The Green Bay Packers secured another NFC North division title by defeating the Detroit Lions on Sunday. They also regained the top spot in the NFC after the Saints lost to the Eagles. The Lions certainly didn’t make it easy, but the Packers now have full control of their playoff destiny. They have a clean shot at the top seed and a bye week. With such crucial team accomplishments clearly in view, here are the key takeaways from Sunday’s game. This is the Week 14 Recap to the Packers 31-24 win over the Lions.
Special Teams Stumbles Again
With so many positives on the season at large, it may seem cynical to focus on a negative. However, the kick coverage unit gave up a massive return in a crucial moment late in the game for the second consecutive week. That is an error that cannot be overlooked, as the return coverage issues clearly weren’t resolved. Special teams errors such as that should not be happening this late in the season, especially to a team that has Super Bowl aspirations. I said it last week, but it bears repeating: one long kick/punt return can be the difference between winning it all or going home in the first game of the playoffs. The margin for error becomes nil once the postseason arrives, and giving up long returns is a massive problem that MUST be corrected.
Rodgers Continues Stellar Form
Aaron Rodgers continued his MVP form on Sunday, accounting for all 4 of the Packers’ touchdowns by throwing 3 and rushing for another. His connection with Davante Adams remains all but unstoppable, as Adams had 7 catches for 115 yards and a score. There were several occasions in the red zone where Rodgers found ways to extend the play and give his receivers time to work themselves open outside of the structure of the play. One of those scrambles turned into Rodgers waltzing into the end zone. With the poor performance Patrick Mahomes had against Miami on Sunday, Rodgers solidified himself atop the MVP rankings, as he now leads the NFL in touchdown passes while having the fewest interceptions. All of this goes with a high volume of pass attempts on a team that is winning games.
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Pass Rush Potence
The Packers were again able to generate a good bit of pressure on the opposition. They were able to notch 4 sacks on the day, from players at all different levels of the defense. Rashan Gary continued his strong year with another sack and a revitalized Darnell Savage got one on a blitz. Defensive linemen Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry accounted for the other 2. The defense managed 6 total QB hits to Detroit’s 0. The pass rush overall remained strong for the defense.
The Packers notched a solid win to clinch the division title and move back into pole position for a postseason bye. Rodgers solidified his hold as the frontrunner for the MVP award. The defense, despite their weaknesses, pressured the QB early and often and held the line when it mattered most. As always, Adams remained all but unstoppable but he was not the only Green Bay receiver who found success. Marquez Valdes-Scantling had a great game, catching all 6 of his targets including an impressive hands catch for his touchdown reception. The Packers are trending in the right direction overall, both in record and in on-field performance. They look like a team to be reckoned with as the NFL reaches playoff time.
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