Aaron Rodgers finished the 2010 season as the NFC's top rated passer. He threw for 3,922 yards and 28 touchdowns while completing over 65 percent of his passes. He's only thrown two interceptions since Week 7.
But while Rodgers may have the accolades, he's still in search of his first playoff win.
After a 51-45 loss last year to Arizona in the wild card round, which ended when a Rodgers fumble was returned for a touchdown in overtime, the Packers quarterback said he's learned what it takes to win in the postseason.
"It takes consistency for 60 minutes," Rodgers said. "That's the biggest thing. Last year (in Arizona) we turned the ball over. We spotted them 17 points and made a great comeback, but it hurt giving them 17 points early."
In order to capture that elusive playoff victory, Rodgers will have to best an Eagles secondary led by Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel. The NFC's interception leader this season with seven picks, Samuel has saved his best for postseason play.
In 18 career playoff games, Samuel has recorded seven interceptions – a total that is tied for the most among active players with Baltimore's Ed Reed. Out of those seven playoff interceptions, Samuel has brought four of them back for a touchdown. That's a number that is second to none in NFL history.
Rodgers is well aware of the challanges that Samuel poses to a passing attack that relies on rhythm and tempo.
"He's had a great career, and another very solid season this year with seven interceptions," Rodgers said of the Eagles cornerback. "He's a guy you have to be aware of. But I'm going to go through my progressions and make the appropriate read and hopefully put it in a spot where only our guy can get it."
In an effort to help Samuel and the rest of the secondary, the Eagles' front four must find a way to apply pressure on Rodgers. With so many threats in the Green Bay passing attack, teams that are forced to blitz Rodgers often pay the price.
He's only been a starting quarterback for three seasons, but the Packers signal caller has quickly developed the reputation as being one of the best in the NFL against the blitz – a compliment that Rodgers shares with his entire offense.
"I think we do a pretty good job protection-wise," Rodgers said. "I think the biggest difference between this year and last year is that we've had pretty good continuity up front (on the offensive line) with our starters not missing too many games. If those guys give me a little bit of time, we feel like we've got some playmakers and it's just a matter of me getting the ball to them in a position where they can gain some yards after the catch."
Rodgers will take the field Sunday afternoon looking for the first playoff victory of his young NFL career. When asked what a win against the Eagles Sunday would mean to him, his answer was short and simple.
"It would just be the next step."
Eagles fans wouldn't mind seeing Rodgers wait at least another year.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 6:00 p.m., January 8