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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Packers look to finish off impressive season

Packers look to finish off impressive season

CJ Haddad
Journal Staff

Packers fans were most certainly rewarded this season. Ever since being in the NFC Championship Game in 2007, the Packers have been working hard every season to make it to the Super Bowl. The ending to the 2007 season was one many in Wisconsin would like to forget. Brett Favre cost Green Bay a chance at the Lombardi trophy when he threw an interception versus the New York Giants in overtime, which lead to a game-winning field goal that gave the Giants a ticket to the Superbowl. That season, however, is infamously remembered for the Giants unraveling the Patriots’ perfect season.

Aaron Rodgers, the young first-round draft pick out of California, took over the reigns as Packers quarterback when Favre left. Rodgers did well his rookie year, passing for 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns. Unfortunately for Mike McCarthy’s staff, they finished with a 6-10 record, losing seven games by four points or less.

In the 2009 season, the Packers stacked the defensive side of the ball by drafting defensive lineman BJ Raji and linebacker Clay Matthews III. With Aaron Rodgers improving with each start, the Pack posted an 11-5 record, good enough to earn a wild card berth. The playoff run did not last long, though, as Green Bay fell to the Arizona Cardinals in a 51-45 shootout.

Now the Packers find themselves in slightly unfamiliar territory, not necessarily being in the playoffs, but finding a way to finally come out on top. Veteran safety Charles Woodson and wide receiver Donald Driver have waited many seasons to finally make it to the big dance. With leaders on the field and young talent pouring throughout their depth chart, the Packers find it hard to believe that they can lose this game.

It was a long, hard and grinding season for the Packers. They lost Pro Bowler and fantasy football goldmine Ryan Grant in the first game of the year, which was a devastating blow to Green Bay’s versatile offense. Also, chief linebacker Nick Barnett was lost for the remainder of the year after a few games, leaving AJ Hawk and Clay Matthews III to hold down the linebacking core.

Aaron Rodgers was also lost for a couple of games during the season with concussion issues. Backup Matt Flynn stepped in and performed reasonably well, but could not achieve a victory over the strong New England Patriots. When Rodgers returned, he brought just enough life back into this explosive offense and just barely made the playoffs. (They had to win in the last game of the season in order to qualify.) The Packers finished with a 10-6 record, becoming the sixth seed in the process.

Opening up their playoff run in Philly versus a new-look Mike Vick and the Eagles, the Pack battled the whole game and managed to come out on top. The following week the Packers found themselves in Atlanta versus the No. 1 seed. It turns out they weren’t the No. 1 seed everyone had expected, as Green Bay humiliated the Falcons on their home field with a 48-21 romping.

It only seemed right that the Packers would have to play their rival Chicago Bears to get to the Super Bowl. In the continuing saga between the NFL’s oldest and coldest rivalry to date, Green Bay finally got over the hump and defeated the Bears, 21-14, on Soldier Field.

Superbowl XLV will be between two stingy defenses who are both fast, strong and have big, veteran play-makers. Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews III have both had unbelievable seasons, along with emerging cornerback Tramon Williams, who has played extremely well this postseason. On the other side of the ball, James Harrison and Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers present veteran knowledge and just pure talent.

Offensively, the matchup is once again quite similar. Green Bay may have the upper hand with their receiving core. Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and tight ends Tom Crabtree and Donald Lee bring unpredictable routes, explosive speed, and crossing patters only a top quarterback in the league could diagnose. That’s why Aaron Rodgers is a key factor in this game. No one was more mobile this year at the quarterback position (besides Mike Vick) than Aaron Rodgers. Besides being able to extend plays with his legs, his arm is an even more dangerous weapon. This year he threw for just about 4,000 yards with 28 touchdowns. During his time in the league, Rodgers has grown and developed into one of the best the game has to offer.

With Ryan Grant out, the Packers will look to James Starks and John Kuhn to carry the ball effectively against a stingy Steeler defense.

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Packers look to finish off impressive season