The Green Bay Packers aren’t afraid of any team. Being the loyal fan I am, I’ll take the Pack over any team they’re playing on any given Sunday.
That said, there may be some teams that I would be less happy about the Packers having to play once the playoffs come around. Whether it’s because that team is streaking or they happen to be a bad matchup for Green Bay, there are certain teams that it would be better to avoid.
No one in the NFC is hoping to draw the Seattle Seahawks in the playoffs. The 10-5 Seahawks have put up 150 points in the past three games! They’ve outscored their last three opponents by an average of 40 points. And here’s the thing – they’re not even as much an offensive team as they are a defensive team! They are fifth in the league in pass defense and 11th in run defense.
It’s hard for Packer fans not to want a rematch with Seattle, however, after the treachery that went down in Week 3. It’s not the worst possible matchup for the Packers if the game were at Lambeau as the Seahawks are quite a different team away from CenturyLink Field. But considering how incredibly hot Seattle is right now, this would be a tough game for Green Bay.
The New York Giants will need a lot of help to make the playoffs. They must beat the Philadelphia Eagles, have the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings lose, and have the Washington Redskins defeat the Dallas Cowboys. Even though I think the Packers are a better team than the Giants, who have dropped three of their last four, this matchup would make me nervous. The Giants seem to have the Packers’ number in recent years. In the past 62 games, Green Bay has lost only two games by more than one score – both to the Giants. Week 17 will be surreal with me cheering for two of my most hated teams: the Bears and the Cowboys.
The worst matchup for the Packers is one that cannot come about until the divisional round, but it is one that already has me anxious. The 10-4-1 San Francisco 49ers are a terrible matchup for Green Bay. They have a great rushing game, ranked fourth, and the Packers’ run defense is one of their biggest weaknesses. They’re strong against the run, as well, ranking sixth, and could force Green Bay to be one-dimensional.
San Fran is top six in rushing yards, rushing yards allowed, and passing yards allowed. Their one statistical weakness – the passing game – is vastly improved with Colin Kaepernick behind center. The 49ers would also have home field advantage over the Pack, and they already beat Green Bay at Lambeau.
The Packers are looking good and hitting their stride as the playoffs approach. The return of Clay Matthews cannot be understated, plus receiver Jordy Nelson looks to be back next week, reuniting a receiving corps that has suffered numerous injuries all season. Safety Charles Woodson has been declared out for the upcoming game, but can reasonably be expected to play once the playoffs start. The run game, which held them back for much of the season, is starting to groove, with three strong options in Ryan Grant, Alex Green, and rookie DuJuan Harris.
Green Bay fans should feel good about their team. The Seahawks, Giants, and 49ers would all pose a big challenge to the Packers, but I believe Green Bay could defeat any and all of these teams.
But I’m still going to cheer against all three.