USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin’s Brett Christopherson caught up with Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb, who looked ahead to Sunday’s NFC wild-card matchup against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:40 p.m. This Q&A is presented by Tundraland:
Julius Peppers told us on Monday’s Clubhouse Live that “this is a special time of the season,” and that “people remember December and January football.” How fun is postseason football? Are the guys reinvigorated now that the playoffs have arrived?
Cobb: I wouldn’t say reinvigorated. I would say that we’re excited to continue our season. Obviously, it was very, very, very tough to get to this point. And it took a lot of work. But now that we’re here, this isn’t it. This isn’t the best part of it. We still have a lot of work to do, to do everything that we set out to do at the beginning of the season. And I think we’re excited about the opportunity. The intensity level always turns up when playoff football comes around. And everything we do – the margin of error is so much smaller. I think we’re all really excited about this opportunity and finding a way to get it done.
The Giants finished the regular season ranked 10th in the league in total defense and allowed just 17.8 points per game, which ranked as the second fewest. What jumps out to you about the Giants’ defense as you study and prepare for those guys?
Cobb: I would say what jumps out the most to me is just their ability to disguise coverage. They do a great job of rolling their coverage and blitzing different guys. So it’s definitely going to be a big day for our offensive line and Aaron (Rodgers) to be on top of that and being able to pick it out. But there are holes in their coverages in their defense when you’re blitzing so many guys, and the defense that you play behind makes it tough on the back end. So as long as we’re able to pick up blitzes, I think it could be a big day on the back end for us down the field.
You faced and beat the Giants back in Week 5. Have both teams changed and evolved too much since then for that earlier matchup to have much bearing on how you get ready for Sunday’s game? Or, does having played them already this season help with your preparation, even though you can expect some unscouted looks?
Cobb: I think it definitely helps that we played them. Obviously, with us being able to know the guys that we played against and have a good understanding of the type of player they are. And we’re definitely going to get some unscouted looks. We’re going to see some things that we didn’t see in the first game. But they’ve definitely evolved. They have some guys that are a little healthier now. Last time we played them, they were banged up in the back end. So it’s definitely going to be a great game, and we’re looking forward to it.
How has the emergence of guys like Geronimo Allison and Aaron Ripkowski and even others who have stepped up during this winning streak made you a more dynamic and dangerous offense heading into the postseason?
Cobb: I think it has definitely been a big help for us having guys like Geronimo and “Rip” make plays. It makes us more dangerous. You have more guys to worry about. “G-Mo” is very talented. He brings something different to the table for us. Like I always say, we’re all different in our own kind of way, but we all make plays. And the more guys you have making plays, the better it is for the offense. So we’re going to need that. We’re going to need that to continue. “Rip,” he has continued to play well throughout this season and with every opportunity he has had. It’s very exciting for us. I think we’re definitely in a great place right now offensively.
Why can the Packers make a deep playoff run?
Cobb: I’m not really looking at it like that right now. I’m looking at it one game at a time. It’s not about making a deep playoff run right now. It’s about going 1-0 against the Giants. It’s win or go home. It’s playoff football, and if you look too far ahead, you’re going to get knocked off. These teams are tough, and especially the Giants. Offensively, they’re a great team. They’ve been able to put up points. Defensively, they play really well. They have some ball hawks in the back end, and they’ve got some guys that can get after the quarterback. So it’s going to be a great game. You can’t look too far in advance. You’ve got to focus on the game on Sunday and just take it for what it is.
Brett Christopherson: 920-993-7117, or firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @PCBrettC