The Pack is Back!!!
The Green Bay Packers only need one victory in the last two weeks of the regular season to capture the NFC North Crown. The Packers didn’t wait until the last week of the season to win the division, they took care of business on Monday in Minnesota at TCF Stadium, a place they have not won since it opened.
Two weeks ago, future hall of fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers said, “I wouldn’t mind winning ugly all the way to the Super Bowl”.
The Packers are now 12-3, NFC North Champions and on the brink of a first-round playoff bye. The offense was ugly Monday night and did not score a touchdown until late in the third quarter. The defense was as dominant has it had been all season. When it comes to playoff games, the old sayings go, “defense travels” and “defense wins championships”.
In the past four games the Packers defense has allowed 13, 15, 13 and 10 points respectively. This defense is keeping the Packers in the game and giving Aaron Rodgers and company a chance. Za’Darius Smith was a Pro Bowl snub, but Monday Night he made a statement to the rest of league. He recorded 6 tackles and 3.5 sacks against the Vikings. He was all over the field wrecking havoc.
The Packers defensive line definitely won the game in the trenches. Kenny Clark recorded a sack and two big time tackles. They were getting pressure on Kirk Cousins even with a three-man rush. Defensive coordinator did not have to empty out the toolbox to create pressure this game.
On the offensive side of the football, the team struggled. Early on they could not get anything going. Typically, when Adams receives a lot of targets, running back Aaron Jones disappears from the offense. Not on Monday Night. Adams had 13 receptions on 16 targets and 116 yards. To put that in perspective, Don Hutson holds the single game receptions record in team history with 14, which he set in 1942.
You had a sense all game that Aaron Jones was going to break open for a long run. He finally did on a 56-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to close the game out. He finished with 154 yards on 23 attempts and 2 touchdowns. A balanced offensive attack on the stat sheet.
Even though they won the NFC North Division, this team isn’t finished yet. That was evident after the game, as the team was wearing NFC North Champions hat, they were also wearing shirts that said “The North is not enough”. We’re headed to the playoffs and January football has returned to Titletown!! We’ll find out the seed next week, but for now, the team delivered its fan base with an NFC North Championship for Christmas. Go Pack Go!!!
Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag