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Packers partying like it's 2010

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

It didn't take much to dismantle the Vikings on Saturday night, and we'll know more about the Packers defense when they go up against the potentially potent 49ers next week, but for the moment the 2012 Green Bay Packers are looking like the 2010 Green Bay Packers and that's a scary thing.

I've said as much about Green Bay over the last few weeks and I'm not alone in terms of people loving the Packers late. There's an easy reason why: Aaron Rodgers.

Over Rodgers last five games in 2010, he went 3-2 with 1,321 yards, nine touchdowns, two interceptions and a 69.5 completion percentage. In 2012, he's completed 68.8 percent of his passes over the Packers last five games of the regular season while throwing for 1,457 yards, 11 touchdowns and one pick.

Uh oh.

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"We had some guys go down tonight so hopefully we got everybody back next week," Rodgers said on Saturday. "They're a good defense, but we kind of cut it off in the third quarter, couldn't get it going. We got to put it away, especially at home."

The Packers eventually put things away, and therein another similarity lies with the Green Bay defense, which limited Adrian Peterson to 99 yards on 22 carries, while making backup Joe Webb a complete non-factor.

Peterson, by the way, had previously shredded the Packers. But he had no room to work on Saturday. Perhaps part of it was Webb filling in for the injured Christian Ponder. Or perhaps it was Woodson stepping in and elevating a defense in the playoffs.

"The energy level was just an all-time high," Woodson said. "This week -- like last week -- we buzzed around. But this week we made the tackles. And we didn't allow him to get through the line of scrimmage and allow him to get yards from scrimmage after the contact. And we just kept putting the heat on him and that was the difference."

People tend to hone in on Rodgers incredible run in the 2010 postseason when they talk about the Packers success. That's not wrong, per se, but it ignores the job the defense did in winning a championship for Green Bay. They fielded a turnover-heavy, aggressive unit that dominated teams in January and February.

And there are other similarities too. DuJuan Harris, a guy picked off the scrap heap from Jacksonville, looked a lot like James Starks in 2010, violently pounding out yardage.

Starks wild-card round featured 123 rushing-yard performance. Harris only rushed for 47 yards on 17 carries, but he scored a touchdown and he caught five balls for 53 yards. It's not identical, but it looked pretty similar.

Rodgers stats in his first playoff game of 2012 are in the same vein too: he "only" threw for a touchdown and 274 yards on Saturday against Minnesota, but he went 23-for-33. In the Packers 2010 stretch Rodgers was 18-for-27 for 180 yards and three touchdowns.

The Packers are white hot. You might not have noticed because they aren't 15-0, but they've only lost two game since Indianapolis stormed back and stunned them.

And they're in a similar position to 2010, the last time Rodgers, Woodson and Clay Matthews held the Lombardi Trophy. Their quarterback is heating up, the running game looks physical and dangerous, and the defense is starting to make the plays it's supposed to make on a championship unit.

That this is the beginning should be a nightmare for the rest of the NFC and, by extension, the NFL.

"We're only going to get better," Woodson said as he walked away Saturday.

 
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