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Aaron Rodgers said the Packers would be ready for the playoffs and he was right

Rodgers and the Packers advanced after dominating Washington on Sunday.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers had many doubters heading into the playoffs. They were coming off a loss in Week 17 that gave the Minnesota Vikings the NFC North title, and a week before that, they suffered a humiliating defeat to the playoff-bound Arizona Cardinals.

"I have confidence in those guys and myself that when it matters for all of the marbles we're going to show up," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said after the 38-8 loss to Arizona.

They certainly showed up against Washington in the Wild Card round of the playoffs on Sunday. Though they weren't able to turn the confidence into a win over the Vikings in the regular season finale, that loss may have given them the motivation they needed. Rodgers put up a pair of passing touchdowns while Eddie Lacy and James Starks punched another two in on the ground, leading the Packers to a 35-18 victory.

"I missed a couple early on and then I settled in and made better throws. When we got the tempo going, it snowballed," Rodgers said after the game. "It's one or two plays and today we made them. We played with a lot of confidence and converted in the run game and in the pass game."

Green Bay started the game off on the wrong foot, allowing Washington to put up 11 unanswered points in the first half, and actually looked outmatched on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the Packers showed the same lack of rhythm they had been showing for weeks, but managed to pull things together in the second quarter and did not look back from there.

The Packers came storming back and took the lead for good when Rodgers orchestrated an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive in the third quarter. The offense looked like it had a real rhythm after the start of the game and the Packers clearly looked like the better team.

"I talked about turning it on," Rodgers said. "A lot of you thought it was lip service. We got our mojo going. It only takes one to believe we can make a run."

It was arguably the best game the Packers have played since they started the regular season with six consecutive wins. Following that streak they went on to lose four of their next five games, and after another brief winning streak against non-playoff teams, they finished the regular season with back-to-back losses.

"We were able to run and pass. That's what you have to do," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "It starts with the quarterback. He has to be able to manage the whole thing, and he's a master of that. Good adjustments on the sideline, good adjustments by players and coaches."

McCarthy and Rodgers both took flack for their lacking play near the end of the regular season. The play-calling changed hands, Rodgers seemed to question the direction of the offense and the Packers seemingly had more questions than answers.

But they looked like the playoff team everybody expected on Sunday. In the Divisional round of the playoffs, the Packers will face an even tougher test: the team that dominated them by 30 points in Week 16. It's not a stretch to say that the Cardinals are a better team than Washington. Then again, Arizona shouldn't expect another easy beatdown, either.