Happy New Year, people! I haven’t had time to think of a resolution, but getting to the Super Bowl sounds just right.
With the Wild Card games this weekend, it’s the beginning of a potential 4-game mini-season. Everyone’s record right now is 0-0, and in the playoffs the only thing that matters is finding a way to win and move on to the next level.
Minnesota is pretty much an indoor team, they don’t play their home games in the elements, like snow or vicious cold. I don’t happen to like cold weather, but it’s something the Packers are used to.
I missed the last regular season game against Minnesota because of an ankle concern. We felt it was the best option to sit, but you know how competitive I am, it didn’t “sit” well with me to miss such a big game. Like I’ve said, we play with pain and injuries, that’s the life of an NFL player. Still, it was more important that I’m good to go for the playoffs. And I will be ready this weekend.
Sitting out was tough. With the game being so tight, I felt like I could have played a part in the outcome. Like I’ve said before, you want the opportunity to be a playmaker and help your team out in certain situations. It was so nerve-wracking, I don’t know how fans do it! I’d definitely rather be playing.
There are advantages to playing on Wild Card weekend, even though you may be a little beat up. Last season when we had the bye and the week off before playing the Giants, we were kind of slow to start and lost. This year, playing in the Wild Card round, we just want to keep rolling. Despite losing this past week, we’ve been playing pretty well for several weeks now.
What are the other factors this weekend in our rematch against the Vikings? The Lambeau advantage is there. Minnesota is pretty much an indoor team, they don’t play their home games in the elements, like snow or vicious cold. I’m sure they practice outdoors at some point but we play and practice outside regularly. It’s like second nature to us and should give us an advantage. I don’t happen to like cold weather, but it’s something the Packers are used to.
It is a rematch, and we basically both know what the other team is going to do, so you try to expose what weaknesses they may have. I don’t know if you can call it a “hate-on,” but division rivalries are really intense. They know who we are, we know who they are. And this time it’s do or die.
Another factor is that loss to the Giants in the Divisional game last season. I know how bad it felt to lose that game, and I don’t want that feeling again. So I’ll be thinking about it leading up to the game, but then when we get onto the field on Saturday, it’ll be about finding a way to win this game.
When you’re in the locker room and then head into the tunnel to the field, it can be the hardest part. The fans are going wild, but you want to save up your energy for the game, not expend it. So you have to stay mentally focused on what you have to accomplish and not get caught up in the moment.
This is a big game for the fans. A lot of them have been fans for years, been part of these divisional rivalries and not liking our rivals that much. Being a night game, too, it’s going to be intense. It’ll be a big day for our fans and they’ll be a positive factor for us.
Personally, I’m very proud to have set a new franchise record for total yards in a season [2,342]. And, because of some injuries that created opportunities for me, I ended up as the team’s top receiver [80 catches, 954 yards]. Those are big accomplishments, but I’m just trying to stay focused on making it to the Super Bowl.
At the end of day, people will remember you more for being part of championship team. Aaron Rodgers recently complimented me on how I always come ready to play. We have mutual respect, and he gives me opportunities to make plays. It’s important for us as a team to have that faith in each other.
As for fans, they should expect us to come out battling and find a way to win and start this journey to New Orleans.
What happened the first time our blogger faced Minnesota at home. Uh oh…
Again, Happy New Year, and follow me on Twitter @rcobb18.
—As told to Ashley Jude Collie