LOS ANGELES – Aaron Rodgers has called on the Green Bay Packers to draw inspiration from a hostile Washington Redskins crowd on Sunday as they attempt to reignite their Super Bowl hopes in a daunting opening playoff battle.
Rodgers and the Packers started the season in scintillating form, romping to victory in their opening six games before a defeat to the Denver Broncos in early November derailed their momentum.
The Packers subsequently lost six of their 10 remaining games, and finished the regular season with a whimper on Sunday when they went down 20-13 to the Minnesota Vikings to surrender the NFC North divisional title.
That loss has left Green Bay needing to do it the hard way if Rodgers is to realize his dream of playing in next month’s Super Bowl at the home of the San Francisco 49ers, his childhood team that famously ignored him in the 2005 draft.
The Packers can take comfort from recent history — in the 2010 season they won the Super Bowl after battling through the playoffs on the road having started as the NFC’s sixth seed.
Rodgers believes Green Bay can turn the disadvantage of playing away from Lambeau Field into a positive.
“It’s tough, but I think it can galvanize a team when you’re going in a hostile environment,” Rodgers said.
“I know we’re going to have a great crowd that’s going to follow us there. But, those are the fun wins,” Rogers added.
“Obviously, we’re spoiled to play in Lambeau, but the feeling you have (after) a road win (in the playoffs) and that flight back is a pretty special feeling that any former player would tell you is right at the top of the football mountain.”
A victory for Green Bay on Sunday would earn it a meeting with either the Carolina Panthers or the Arizona Cardinals, who both have the luxury of a week off after winning their divisions.