Packers’ Playoff Path - Home Games Have Been Hard to Come By

The 2019 Packers have a chance to take care of business at home and get one game closer to the Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers hasn't had too many home playoff games in his career, so the Packers will look to make the most of this opportunity. 

There’s been a lot of talk this week about the Packers and what type of 13-3 team they truly are. The bottom line in all of this, though, is that the Green Bay Packers are winning football games. They won so many games that they’re hosting a Divisional Round playoff game at Lambeau Field. 

Aaron Rodgers has been the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers since 2008. In that time, the Packers have never hosted an NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field. When Brett Favre was the starting quarterback, the Packers hosted the Championship two times, playing in four altogether, in 1995 at Dallas (loss), 1996 at Lambeau (win), 1997 at San Francisco (win), and at Lambeau in 2008 (loss). That’s something that has eluded Rodgers for his entire career, but let’s walk it back a little bit. 

In Rodgers’ first season, the Packers finished with a 6-10 record and obviously were on the outside looking in come playoff time. Then, the unthinkable happened, and the Packers made the playoffs from 2009 through 2016, eight consecutive seasons. 

In 2009, the Packers finished 11-5 and took second place in the NFC North, giving them a Wild Card berth in the playoffs. That season, they lost a shootout in Arizona 45-51.

In 2010, the Packers finished 10-6 and took second place in the NFC North once again, this time clinching a Wild Card spot thanks to some help from the Eagles in a crazy Week 17 finish. The following week, Green Bay beat the Eagles in Philadelphia 21-16, the No. 6 seed toppling the No. 3 seed. In the Divisional Round facing the No. 1 seed Atlanta Falcons, the Packers dominated 48-21 to clinch an appearance in the NFC Championship Game. Those No. 6 seed Packers traveled to Chicago to beat the No. 2 seed Chicago Bears 21-14 and punch their ticket to the Super Bowl. The rest, as they say, is history as the Packers became four-time Super Bowl Champions winning against the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25. 

Next, the 2011 collapse happened. The 15-1 Packers secured the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye only to lose to the visiting (and eventual Super Bowl champion) New York Giants. 

In 2012, Green Bay once again finished first in the NFC North with an 11-5 record, this time hosting a Wild Card game against the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers won that game but lost the next week in the Divisional Round on the road against a hot 49ers team that would eventually go all the way to the Super Bowl. 

In 2013, a less-than-impressive 8-7-1 record was good enough for first in the NFC North, but once again the Packers lost to the 49ers, this time at Lambeau Field in the Wild Card Round. 

In 2014, the Packers looked promising and hosted a Divisional Round playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys, winning 26-21 and sending Green Bay to Seattle for the NFC Championship game. I’ll spare you the details, but we all know how close the Packers came to the second Super Bowl of Rodgers’ career. 

Next came 2015 where the Packers finished second in the NFC North and were once again a Wild Card team in the playoffs. Green Bay traveled first to Washington and beat the Redskins 35-18 after a slow start, only to come up short in overtime against the Cardinals the following week, losing in the Divisional Round 20-26, with Aaron Rodgers not even getting to touch the ball in overtime. 

Finally comes 2016, Green Bay’s last playoff appearance, where the Packers ran the table to finish the season 10-6, clinching first in the NFC North and one home playoff game at Lambeau. The Packers beat the Giants in the Wild Card Round 38-13, then traveled to Dallas to beat the Cowboys 34-31 in the Divisional Round before falling to the Falcons 21-44 at the Georgia Dome in the NFC Championship Game. 

In 2017 and 2018 as we all know, the Packers’ eight-year playoff streak came to an end. Now in 2019, the Packers are sitting pretty with a first-round playoff bye, guaranteeing them at least one home game at Lambeau Field as the No. 2 seed. 

Let’s look at this by the numbers. Since Rodgers took over as the starter, the Packers have played in 15 playoff games. Of those 15 games, only five have been played at Lambeau Field. And of those five games, his record is 3-2. 

Two of those home wins were won in the Wild Card Round meaning the Packers have only won one Divisional Round playoff game at Lambeau Field in Rodgers’ career. 

The gravity of what this 2019 season means certainly isn’t lost on the quarterback, or anyone else in the locker room. Only four players on the 2019 roster were on the 2010 Super Bowl roster, and for most of the players on the 53-man active roster, this is either their first playoff appearance altogether or their first Divisional Round playoff appearance. 

There are plenty of veterans in the locker room that know what these games mean, and understand that the Packers are only two wins (ugly or not) away from a Super Bowl berth. 

Aaron Rodgers has gone to three NFC Championship Games in his career, and all three of them have been on the road, first in Chicago in 2010, then in Seattle in 2014, and finally in Atlanta in 2016. While the Packers would still need some help this season hosting the NFC Championship Game, there’s a possibility if the Packers take care of business next Sunday in the Divisional Round, the NFC Championship Game will run through Lambeau Field (assuming someone knocks off the No. 1 seed 49ers that same weekend). With Rodgers himself acknowledging he sees the 18th hole approaching in regards to his career, this 13-3 Packers squad with a first-round playoff bye could be just the springboard Green Bay needs to make a deep run at a fifth Lombardi trophy. 

While Rodgers has certainly won playoff games on the road, this is a rare opportunity for the Packers to take care of business at home and give themselves an easier path to Miami in February. The Packers haven’t had homefield advantage in the playoffs for the majority of Rodgers’ career. Take care of business then and get one game closer to playing for a fifth trophy. As Head Coach Matt LaFleur alluded at a recent press conference, everyone is 0-0 in the playoffs. Take care of business on Jan. 12 and let the rest of the chips fall where they may, and hopefully, if the Packers are lucky, the chips fall to an NFC Championship Game at the Frozen Tundra. But one week at a time. 

 

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Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcasts for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (27)

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packerbackerjim's picture

January 03, 2020 at 05:32 am

Home field is critical logistically, for rest and recovery, and for fine-tuning the offense, and developing new looks (Ervin) on offense and (Greene) on D. Every advantage has to be exploited in the playoffs.

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Crazytim87's picture

January 03, 2020 at 07:25 am

The NFC championship game in 1995 was played in Dallas and the 1997 game was played in San Francisco. Go Pack Go!!

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Houndog's picture

January 03, 2020 at 07:30 am

Keeping the Packers in Lambeau will not be easy, but stranger things have happened this (and many other) year(s). As a Packer fan living in 49ers territory nothing would make me happier than to see them knocked out in their first game.

As Packerbackerjim says, the Packers will need every weapon they have, and hopefully a little something they haven't shown us this season. One of the most common factors I see in Maggie's article is the amount of points the Packers scored in many of those play-off games. The Packers have only sniffed 40 point performances this year and will need to step it up to stay in the play-offs. If indeed LaFleur and/or Rodgers have been holding anything back, now is the time to cut it loose. We haven't seen a lot of Ervin outside of ST, but we know he can catch and he certainly has some speed, maybe teaming him on 'O' along with Jones would be a spark and another potential receiver.

The same would go for Pettine and his group, step it up, home field will be even bigger there with crowd noise helping. Gotta hope the improvement we've seen recently from Rashan Gary (and the return of Raven Greene) is a sign of better things ahead.

Let's hope they're up to the task.

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Crazytim87's picture

January 03, 2020 at 07:58 am

TOTALL AGREE!!

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 03, 2020 at 07:53 am

As of right now we don't know who we will be playing. We can probably assume that we will be playing New Orleans.

Even though we don't know who we will be playing I know one this is for sure. I would much rather play New Orleans in GB then in NO.

Having homefield advantage is huge, especially against a team like the Saints. They will be tough regardless of where they play, but they are even tougher on their fast track in the dome. Bringing a team like that into the cold weather could make a huge difference!

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RedRight49's picture

January 03, 2020 at 09:32 am

The Pack's next game plan and game must be schemed and played with a " Now or Never " mentality and execution.

The Playoff drought has ended, the Pack has the coveted Bye week and, Lambeau Field for home field advantage!

However the football stars aligned to get the Pack here, here they are and simply must not squander the opportunity in front of them.

Intensities rise in the playoffs and the Pack must meet and match their opponent's physical play particularly in the trenches and pile-ups.

Rodgers will be constantly pressured all game long and a fast pass scheme to get the ball out quickly is imperative.

Aaron Jones should get his share of carries and touches.

The D must curtail long runs and yardage up the middle.

With a 100% all out effort by the Offense, Defense and, Special Teams, the flight to Miami will be one game closer!

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Bearmeat's picture

January 03, 2020 at 11:19 am

We'll probably play New Orleans. AND I'M GOING TO THIS GAME with my dad and longtime best friend! We'll be flying into Green Bay from Milwaukee in my uncle's small plane (flying over Lambeau the morning of the game!) , then we're going to do some tailgating with another buddy before game time.

I haven't been to a game in Lambeau since December of 2004 and we've got some awesome seats! (Section 111 row 32) So. Excited.

Literally flying up from Orlando to Milwaukee on Saturday afternoon, and flying back to work at 5:45 AM on Monday morning. Talk about a whirlwind 36 hours! WOOO! GO PACK GO!

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 03, 2020 at 08:31 am

Have fun Bearmeat!

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

January 03, 2020 at 09:08 am

Have a blast Bearmeat. I’ll be in Orlando next week and I’ll keep my eyes open for some guy in Packers garb. Cheer loud!

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NickPerry's picture

January 03, 2020 at 09:45 am

Dude I am SO jealous...But good for you!! What a game to make your first visit back to Lambeau in 16 years. PLEASE make sure all those "Corporate Fans" that I hear others complain about for being to quiet and reserved are doing ANYTHING BUT being quiet and reserved. This is not the week!!

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Bearmeat's picture

January 03, 2020 at 09:56 am

Oh, I'mma be busting a nut yelling. lol.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 03, 2020 at 11:41 am

Save some voice for the 4th quarter. Last time I went (49ers) my voice was gone too early.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 03, 2020 at 12:54 pm

But will we be seeing you wearing your tinfoil hat? Lol.

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Bearmeat's picture

January 03, 2020 at 01:16 pm

If you're asking whether or not I'm going to be sitting rationally in the stands telling myself: "I knew this team was only ok..." if we lose... after me drinking for roughly 12 of the previous 24 hours?

Prolly not. lol. Embrace the insanity!

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LeotisHarris's picture

January 03, 2020 at 03:49 pm

Wishing you safe and timely travels to Green Bay, and foul weather to strand you in Milwaukee after a playoff win. No work for you until at least Wednesday.

Be loud, man.

GO PACK!

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TXCHEESE's picture

January 03, 2020 at 09:32 am

As healthy as the Packers are, they have as legitimate a shot at the SB as anyone...provided they stay that way through to playoff games. This is the year!

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Leatherhead's picture

January 03, 2020 at 11:05 am

No matter who you play, or where you play them, you’re going to have to play well enough to beat a good team..

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dobber's picture

January 03, 2020 at 12:10 pm

Well stated. Most people don't realize that when you get the team you "wanted" to play, that team had to beat the team you didn't want to play. Not a tremendous amount of consolation in that.

Just win.

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Lphill's picture

January 03, 2020 at 11:24 am

So once again the Seahawks have the final word , they were screwed by a non PI call that the NFL admits should have been called then come up an inch short of the goal line which changed the whole seeding. Packers would have been the number 1 .

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flackcatcher's picture

January 03, 2020 at 07:20 pm

One way or another those Seachickens find a way to screw us over. (Yeah I know it's the damn NFL but... )

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CAG123's picture

January 03, 2020 at 12:24 pm

Can we please get Jace Sternberger the ball I'm tired of seeing Jimmy Graham be irrelevant for majority of the game or watch him drop a pass lets see what the young guy can do.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 03, 2020 at 12:36 pm

Yes, let’s take a rookie who hasn’t played much and put him in a position to end our season. It worked so well with Brandon Bostick. No sense in letting a veteran with playoff experience play when you can use an untested rookie.

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CAG123's picture

January 03, 2020 at 02:40 pm

That just might be your silliest response Bostick wasn't put in that position he put himself in that position its well known that Jordy was supposed to get the ball. Its even sillier that you think only rookies can make mistakes I believe it was a 3rd year vet in Ty Montgomery that ruined a game for the Packers last year. With the drops that VETS like Adams, Allison, and Graham have been having its just as likely they could ruin the season as well. Hell Graham is a vet that could have cost the Packers another possession against the Vikes they might not have been able to recover from. Stop It.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 03, 2020 at 04:57 pm

Everybody drops passes. And rookies are more likely to make a big mistake than a vet. Those are just things that I thought everybody knew.

And yes, the Packers put Bostick on the field knowing full well the onside kick was coming. Jordy was supposed to get the ball. Bostick made a mistake

If a high dollar vet costs you the game, that’s one thing. Putting a rookie who hasn’t played into a playoff game is another. There are enough ways to lose a football game without asking for it.

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CAG123's picture

January 04, 2020 at 02:13 pm

What do you have to backup that claim that a rookie is more likely to make a mistake than a vet? Hell we just saw a veteran player in Dee Ford line up offsides and cost the Chiefs a trip to the SB do you really think the Chiefs would have been any less pissed if it were a rookie? They're both equally terrible. Malcom Butler was a rookie and made one of the biggest plays in SB history, I believe the Packers rode a rookie running to a SB, I believe Sam Shields was an undrafted rookie that made big plays for the Packers in the NFCCG I believe he had what two picks and a sack right? Imagine if GMs and coaches were as close minded as you.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 04, 2020 at 02:35 pm

Ok CAG, you’ve convinced me. There is no value to experience. Inexperienced people are no more likely to make mistakes than experienced people.

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CAG123's picture

January 04, 2020 at 03:51 pm

I'm just saying it sucks either way whether its a rookie or a vet would you feel any better about that onside kick if it was Jordy dropping the ball? Wasn't it the vet Julius Peppers telling Morgan Burnett to get down after a pick that would have gotten the Packers a TD and most definitely clinched the game? We don't talk about that though because we're so focused on Bostick but that mistake took 6 points off the board in a game that was 19-7 at the time.

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