgers should be the final ingredients to bring home a world championship.
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Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press.