The Packers enter the playoffs on a rather sour note. Green Bay’s loss to the Vikings in week 17 coupled with the 49ers’ win knocked the Packers out of the second seed and out of a first round bye. The Packers will face the Vikings again this week, but in the confines of Lambeau Field this go around. Although the Packers are at home this weekend, it is not a forgone conclusion that they’ll win. The Packers are only 2-4 at home during the playoffs since 2002. The Packers are getting healthy however, and will be a tough matchup in these playoffs regardless of where they’re playing. Receivers Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings are expected to be back and ready to go, along with Outside linebacker Clay Matthews. But the key to beating the Packers lies with keeping the offense off the field.
If the Vikings or any other playoff team wants to beat the Packers, they’ll have to run the ball efficiently. Adrian Peterson and others won’t have to run for 200 yards, but they’ll have to move the chains. If opposing teams can run the ball effectively to chew up clock, the Packers offense won’t have the opportunity to be dynamic and put up points in a flash. If Rodgers and company aren’t afforded ample time on the field to get into a rhythm, they obviously can’t run the score up.
And what goes hand-in-hand with an effective run game is the opportunity to take an early lead and run the clock with the lead. Although he is undoubtedly one of the best in the game, Aaron Rodgers is surprisingly ineffective in mounting fourth quarter comebacks. He is 0-18 in fourth quarter comeback attempts against teams with a record better than .500. If a team is able to jump out to a lead and subsequently run the ball with success, the Packers will have a hard time getting back to the Super Bowl.903332