GREEN BAY – Mike McCarthy isn’t worried about any playoff scenarios. All the Green Bay Packers coach is concerned with his making sure his team wins next Sunday at Minnesota, securing the NFC’s No. 2 seed.
Whoever and wherever the Packers play after that is fine with him – even if the Packers wind up facing the Vikings back at Lambeau Field a week after they meet in the regular-season finale.
“I really don’t care to talk about any type of scenarios like that. We’re really focused on beating the Vikings,” McCarthy said on Monday, one day after the team secured the No. 3 seed in the NFC with a 55-7 drubbing of Tennessee – then moved into the No. 2 spot temporarily after San Francisco’s loss at Seattle Sunday night.
“That’s the way you have to do it. We sat here last week and talked about what needed to be done – and just look at how much it changes in one week. There’s so many different scenarios out there, especially in the NFC with the way things can shake down. We’re just focused on beating the Vikings.
“As far as who we play, where we play in the playoffs, it’s really not a concern of mine. It’s important for us to stay on track and keep getting better, which I feel we still have an opportunity to improve as a football team this week.”
There are three ways the Packers can clinch the No. 2 seed in the NFC: A victory over the Vikings on Sunday; a tie with the Vikings plus a 49ers loss or tie with Arizona; or a loss to the Vikings but a 49ers loss to the Cardinals and a Seahawks loss or tie at home against St. Louis.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers said after Sunday’s game that matchups are important but that he wasn’t concerned about who the Packers will play.
“I think matchups matter. Different teams might match up better or worse against other teams,” Rodgers said. “We have the opportunity to host a playoff game, whether that’s the wild card round or the divisional round. That’ll be a good advantage for us, being able to stay at home. If we get a week off, that might help our injured guys. We’ll be ready to play, whoever comes to Lambeau.”
Whatever happens, McCarthy said the atmosphere at the Metrodome on Sunday with the Vikings in a win-and-they’re-in scenario – Minnesota would lock up the sixth and final NFC playoff spot with a victory – will benefit the Packers. Last year, they played their regular-season finale at home with nothing to play for, having locked up the NFC’s No. 1 seed.
“I think this is exactly the way you’d want it going into the playoffs, especially with this year’s team,” McCarthy said. “I still feel that we have the ability to be even better. I don’t think we’ve consistently played our best football yet.
“We obviously had a very decisive victory against the Titans, but this football team still has more in front of it. And that’s what I’m excited about – having the opportunity to play a playoff-type game, a playoff-game atmosphere, on the road with the crowd noise and both teams have a lot on the line. Shoot, I think it’s great for our football team.”
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