The Green Bay Packers will play in the Divisional round of the NFL playoffs at Lambeau Field on either Saturday January 22nd or Sunday January 23rd. We know for a fact that the opponent with not be the 2nd seed Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the 3rd seed Dallas Cowboys. Three of the possible opponents come from the NFC West (Rams, Cardinals, 49ers), a division in which the Packers swept this year. The other option is the 7th seed Philadelphia Eagles. Let’s do some quick scouting and analyzing the Packers possible Divisional Round opponents.
#4 Los Angeles Rams
In Week 12, Green Bay handled the LA Rams 36-28. It was a dominant win by the Packers just as it was last year against the Rams in the Divisional Round. This is starting to become a pretty familiar opponent. My prediction is that this is who the Packers end up seeing in the Divisional Round again this year. Sean McVay still has yet to beat Matt LaFleur.
We know what the Rams are. They have a solid, but inconsistent QB in Matthew Stafford. They have Pro Bowl WR Cooper Kupp who just won the triple crown. They added Odell Beckham Jr. midseason, and have an okay run game that ranks in the bottom half of the league. The Rams are star-studded on defense, but that unit as a whole has underperformed this year. I would expect the Packers to be able to handle the Rams once again, especially at a freezing cold game at Lambeau.
#5 Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals play the Rams in the last game of Super Wild Card Weekend, Monday night at 7:30 CT. This is another team that the Packers beat this year, in a crazy Thursday night game in which Rasul Douglas made a game winning interception. The Packers also had their JV receivers out there for that game, with Davante Adams and Allen Lazard out for Covid, and MVS on the IR.
Arizona started the season hot, jumped out to a 9-1 start, and surprised a lot of people. Since then, they finished the season 3-6 and regressed greatly. They got exposed as to what they are, and Kliff Kingsbury’s coaching decisions continue to be questioned. However, this is not a team to take lightly as they can still be dangerous. QB Kyler Murray is still a playmaker, and the team is anticipating the possible return of star players J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins. If the Cardinals can beat the Rams Monday night, and the Cowboys and Bucs take care of business at home, Green Bay will see Arizona for the second time this season.
#6 San Francisco 49ers
This is another likely scenario for the Packers to be hosting. I could very well see the 49ers knocking off the Cowboys in Dallas on Sunday afternoon. The 49ers are a hot team right now and are coming into form on offense, while playing very good defense. The Packers and 49ers played each other, in what feels like forever ago, back in Week 3 of this season. Green Bay won 30-28 in a thriller.
San Francisco has one of the best offensive weapons in the NFL in Deebo Samuel who is extremely versatile. They also have an emerging star at RB in rookie Elijah Mitchell, and with a healthy and fierce George Kittle, they are playing as good as any team right now in the NFL. If the Packers see the 49ers, they are going to have to first try to stop that great running game, and force Jimmy Garoppolo to make some throws and beat you. I would predict Green Bay to beat San Francisco in Lambeau, but this is an opponent that scares me if I’m being honest.
#7 Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles-Bucs is the first NFC playoff game to kickoff, on Sunday at noon CT. If the Eagles pull off the upset, Philly will automatically play Green Bay next. The Packers and the Eagles played in Week 13 last year, where Green Bay won handedly as the Eagles struggled to figure out who their QB was. This year, the Eagles are a really good rushing team. In fact, they set the Philadelphia Eagles franchise record for rushing yards in a season (2,715), and led the NFL in rush ypg with 159.7.
This rushing attack is led by QB Jalen Hurts, followed by RB’s Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard. Under first-year head coach Nick Sirianni, the Eagles started slow and were 3-6 at one point. However, once they found their rushing identity, while playing solid defense, they finished the season strong and grabbed the seven seed. Rookie WR Devonta Smith also showed flashes and looks to be a good piece for Philadelphia to build around with Hurts. I would not expect the Packers to see the Eagles in the playoffs this year, but if they do, look for a game plan surrounded around stopping QB Jalen Hurts and his running ability.