Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers were an NFL-best 15-1 last season.
Although they fell to the eventual world champion Giants in the playoffs, most people beyond the Packers locker room and Packers Nation would deem winning 15 games overall a very successful season.
Rodgers and the Packers are currently 5-3 coming into Sunday’s matchup with the Cardinals at Lambeau Field.
Rodgers says last year was last year, and this year is this year.
“Every year is a different year,” Rodgers said. “[There’s] new players, there’s new challenges, new adversity, different opponents often. This is a new team. We’re trying to figure out what’s going to be the best way to try and be effective on offense.”
The Packers have been very effective on offense over the last three weeks [all victories], posting 24 or more points in all three games.
Green Bay will face a Cardinals defense that’s allowed fewer than 21 points to their opponents in seven of their eight games this season.
On the flip side of that, the Packers offense has scored 21 points or more in seven of their eight games, so obviously something’s got to give on Sunday.
These two teams haven’t met since that incredible playoff game in Glendale, Ariz., back in January, 2010, a game the Cardinals won 51-45 in overtime.
Rodgers hasn’t faced the Cardinals defense since then, but based on what he’s seen on tape from them this week, he sees a big challenge ahead of him on Sunday.
“I think in general, this is a good defense,” Rodgers said. “Darnell [Dockett] is still playing at a very high level, Calais Campbell is going to be a perennial Pro-Bowler I think.”
Rodgers also mentioned linebackers Paris Lenon [Lenon played for the Packers from 2002-05] and Daryl Washington also as guys he and the offense will have to account for because of their disruptive nature.
“It’s fun to see Paris doing so well,” Rodgers said. “He’s been playing at such a high level. Washington is one of the bright, budding stars in the league. He’s doing a great job.”
Rodgers says “it’s impressive,” when speaking of the Cardinals defense and the amount of pressure they put on opposing offenses week-in-and-week-out, which is another thing he and his teammates will have to account for.
“They do a great job with the pressures that they run, they give you a bunch of different looks,” Rodgers said. “Their speed, the timing is very good with their pressure, but they have a uniqueness to their pressure, in that their three interior guys [Campbell, Dan Williams, Dockett] are all very good pass rushers.”
Green Bay has won 22 of its last 24 games at Lambeau Field, which has been a chamber of horrors for the Cardinals, who’ve lost eight straight games in Wisconsin dating back to 1949, when they were the Chicago Cardinals.
Rodgers says it’s a number of things that factor into the Packers success at home.
“I think we’ve been pretty good here over the years,” Rodgers said. “The weather always comes into play, [but] it’s not something that’s a major advantage for us, you just live in it, you kind of practice in it. The crowd, the crowd noise is a factor whenever you’re playing on the road, but I think it’s a combination of those things.”