Packers-Vikings: The rematch
One of the intriguing storylines of the Packers-Vikings Wild Card game is the fact that these two teams just met in Week 17. Facing a divisional foe is always difficult and that task is made even more difficult when you factor in the pressures of the postseason.
However, the Wild Card-Week 17 rematch is not uncharted territory. To be sure, it doesn't happen often but it has happened a handful of times over the last decade. In fact, the 2009 playoffs featured three Week 17 rematches: Packers-Cardinals, Eagles-Cowboys and Jets-Bengals. The Philadelphia-Dallas game is the one that stands out since that was a divisional rivalry. In Week 17 the Cowboys blanked the Eagles 24-0 at home to clinch the NFC East, then beat the Eagles again the next week 34-14. This may not bode well for the Packers but the Cowboys were home for the playoff game whereas the Vikings will be on the road.
Playing at home cannot be overlooked, even though homefield advantage isn't quite what it used to be. Last year the home team was 4-0 in the Wild Card round and 8-2 overall in the postseason. In fact, the only team to score a road playoff win last year was the Giants. In 2010, however, homefield didn't offer much of an advantage, with home teams 1-3 in the Wild Card and 4-6 overall.
So again, there's no magic formula when it comes to the postseason. It's not necessarily about being hot down the stretch, or playing at home, or getting a rematch. It's simply about playing very good football, something the Packers failed to do in Week 17. But if the Packers tighten up on third down and in special teams coverage a repeat of last week isn't likely.