By Danny Cox
A 6-0 start to the 2015 NFL regular season had everyone thinking the Green Bay Packers were one of the only true Super Bowl contenders in the NFC and in the league. Then, they lost three in a row. Three of their last seven games ended in a loss including the season finale that could have won them the NFC North title.
Many thought they were just limping into the postseason, and that is actually quite correct. The Packers have 17 players on this week's injury report heading into the Wild Card Round game against the Washington Redskins. Some have already ruled them out and feel as if they only made the playoffs because the majority of the NFC is weak.
None of those thoughts are in the head of Packers head coach Mike McCarthy.
"We're going to Washington to win," McCarthy said Wednesday. "I mean, we're in the playoffs. We're fully aware of what people maybe think about us. That frankly was the message today. ... We like our opportunity. We've earned the opportunity."
Yes, he may think a lot about his team and believe in them. He says that he doesn't really care what anyone thinks about them, but the press conference on Wednesday was full of high energy. McCarthy was extremely demonstrative and wanted to let the world know that the Packers are for real.
"Like I said, it’s the postseason," McCarthy said. "We’ve had a chance to clean up our house and get it ready to showcase who the hell we are."
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers knows the team has been struggling and that the injuries are playing havoc with their preparation. He thinks that the playoffs have put a renewed sense of urgency and explosiveness in the team and that they're ready to face off with the Redskins.
"I've never lost confidence in myself, and our team will be ready to play," Rodgers said on Wednesday. "I'm confident that there's a different focus this week. And as much as you wouldn't want this to be the standard, that you can 'turn it on and off,' I think our guys are turning it on this week. And we're going to play better."
After failing to win the NFC North for the first time since 2010 and falling to the number five seed in the playoffs, the Packers are prepared to move forward. The regular season is now behind them and the playoffs are directly in front of them. Further down the road is the Super Bowl, but it's not their goal. Winning it is what they have in mind.
The Green Bay Packers have faith in themselves as a team and know what they are capable of doing and how far they can go, even if it means winning four games to get there. Their confidence is at an all-time high, and now it just needs to show on the field against the Washington Redskins.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
for more features.