If not for a loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the regular-season finale, there’s a very good chance the Packers would be hosting the San Francisco 49ers in a divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field this weekend instead of the other way around.
But if you think the Packers are kicking themselves for having to play this game in San Francisco rather than Green Bay, you’re probably wrong.
Sure there’s an advantage to playing at home, but the Packers are capable of winning on the road, especially in the playoffs.
In playoff games away from Lambeau Field, Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers have teamed up to post an impressive 4-1 record.
The Packers can also lean on their playoff history for some support. The Packers have beaten the 49ers twice in San Francisco in the playoffs, once in an NFC divisional game in January 1996 and again in January 1998 in the NFC title game.
The Packers should have won a third playoff game in San Francisco in January 1999, but officials didn't call a Jerry Rice fumble on the 49ers' final drive, which led to a last-second Steve Young to Terrell Owens game-winning touchdown pass.
Recent NFL post-season history also shows that playoff teams in the 49ers’ position, coming off a bye and playing at home, don’t have an advantage.
Since the 2005 season, No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, even with the benefit of playing in front of the home crowd and getting an extra week of rest, are just 14-14 in divisional playoff games.