There are certain moments in life that infinitely alter ones existence. No matter how small or minute they may appear at the time, they're forever archived as monumental. And as odd as it seems, we can often accurately pinpoint that moment with minimal reflection. Crazy as it sounds, often when this moment occurs, you have no idea how much of an impact this occurrence plays in ones future. For Aaron Rodgers & the Green Bay Packers, good fortune swung their way on a 3rd & 11 pass to Greg Jennings with 4 minutes to play in the 3rd Quarter against the Dallas Cowboys. At the time, we carried a 4-4 record. We led 3-0 in a defensive battle. From that play on, the Green Bay Packers have been the elite team in the NFL. And Aaron Rodgers has been the MVP of the NFL.
For Mike McCarthy, that moment came when he FINALLY went to the fade route to J-Mike in the corner of the end zone. For the first 11 weeks, the Packers were a remarkable offense between the 20's. However, when we neared the Red Zone, we lived in misery. Since we went to the J-Mike fade late in the 2nd Quarter of the Ravens game, we've been almost unstoppable in the Red Zone. And, yes, we've seen the fade to J-Mike 3 times in 5 weeks. All 3 times it's been a touchdown. It's unstoppable. Eventually, it'll open up the rest of the field.
Mike McCarthy was a Riverboat Gambler on Sunday. He rolled the dice and risked injury. He played his starters throughout 3 Quarters. He prevailed. Not only did we leave the game healthy, but we steamrolled through the defending NFC Champions. The Cardinals have what we want. They are the NFC Champions. In order for us to stake our claim, we're must go into Arizona and punk them in their own crib. GAME ON!
Twice, the Packers have played Arizona at Arizona this year. Both were "meaningless" games. Both times, the Packers looked like it could not be contained. We enter the Wild Card Game with a boatload of confidence. I have no doubt that victory is on the horizon. None at all.
While the Cardinals have considered these bouts "meaningless" - the Packers have used them for stepping stones to enhanced confidence. What truly excites me is that Arizona played their starting OL for the entire game. Often times, we rushed 4 men. They could not block us. The Claymaker owned Jeremy Bridges. Brad Jones was too athletic for Levi Brown. Jones is so strange to watch. He's not fast. He's not quick. He's not strong. But, he gets the job done impressively. He wins his match-up. He's deceptive. I can't figure him out. And, strangely, I like it that way.
BJ "Jazz Hands" Raji pushed Lyle Sendlein around like my brother Chad did to me while boxing out for rebounds when we were younger. Sendlein was dust in the wind. While Raji was only credited for 2 tackles, however on three occasions, Raji was the dominant figure on the play.
Also, you can't tell me that the Arizona WR's won't be thinking about Ras-A-tari as they cross the middle. Even on Fitzgerald's TD, Bigby lowered the boom.
Offensively, Wells, Colledge and Sitton were continuously getting to the second line of the Cardinal defense. Exciting to see. Darnell Dockett will alter that this week, I'm sure, but nonetheless, there is heightened continuity among the Packers OL.
It should be noted that the Cardinals play a 3-4 defense. Both teams will be familiar with one another in preparation and know-how with regards to attacking each other.
The only way the Cardinals beat the Packers is if Larry Fitzgerald has an epic game. This certainly could occur. After all, he performed terrifically throughout the post season last year and carried the Cardinals to the Super Bowl. However, I believe Dom Capers will devise a game plan to slow Fitzgerald down.
Nick Barnett has been a stallion rushing the QB. Early in the game, he should be our lone blitzer. We should come after Arizona with our standard front-4. Then, when blitzing, we should come with Barnett up the middle. I feel as though the Packers can win the line of scrimmage with just a 4 man rush. I don't think Arizona can block us. In turn, we should double Fitzgerald at all times. T-Mon underneath. Collins over the top. Woodson on Boldin. And then pray that J-Bush can handle Breaston.
The Packers take an early lead when Rodgers connects with Jennings on a deep ball. 7-0 Green Bay.
The Packers defense gets in Warner's face. Forces a 3rd down incompletion.
Rodgers is back at it. To J-Mike. Finley averaged 5.4 catches a game over the last 7 weeks. He continues his domination. Out muscling and out running Clark Haggans and Gerald Hayes. The only players that semi-match up with J-Mike are Dansby and Adrian Wilson. Finley gets loose.
With a 17-7 lead...
Ryan Grant Runs Like an Antelope out of Control! The Packers dominate the line of scrimmage. Grant pounds away at the frustrated Cardinal defense. Quinn the Eskimo Johnson slams away at Adrian Wilson as he creeps near the line of scrimmage. Grant grabs CHUNKS of yardage.
Poor Michael Adams. At 5-8, 181. There is not one player on the Packers roster that he can guard. Aaron Rodgers knows this. He's become an extremely intelligent QB. He knows the weakness. He attacks it. James Jones for a 1st down.
With J-Mike split out wide, the Cardinals think the fade is coming. Instead, it's a draw to Grant up the middle for a Packers touchdown.
A flea flicker leads to a Jordy Nelson 55 yard TD.
Matthews grabs a sack. Bigby continues his play with confidence. Jolly gets his hands in the air. Hawk continues to play with a physical mind. Barnett shows that he's meant to be a 3-4 ILB.
Green Bay 34. Arizona 23.
Aaron Rodgers, you have never played in a Wild Card game. Fret not. Be yourself. Be patient. Let the game come to you. And then strap on your heavy weight championship belt. For the first 8 weeks, we lacked leadership. We were "Charles Woodson's Green Bay Packers." Yet, Woodson did not want to be the vocal leader. Aaron, that was your job. I congratulate you for recognizing this. I appreciated it when I watched you walk up and down the sideline in the last minute of the game applauding the efforts of your teammates. Great job, Aaron. I have faith in you. You are a winner.
It's not arrogance. It's confidence. You know you are good. And you are right. The time is now. Play like Champions. Act like Champions. Look good. Feel good. Onward and upward. Go Pack Go!
I am positive that my brother Chad, my nephew Chai, and my good mate & IT Director PatRad will be in attendance. I hear my cousins Patrick, Emily & Ryan are possibilities as well. Therefore, I am positive that there will be more than enough G-Force vibe to outlast any Arizona Cardinal home spirit.
I'm freakin' stoked!