McCarthy: Packers, Falcons 'will be different' from when they played in NFC Title Game

Wisconsin's Afternoon News


For the second time in two weeks, the Green Bay Packers are playing a fellow top NFC contender. For the second time in two years, the Green Bay Packers are helping to inaugurate a new stadium.

This makes Sunday's rematch of the NFC Title Game at the Atlanta Falcons (5 p.m. on WTMJ and your desktop) even more juicy.

Yet Coach Mike McCarthy sees that to truly call the Packers and Falcons the same teams that played in January (a 44-21 Packers loss) would be a falsehood.

"They're going to be different when they line up Sunday. We're going to be different," McCarthy said to WTMJ Packers analyst Larry McCarren Monday on Wisconsin's Afternoon News.

"This is why we play the game."

The Packers will open new Mercedes-Benz Stadium Sunday night.

"An exciting atmosphere," said McCarthy. "Winning on the road is very difficult to do in this league. This environment will be unique. We know we have a big challenge in front of us."

They also opened U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota on a Sunday night in Week 2 of 2016 - a game they lost. They hope to return to that stadium on the first Sunday in February for Super Bowl LII.

The Packers took the first step to get there by beating the Seattle Seahawks 17-9 - a contest dominated by the Packers defense.

"First thing that jumped out was, man, the way our defense flew around. The pursuit, the energy just really took over the line of scrimmage almost every play. I thought our defense was clearly dominant, holding the Seahawks to nine points."

McCarthy said the offense played within a "real herky-jerky game" to begin, but settled in and dominated the second half, scoring all their points with four drives ending in two touchdowns, a field goal and the last drive to run out the clock.

"I thought our guys really did a good job staying the course, hanging in there. The last four drives offensively told the story."

When it came to the 15-yard penalty new tight end Martellus Bennett committed in defending teammate Aaron Rodgers after a hit he took offense to, McCarthy was complimentary.

"Frankly, that's what you look for when you talk about being a good teammate, standing up for one another, being united, being connected. Marty did exactly what he was supposed to do at that moment."

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