Matt Becker/Green Bay Packers
QB Aaron Rodgers and his teammates will have to be near perfect to beat Seattle.
The Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys, 26-21, in an NFC Divisional Playoff game Sunday that garnered all sorts of comparisons to the NFL Championship Game at Lambeau Field on Dec. 31, 1967. That was the last time these two teams met in the postseason in Green Bay, and even the halftime score, 14-10, was the same. The Packers won that one, too.
Sunday's tundra was hardly frozen, though. A network of pipes flowing with antifreeze kept the grass warm, and game-time temperatures hovered in the mid-20s, opposed to the minus 15 degrees, with wind chills between minus 36 and minus 48, for the Ice Bowl. The only player who apparently let the cold bother him was Dallas quarterback (and Burlington High School alum) Tony Romo, who wore a ridiculous-looking head, face and neck warmer.
And while we're putting the Ice Bowl behind us, let's also wrap up those discussions about the 1990s when, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put it in Sunday's edition, "the Dallas Cowboys... owned the Packers so badly it looked like they would never beat Dallas again."
Aaron Rodgers, playing with an injured left calf that caused him to occasionally limp while on the field Sunday, completed 24 of 35 passes and threw for 316 yards. In Green Bay's three previous playoff losses to the Cowboys in the 1993 and 1994 Divisional rounds and again in the 1995 NFC Championship Game, Brett Favre threw for comparable yardage twice but also tossed a total of five interceptions.
Rodgers hasn't thrown an interception at home since December 2012.
But now, home field advantage shifts to the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, who will host Sunday's NFC Championship Game at notoriously loud CenturyLink Field.
Former University of Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson passed for almost 3,500 yards this season, threw for 20 touchdowns and rushed for six more. And another former Badgers QB, Darrell Bevell, is Seattle's offensive coordinator.
The Seahawks drubbed the Packers 36-16 in the season opener, when Rodgers threw one pick and was sacked three times, and the Green and Gold were outmatched in every facet of the game.
Green Bay found itself in unfamiliar territory Monday morning -- as 7-point underdogs -- and will need to play near-perfect football this time around. That means Rodgers must find the stones to throw to cornerback Richard Sherman's side of the field, running back Eddie Lacy will need to rush for more than the 34 yards he did last time, and the Packers' defensive line has to contain the NFL's top running game.
It won't be easy, and it's not likely to happen.