Green Bay just beat the Arizona Cardinals. They did so handily, 33-7, and after winning seven of their last eight games, there really isn't much to suggest a first-round exit.
If you truly believe that, you're either a naive Cheesehead from Wisconsin, or you simply hate the Arizona Cardinals.
After seeing the Minnesota Vikings beat the New York Giants and end any chances of the Cardinals obtaining a first-round bye, Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt "wizened up" (pun intended) and begun sitting some of his starters.
What transgressed was the Green Bay Packers (who left their starters in for nearly the entire game) demolishing the Cardinals.
Add the soul-pounding victory by Green Bay with its other six victories out of its last eight games, and you've got a confident group of players and coaches on your hands.
But, really, are they that confident?
They're going back to the same place they just played in less than a week. Only, this time they get the real deal.
The Cardinals saw what the Packers are capable of. They saw their offense going to work, how their defense works in its 3-4, and what tendencies Mike McCarthy and co. have.
They saw it all firsthand, and with extremely good seats, because after all, they were resting on the sidelines.
We all know that history itself isn't working with the Packers, as (don't have exact numbers) it has been increasingly more difficult for teams to either a) beat a team three times in the same season or b) beat a team in Week 17, and then turn around and do the same in the playoffs.
Add the fact that the Packers will be facing a completely different team than they just faced, while also taking their show back on the road, and they have some sizable odds stacked against them.
And we haven't even gotten to the strategy side of this matchup.
There's no doubt Green Bay can move and score the ball with the best of them. But Arizona says "Ditto" to that.
And on defense, both units offer vulnerability to the air attack, as evidenced by Green Bay's embarrassing performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers, where Ben Roethlisberger passed for more than 500 yards and three touchdowns.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, have been inconsistent on defense, allowing the Tennessee Titans to march 99 yards for a game-winning touchdown in the last November game, and then standing tall at home in a physically dominating effort against the high-powered Minnesota Vikings.
Throw in that this is Aaron Rodgers' (MVP candidate?) playoff debut, that Mike McCarthy hasn't done anything in the playoffs without Brett Favre, and that the Cardinals were in the Super Bowl last year, and you've got yourself a scary game if you're a Packers fan.
Regardless of either team's inconsistencies or high-powered offenses, it all comes back to Green Bay having to return to Arizona for a second consecutive week and come out with a victory in a do-or-die setting—something that is never easy.
But last week wasn't the first time these two teams have faced eachother this season. Green Bay also traveled to Arizona for their third preseason game, a contest in which they prevailed, 44-37.
That game, like these other two, was also on the road, and also had very little to do with Arizona's "real" roster.
After two games with the 10-6 NFC West champions, the Packers will finally get a crack at the real defending NFC champs.
The only problem is, they'll wish they hadn't.
This article and more can be found here.
Disclaimer: This is an opinion piece that is predicting the outcome of a playoff game. This is not necessarily about which team is better.