In the playoffs on the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Packers used to be automatic at home. In their first 13 home playoff games, the Packers were victorious. Teams used to fear coming to Green Bay and having to win in the Wisconsin winter.
However, the confines are friendlier for the visitors now than they are for the Packers. Since 2002, the Packers are just 2-4 in home playoff games. The home winning streak was snapped 10 years ago on a Saturday night in the Wild Card round when the Atlanta Falcons came into Lambeau and had a dominant 27-7 win.
The Packers didn’t come away with the victory they needed on Sunday to clinch a first-round bye and, as a result, will host the surging Vikings in the wild card round of the playoffs. Multiple changes need to be made on both sides of the ball before the Packers take the field against the Vikings for a second week in a row. To no one’s surprise, those changes start on defense.
Typically, when the Packers meet the Vikings things are pretty straight-forward. Beat Adrian Peterson and you win the game. The Vikings are such a one-dimensional team that you don’t really have to go beyond that as a key to winning the game. This was also the case when we met the Vikings in week 13.
But week 17 will be different…
An ankle injury to Randall Cobb in the Packers’ blowout of the Titans put a bad taste in fans’ mouths and has many calling for Cobb’s removal as a return specialist. Cobb’s expanding role on offense means that the Packers can afford to lose him less. However, special teams remain a sizable portion of Cobb’s total threat to opponents and a major reason for his drafting by Ted Thompson.