Warren Sapp argues the Packers can go down just as quickly as any other team in the postseason, even with home-field advantage throughout. The Hall of Fame defensive tackle shared why he’s not buying the hype on Aaron Rodgers and the crew.
Warren Sapp isn’t buying the Packers hype
The seven-time Pro Bowler was a recent guest on The Rich Eisen Show. He discussed his expectations for the playoffs. The Green Bay Packers came up as a legitimate threat to the Bucs, to which Sapp scoffed.
“You’re telling me that Green Bay is just vibing,” said Sapp. “If you leave 17 [Davante Adams] in motion across the middle of the field wide open, you deserve to be beat. Baker Mayfield goes up in there and throws four interceptions. Mayfield had them on the ropes.”
Sapp referenced the Week 16 24-22 victory over the Cleveland Browns. He suggested no one should be crowning the Packers since the Browns gave them a run for their money at Lambeau Field.
“You telling me that [Tom] Brady, [Matthew] Stafford, or any of these other NFC teams can’t go up there and get them?” Sapp asked. “Come on, dog. Green Bay is not that. We watched them take the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’ hands because they had an analytics guy who’s never won anything.”
Instead, the Hall of Famer thinks his Buccaneers could take down Green Bay if it comes to it.
“Let’s line this thing up and see what happens,” said Sapp. “Who fears Green Bay? Not in Tampa Bay. I know better than that.”
How Aaron Rodgers and company can prove the Hall of Famer wrong
Surely, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers aren’t concerned with what Warren Sapp thinks of them. This is a confident football team that doesn’t need any bulletin-board material. Still, the Hall of Famer didn’t mind providing them with some.
Matt LaFleur’s squad finished with a 13-4 record, good for the NFC North crown and the No. 1 seed in the NFC. The Packers are a legitimate threat to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Rodgers is likely the front-runner to win NFL MVP, and he makes a strong case. The 38-year-old threw for 4,115 yards, 37 touchdowns, and seven interceptions while completing 68.9% of his passes. While Tom Brady might have finished with better overall numbers, Rodgers leads the top team in the conference.
With No. 12 under center, Green Bay will always have a strong chance. Not too many teams can slow him down when he’s on his game. He and Davante Adams are the most lethal quarterback-wide receiver tandem in the NFL. If the Packers can establish a steady rushing attack with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, this offense could be unstoppable.
The team’s overall health is trending in the right direction. Green Bay could be getting offensive tackle David Bakhtiari, cornerback Jaire Alexander, and defensive end Za’Darius Smith back for the Divisional Round. Those returns would be massive boosts to the Packers’ quest for a Super Bowl.
What roadblocks stand in Green Bay’s way?
The Green Bay Packers are getting healthy at the perfect time, but that doesn’t make them a shoo-in to come out of the NFC. Some pretty formidable teams are standing in their path.
As Warren Sapp suggested, the Packers aren’t flawless by any means. That’s what makes their upcoming Divisional Round showdown with the San Francisco 49ers so intriguing.
The Niners are coming off an upset victory over the No. 3 seed Dallas Cowboys. San Francisco went to Jerry World to pick up the win and now heads to Lambeau Field, oozing with confidence.
Kyle Shanahan’s formula travels well in the playoffs. The 49ers run the football efficiently and effectively. It’s their bread and butter. Elijah Mitchell and Deebo Samuel gashed Dallas for 168 rushing yards combined. Green Bay isn’t awful against the run but will have its hands full trying to slow down those two.
Shanahan will try to make the game as easy as possible for Jimmy Garoppolo because he can’t outduel Aaron Rodgers. On the other side of the ball, the Niners defense came up big against the Cowboys. If Nick Bosa and Fred Warner can go, this unit could cause some problems for the Packers.
If Green Bay makes it past San Francisco, it would face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Los Angeles Rams. Both are probably more complete teams than the 49ers.
If anybody can navigate the field, it’s Aaron Rodgers. However, it’s not a sure thing.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.