|Packers hosting NFC championship game for first time since '96 season|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 13 January 2008 16:38|
Instead of playing at Dallas' Texas Stadium, where the three-time MVP is 0-9 in his career, the Green Bay Packers will host the NFC championship game against the New York Giants next Sunday.
``I really haven't had time to digest it,'' Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Sunday night. ``I'm just excited about having the game here at Lambeau Field.''
A November clash of 10-1 teams left Dallas with the inside track for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Both the Packers and Cowboys ended up 13-3 with first-round byes.
Green Bay beat Seattle 42-20 on Saturday, but Dallas couldn't hold up its end of the deal for a potential rematch, losing 21-17 to the Giants on Sunday.
``We'd love to play at home,'' Favre said after Saturday's game. ``We haven't had a whole lot of success in Dallas. I'm well aware of that, but I'm just pleased that we won this game and gave ourselves an opportunity.''
Now, he'll get that chance at home, where Favre is 8-2 in the postseason.
McCarthy, who was planning to start breaking down film late Sunday night, said he watched the game alone, in his office. He wouldn't say if he was on the edge of his seat in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game.
``I'm boring. There's no drama here,'' McCarthy said, laughing. ``It was a great game to watch.''
Now, the Giants, the league's most road-hardened team with nine straight victories away from New York, will visit Lambeau Field's winter wonderland, where about 6 inches of snow fell Saturday night and the Packers are 8-1 this season.
``You have to respect the fact that they went into Dallas and Tampa Bay in a playoff atmosphere and won those games,'' McCarthy said. ``It's a credit to their players, their coaching staff; the ability to focus and get over the hurdles that road games do present to you and that's why they're playing in the NFC championship game.''
It'll be the first NFC championship game in Green Bay since the Packers beat Carolina 30-13 on Jan. 12, 1997. Green Bay went on to win the Super Bowl that year for Favre's only title. Sunday's game is expected to be frigid, with a forecast of highs in the single digits and wind chills below zero with kickoff not until the late afternoon.
``I'm told already it's going to be cold. Wind is the biggest thing because Brett does a great job with the football, handling the football in bad weather,'' McCarthy said. ``The wind is the only thing I'm ever concerned about.''
The teams have a long history in the playoffs. Green Bay won four NFL titles against New York in 1939, 1944, 1961 and 1962. The Giants' only postseason win against the Packers came in the 1938 NFL championship.
This season, the two teams met in New York on Sept. 16 and Favre had his way that Sunday, setting the career mark for wins by a starter with a 35-13 victory.
Favre completed his first 14 second-half passes and threw three touchdown passes to rally the Packers. Giants quarterback Eli Manning played well.
``When we played the Giants, Eli had hurt his shoulder the week before and their defense was in the second game of a new defensive system,'' McCarthy said. ``There were a number of factors, just watching the game today, I thought studying them to this point, you could see they're playing very well in all three areas.''
But so are the Packers, something McCarthy acknowledges.
``A lot has happened since Week 2,'' McCarthy said. ``I would say the same thing. We are different football team than we were in Week 2, and definitely the New York Giants are a different football team.''
Still, the Packers hope to use the uniqueness of Lambeau to their advantage.
``I would like to have it in Lambeau for our fans and for us, but wherever it's at, we're going in there with the same attitude and sense of urgency,'' linebacker Nick Barnett said. ``We're going to play our hearts out to get to the Super Bowl.''