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NFC Wild Card Playoffs: The Keys to Success

Zach BolenContributor IIIJanuary 9, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 03:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers throws the ball in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

As we are a few hours away from kickoff of the 2009-2010 NFL Playoffs, I found myself wondering what NFC teams needed to do to get to the Super Bowl. The NFC was a much different conference than most of us thought it would be. Teams that were supposed to do well didn't, and other teams that started hot, finished not.

During this wild card weekend, there are two NFC games that should be very fun to watch, Eagles at the Cowboys and Packers at the Cardinals. I took a little time to break down each team and come up with a list of my own keys to success.

Packers Offense—They need to keep Rodgers upright. He took far too many sacks this season (50) and had only won one game this season in which he got sacked five or more times. The offensive line has gotten much better this season, but needs to keep it up to have great success in the postseason.

Defense—Need to do what they do. With future Hall-of-Famer Charles Woodson at the defensive helm, they just need to stick to their roots. Their d-line and corners are as good as anybody and will cause any starting quarterback to wake up in the night with cold sweats.

Cardinals Offense—The Cardinals need Warner, Fitzgerald, Hightower, and Wells to be on their A-game. If any one of these guys falter, the Cardinals will fail. They just don't have the offensive resources to pick up the slack. With that being said, the other piece is going to be making sure that they score early and often. They will have a hard time if they get down by more than seven points.

Defense—They just need to play how they played for most of the season. This defense is better than average, so that will help them quite a bit. Their biggest task will be protecting the deep ball, specifically against the Pack this weekend. Rodgers has a canon, so act accordingly.

Eagles Offense—The Eagles need big production from their young receivers. McNabb has shown that he has no problems throwing to Jackson or Maclin this year, so I think the bout against the Cowboys will be no different. The only other thing they need is to make sure that Brian Westbrook has room to run.

Defense—A pretty good defense at times, but a joke at others. They need to make sure that the right defense shows up. The performance against Dallas a week ago was that of a last place high school football team in Alaska. Slow and terrible. They are going to be sharp for 60 minutes in this one if they want to win.

Cowboys Offense—The biggest key to success for the Cowboys is to make sure that Tony Romo doesn't turn into Tony Choko. A team that hasen't won a playoff game since 1996 sparks some concern. At least with Jessica Simpson out of the stands, Romo can focus on the game. He won't have to be distracted by that ridiculous pink Romo jersey. If Romo stays focused, the rest of the offense will do the rest.

Cowboys Defense—Well, the Dallas defense is pretty darn good this year. DeMarcus Ware should be the Eagles biggest concern. He is going to make McNabb throw in a hurry, and the corners need to be ready. The defense should be no worry for Dallas fans; they will be just fine.

Well, that is my keys to success for this wild card weekend in the NFC. I look forward to seeing the outcome of these games what matchups are ahead for the winners.

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