Packers head coach Mike McCarthy watches his team during the
first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona
Cardinals, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.
GREEN BAY — Two straight losses to
finish the regular season sapped the Green Bay Packers of momentum
going into the playoffs.
They do have at least one distinct
advantage in their wild-card matchup this weekend against Washington.
Been there, done that.
Green Bay is making its
franchise-record seventh straight postseason appearance. The New
England Patriots are the only other NFL team that has been to the
playoffs seven straight years.
"I think that you can harness the
feelings and the things that worked in the wins and also think back on
the feeling when you lost and your season's over and you try to use
that as motivation," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said Wednesday.
"It can really give you the
inspiration to work a little bit harder during the week and try to
execute a little bit better," he added.
The longest-tenured Packer, Rodgers has
started 11 postseason games and played in the postseason each year
In this Jan.
3, 2016, file photo, Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers drops back
during the first half an NFL football game against the Minnesota
Vikings, in Green Bay, Wis. The Green Bay Packers have at least
one distinct advantage in their wild-card matchup this weekend
against Washington. They are postseason mainstays, compared to
the upstart Redskins.
The Redskins will be making just their
fifth playoff appearance since 1993 and first in three seasons, when
they lost a wild-card game at home to Seattle. Washington quarterback
Kirk Cousins played in that 24-14 loss on Jan. 6, 2013, entering in
relief of injured starter Robert Griffin III.
It is his only postseason appearance.
Said Cousins: "Playing at home can
certainly help our ability to play at a high level, but as far as does
it offset things? I don't know. But I do know (the Packers are) a very
experienced, talented team."
Looked at another way, Green Bay has
212 games of playoff experience on its roster compared with 76 for
Washington, according to STATS.
And that's counting the veterans who
came over as free agents, like defensive linemen Terrance Knighton and
Ricky Jean Francois, and safety Dashon Goldson, who together have 19
games of postseason experience.
"We've got some veteran guys on
this team that have really done a great job as far as leadership's
concerned of showing the young guys how to work and prepare and make
sure they do the right thing," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said.
In this Oct.
4, 2015, file photo, Green Bay Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji
(90) reaches for San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde
during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara,
Calif. The Green Bay Packers have at least one distinct
advantage in their wild-card matchup this weekend against
Washington. They are postseason mainstays, compared to the
But those experiences still pale in
comparison to Green Bay, where seasons are judged more by how far the
team got in the playoffs rather than just making it.
"That's the expectation and that's
what we're all about," second-year receiver Jared Abbrederis
said. "It's a good thing to be around."
Titletown's history might be one piece
of motivation upon which the Packers can draw in an otherwise
challenging season, especially for the once-vaunted offense. After a
6-0 start, the Packers ended the year 4-6 after struggling to score
"When an opportunity presents
itself, whether it's a tough catch or an easy catch, you've got to
make plays," receiver James Jones said. "Not to dwell on the
past, but it's playoff football now."
Just another different wrinkle for
veterans like Rodgers and Jones who have experienced just about every
scenario in the postseason.
The Packers won the Super Bowl as a
wild card in 2010. They got knocked out the following season in the
divisional round after finishing 15-1 in the regular season.
Two years ago, Green Bay needed to beat
Chicago on the final day of the regular season to get into the
playoffs in a game featuring the returns of Rodgers and Randall Cobb
from injuries. The Packers lost to San Francisco at home in a game
played in bone-chilling cold.
Last year, the second-seeded Packers
blew a 16-0 lead in the NFC title game in a 28-22 loss to Seattle.
"Well, I would definitely say when
you're in this league, you understand how hard it is to get to the
Super Bowl and those types of things. Veteran players understand
that," coach Mike McCarthy said. "But that's not the focus
... this is about beating the Redskins."
NOTES: The Packers had 17 players
listed Wednesday on their injury report including CB Sam Shields
(concussion), who did not practice. ... Six offensive linemen,
including the entire starting five, were on the injury list. LT David
Bakhtiari (ankle) and LG Josh Sitton (back) did not practice.