Since that game, Green Bay has won four of its last five games heading into Sunday’s contest against the Cardinals at Lambeau Field, a place the Packers have only lost at twice since Week Ten of the 2009 season.
This will be the first time these two teams will have met, with something on the line, since that memorable Wild Card playoff game back on January 10, 2010 at University of Phoenix Stadium.
How could anyone forget Arizona’s 51-45 overtime win that day? Packers head coach Mike McCarthy can’t.
“We were a young team that was coming on that year, and it felt like we were playing good football at the end of that season,” McCarthy said. “It was definitely a game that we could point to where we felt we were ready to take the next step, and then obviously we were able to build off that the following season [Super Bowl title].”
The Packers went 15-2 last season, falling to the New York Giants in the playoffs.
They were unable to repeat as world champions, yet they set the bar very high for their organization with those 15 victories.
McCarthy says having the bar set that high is nothing new for an organization with such a rich history as the Packers have.
“No one has set a higher standard for any part of our football team than the people inside the locker room,” McCarthy said.
Despite the recent string of wins, McCarthy knows his team hasn’t played up to those lofty standards they’ve set in Wisconsin.
“We’re a little different this year offensively than we’ve been in the past,” McCarthy said. “We definitely need to play better, that’s our focus and that’s what we’re working on.”
It doesn’t hurt that McCarthy has Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback. Rodgers is having yet another amazing season, with 21 touchdowns and just four interceptions.
McCarthy says Rodgers’ poise and his calmness is what sets him apart from a lot of other quarterbacks in the league.
“Aaron is an excellent football player, no doubt about that, stating the obvious,” McCarthy said. “He’s in command of his offense, and I think any time you have a quarterback that plays at the level that he’s playing at, it starts with that.”
By now, everyone has seen the debacle that was Cardinals/49ers on Monday Night Football.
We’ve definitely seen the Cardinals play much better than they did against San Francisco.
McCarthy, along with his coaching staff and his players have been breaking down film of that game, along with tape from other games. He says their preparation hasn’t changed for the Cardinals, no matter how they looked on film.
“We just really focus on the personnel matchups, and the scheme design, and the execution of the schemes and just make sure our guys are ready,” McCarthy said.
As far as getting ready for the Cardinals defense, McCarthy is quite familiar with the look they possess.
“It’s similar to how we play defense,” McCarthy said. “I think they have an excellent personnel unit.”
McCarthy singled out Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, Paris Lenon [a former Packer], Daryl Washington, Patrick Peterson and Adrian Wilson as being true impact players on that side of the ball.
“It’s a challenging scheme and it’s an up tempo scheme,” McCarthy said. “It provides a lot of pressure throughout all the different situations. We have a lot of respect for them.”