GREEN BAY – Packers Coach Mike McCarthy expects his team to have a better sense of the opponent they’ll be facing in this Saturday’s playoff game, than the Packers did for a Week-16 game in the same stadium.
“I think you definitely get a feel for a team you played later in the season. I would think both teams feel the same way. Your preparation for each other is relatively fresh,” McCarthy said on Monday.
His remarks pertain specifically to the No. 2-seeded Arizona Cardinals, who scored a 38-8 win over the Packers at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Dec. 27. The game quickly got out of control, and the outcome was decided in the third quarter when the Cardinals returned two turnovers for touchdowns.
The Packers and Cardinals will meet in a rematch this Saturday night. The Packers are coming off a wild-card playoff win in Washington; the Cardinals enjoyed a bye week.
At issue for the Packers is the team’s travel plans. McCarthy said they had yet to be defined.
“We’re still working through the transportation. It was our goal to go out there on Thursday. I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said.
In a short week that requires major changes in the regular schedule, Monday is game plan day. The players will begin practicing on Wednesday.
“We’re going to give them two days to get their bodies back,” McCarthy said. “We have a lot of offense left from the first game we didn’t get to.
“Today’s game-plan day for the coaches. Outside the game, this is probably my favorite day. Aaron (Rodgers) has been very much involved the last couple of weeks,” McCarthy added of his quarterback. “He has a great football mind and he asks great questions. It’s good to go in there and make sure you hash it out.”
TV caught McCarthy and Rodgers in a couple of playful moments late in Sunday’s 35-18 win over the Redskins. The clips helped ease rumors of tension between the coach and quarterback.
“I enjoy our relationship. I guess it’s good everybody got to see good clips,” McCarthy added.
McCarthy was upbeat and playful in his banter with reporters on Monday.
“Playoff wins definitely bring a lot of confidence. It’s a great time. The fans at the airport, that was great,” he said of the team being greeted upon its arrival in Green Bay late Sunday night.
“We’re no underdog going to Arizona. I don’t care how people pick or what they think,” he added.