What a long haul for the Green Bay Packers. No playoff appearances in more than a decade, and no consecutive winning seasons since Vince Lombardi led them to victories in the first two Super Bowls in the mid '60s.

But working quickly and efficiently in his first two seasons as head coach, Mike Holmgren has at least restored respectability."My goal is for the Packers to be a consistent playoff-caliber football team. It's wonderful that we made the playoffs in my second year," Holmgren said Sunday after Green Bay blanked the Los Angeles Raiders 28-0 at icy Lambeau Field.

The victory and Philadelphia's win over New Orleans clinched at least a wild-card spot for the Packers, who hadn't been to the playoffs since the strike-shortened 1982 season.

The Packers haven't been in the postseason during a non-strike season since 1972 when they last won the NFC Central, something they can do again this Sunday by beating the Lions.

"I can't describe it really. It's just a start. But at least we accomplished one of our goals. At least we are there," said Holmgren, the former San Francisco offensive coordinator.

Green Bay, which just missed the playoffs last season while finishing 9-7, started 1-3 this year but will now take a 9-6 mark into Sunday's game at the Silverdome.

"At 1-3 a lot of people didn't give us a chance," said safety LeRoy Butler, who took a lateral from teammate Reggie White and scored after a Raiders' fumble Sunday to make it 21-0 in the 4th.

"We had a lot of leaders," said Butler, "a lot of people who knew early what was at stake."

The Packers came out of the cold Sunday to beat the Raiders, who are also 9-6 and still in the playoff hunt in the AFC. They host Denver this Sunday.

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The kickoff temperature Sunday was zero, the second coldest in the history of Lambeau Field, and the wind chill was minus-22 degrees, the third coldest in the history of the fabled stadium. And the footing was treacherous.

The coldest game ever in Green Bay was the 1967 championship game between the Packers and Dallas Cowboys dubbed "The Ice Bowl," when the temperature was minus-13 and the wind chill at 46-below.

"The field was like concrete. With the weather, we had to stretch their defense and we did that with our running game. It was so cold that I put vaseline in places I never thought of before," said Packers quarterback Brett Favre.

"We still have one more left. I think our goal is to win the division."

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