ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — It’s not about the quarterbacks, but it is. That sums up the NFC Championship game this Sunday at Lambeau Field between the Buccaneers and the Packers.
Tom Brady will be making his 44th playoff start of his career. Aaron Rodgers will be making the 20th playoff start of his career. The two men have combined to lead their respective teams to 43 playoff wins in their careers.
There isn’t much these two men haven’t seen from defenses in their careers. Packers coach Matt LaFleur says it’ll be great to be a part of such a legendary matchup.
“Any time you’re talking about two of the greatest ever, watching them compete it’s always a treat (and) especially to be a part of it. That makes it even more special.”
But LaFleur says don’t get too caught up in the quarterbacks. There will be a lot of other guys on the field Sunday who will have a say in the outcome of this game.
“This is more about two great football teams going at against each other with a lot on the line. So this should be a great game. I know it’s going to be extremely competitive. We’re going to get their best shot. We’re going to give them our best shot and we’ll see what happens.”
The Packers didn’t exactly deliver their best shot in week six when they lost to the Buccaneers in Tampa 38-10. The Packers jumped out to a 10-0 lead but it was all downhill from there. Even Aaron Rodgers had an off-day. He threw two picks including a pick-six. He was also sacked five times.
“They definitely got to us, got us off rhythm,” said LaFleur of the Buccaneers’ defense. “Certainly that is a damn good defense. They’ve got star-studded players across the board. They play a really fast, aggressive-type scheme. They can bring multiple, different pressures.” “They are a talented group.”
LaFleur’s other big takeaway from that week six game is the Packers lost the turnover battle. That can’t happen again.
“I think the turnover battle, just like it is almost every week, that’s going to be a critical part of it. You look at what Tampa was able to do versus New Orleans, you know, they had four turnovers in that game. That’s a big reason why they’re in the position that they’re in.”
LaFleur says there are lessons to be learned from the regular season game against the Buccaneers, but he won’t put too much stock into what happened that day.
“That was three months ago and, you know, when you get to this time of the year it really doesn’t matter. You know, you’re in the playoffs and you’ve got to focus on what’s in front of you. We’ll take what we can from that game and try to learn from it and apply it where we can.”
Catch the NFC Championship game Sunday at 2:05 p.m. CT on Fox 39 in Rockford.