Cory’s Corner: The Packers need home cooking in the playoffs

Aaron Rodgers Lambeau Leap

After starting out the season 1-2, the Packers are playing like it’s 1996.

And it’s all due to a little home cooking.

Lambeau Field has turned into a House of Horrors for opposing teams this year. The Packers have scored 219 of 330 points at home. They lead the NFL in home scoring and total points scored.

“It’s that Lambeau luck,” said linebacker Mike Neal after the Packers destroyed Philadelphia 53-20. “We’ve been coming out pretty strong in our home games. When you jump on a team like that, it’s pretty hard to come back in Lambeau. We did a pretty good job of that.”

Neal is on to something, but when you put up back-to-back 50 burgers on the scoreboard for the first time in franchise history, it appears there’s a little more than luck that’s responsible for such lopsided scores. The Packers are playing their 96th overall season and 94th in the NFL. Nobody at City Stadium, Milwaukee County Stadium or Lambeau Field has ever seen this before. Heck, the Packers are only the fifth team in NFL history to notch two-straight 50-point games.

Of course it helps when you’ve got a quarterback that is absolutely white-hot. Aaron Rodgers is 96 for 144 (66.7 percent), with 18 touchdowns, zero interceptions and an absurd passer rating of 138.1 in five home games. Rodgers is zipping balls into tight windows and is having fun torching teams that have regularly played at least one safety high. Rodgers is playing so well at home that when he does misfire, he acts like it’s a playoff loss.

Brett Favre also got out to a 5-0 home start en route to a Super Bowl XXXI win. Favre played well in that span but it shows what kind of a run Rodgers is on right now. Favre was 110 for 191 (57.6 percent), with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. Favre notched one 300-yard game during that period but Rodgers has three.

The best way for the Packers to secure a trip to the desert for Super Bowl XLIX is to grab home-field advantage. This team stands on the gas pedal right away as evidenced by Rodgers’ perfect 64-yard bomb to Jordy Nelson on the third play from scrimmage. And defenses generally love it when they have a team facing third-and-5 or more. The Packers converted five of those against the Eagles.

“We have a great home-field advantage, probably the best in football,” said Packers coach Mike McCarthy. “This is our element. This is where we live … you have to be dominant at home.”

With the speed that Rodgers is unloading the ball early in the game, defensive linemen cannot get a consistent pass rush. It is also setting up play-action and rollouts for later.

Even the Packers defense and special teams has an extra pep in its step at home. Julius Peppers showed off his athletic basketball skills by returning a couple of interceptions. The Packers have 18 sacks, five defensive and special teams touchdowns and have forced 12 turnovers in five games.

Three of the final six games are at home — including what appears to be a Super Bowl sneak peek when the Patriots come to town on Nov. 30.

The time is now. Rodgers is healthy and playing the best ball of his career. The modified defense with Clay Matthews playing inside linebacker is much improved and even the tight ends are starting to come into view.

This is a Super Bowl team. It just depends if the NFC road to Glendale goes through Lambeau.


Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn


8 thoughts on “Cory’s Corner: The Packers need home cooking in the playoffs

  1. Absolutely could not agree more. It seemed like home-field advantage didn’t work in our favor in 2011, but it seems the Pack has realized that playing at home isn’t an excuse to relent, but in fact a reason to play even better.

    Clinching the first seed could prove to be pivotal against the Kitties, Whiners or Seacocks, if it weren’t for a few key bad secondary plays, GB would have beat San Fransicko last year.

    With Carson Palmer out in Arizona, it’s only a matter of time before the Cards start picking off Stanton and they lose their chance at the first seed. The same goes for the Eagles.

    Lions as every year will refuse to win the division at all costs. They’re winning games, but they look less impressive with each passing week with the lone exception being Golden Taint.

    Cowboys have been struggling lately, and I expect that to continue.

    1. Youre dead on. All the jam-packed NFC playoff hopefuls are trending downwards, aside from maybe (and i hate to say this) the 9ers, who are still not looking as good as years past. Every other NFC team will likely limp into the playoffs. Meanwhile the Packers are on a roll with a favorable schedule down the stretch (except for the Pats). It’s good to see the Lions O struggling even with Megatron back.

  2. Home games give every home team an advantage. I would suggest that a grass field in the cold suits some of our players better than a fast track, indoor surface. Clearly, Bulaga is better on a slower surface, and I think Lacy is too. Probably Bakhtiari and Nelson as well. Our defense in general does not have great speed, with a few exceptions like Shields and CMIII, so slow fields tend to minimize the disparity in speed with some teams that are built for speed. Rodgers would be great on turf or on grass himself, but he gets better protection at Lambeau field because his O-line plays better on grass, and consequently has been playing lights out there.

  3. I think it’s quite possible (even likely?) that the NFC will go through Lambeau.

    The NFC is coming down to the wire. I took a look at the remaining
    schedules and took a few educated guesses. For purposes of clear
    prognostication, I assumed no injuries to franchise players. Pretty
    interesting stuff – even for Bears fans who are already out of it. My
    picks are below.

    The real interesting teams are Arizona with Stanton at QB, Dallas and Seattle.
    All three have really difficult schedules remaining. I can see all
    three teams just sliding terribly to finish the year. ARI in particular
    could realistically lose all of their remaining games except @ATL next
    week. I put games I thought would be a coin flip as a ?.

    This would leave Dallas and Seattle out of it (2 deserving teams).

    #1 Seed: GB’s (7-3) remaining schedule: @MIN, (W) NE, (?) ATL, (W) @BUF, (W) @TB, (W) DET(W) Final Record 13-3 or 12-4

    #2 Seed: PHI’s (7-3) remaining schedule: TEN (W), DAL (?), SEA (W), DAL (W), @WAS (W), @NYG (W) – Final Record: 12-4ish

    #3 Seed: ARI’s (9-1) remaining schedule: @SEA, (L) @ATL, (W) KC, (?) @STL, (?) SEA, (?) @SF (L) Final Record: 11-5ish

    #4 Seed: Prob New Orleans. Maybe ATL Final Record of (8-8 at best)

    #5 Seed DET’s (7-3) remaining schedule: @NE, (L) CHI, (W) TB, (W) MIN, (W) @CHI, (W) @GB (L) Final Record: 11-5

    #6 Seed SF’s (6-4) remaining schedule: WAS (W), SEA (W), @OAK (W), @SEA (L), SD (W), ARI (W) – Final Record: 11-5

    Left Out:

    #7 DAL’s (7-3) remaining schedule: @NY, PHI (?), @CHI (W), @PHI (L), IND (L), @WAS (W) – Final Record: 10-6ish

    #8 SEA’s (6-4) remaining schedule: ARI (W), @SF (L), @PHI (L), SF (W), @ARI (L), STL (W) – Final Record: 9-7

    1. It’s plain that we need to be rooting for the Pats this weekend, against the Lions in general, and against the Cards every week (even when it comes to rooting for the Seahawks and 49ers – yuck).

      Assuming GB takes care of business and doesn’t drop any remaining NFC games, they WILL have the tiebreaker over every NFC foe except Seattle (who’s not going to be competing for a divisional championship anyway) and possibly Arizona (pending their outcomes in games against the Seahawks). If ARI comes out with a good (2-0 or even 1-1) record against Seattle, we can pretty much kiss homefield goodbye because they’ll have a better record than us.

      Either way – assuming GB takes care of business in the NFC (a safe assumption), they are pretty much set as one of the top 2 seeds.

  4. This article points to the fact that the Packers cannot have a let down, especially in any of their remaining NFC games. This week at the Vikes should be a no brainer and an easy win but that is exactly what makes for a trap game. All of us Packer fans are looking forward to the matchup with NE, but in reality the more important game is this week versus the Viqueens. We should not take them for granted. They will place tough at home and will want to make up for their humiliating defeat at Lambeau earlier this season (and probably for several seasons for that matter). The Packers are clearly the better team but they cannot afford a letdown. Hopefully they will be focused on the Vikes, even though the media and the fans are looking ahead to NE, which is a less important game for the Packers in terms of winning the division and playoff seeding. If we end up going 12-4 it will be much better to lose one of the remaining AFC games than any of the remaining NFC games. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

  5. Lets worry about the Vikings before we worry about the playoffs! I expect we will win, but one game at a time.

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