Green & Gold


Packers stay alive with 22-21 win

Photo by Jim Leuenberger Packers quarterback Matt Flynn runs from Falcons defenders during a game Sunday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Flynn threw a fourth-quarter TD pass that capped the Packers' 22-21 comeback victory and kept alive their hopes for a division title and playoff berth.

The Green Bay Packers got a shutout performance from its struggling defense in the second half Sunday and a solid offensive performance without Aaron Rodgers en route to a 22-21 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Green Bay.

“Excellent win today for our football team. I’d classify it as a character win,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “I’m very proud of the way the guys stayed after it.”

After the Matt Flynn-led Packers overcame an 11-point deficit in the second half, the win was sealed by the Packers’ defense, which stuffed the Falcons on three potentially game-winning drives in the fourth quarter.

The Packers' winning drive was set up by Mike Neal's strip-sack of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan with about 12 minutes remaining. Defensive lineman Johnny Jolly recovered the ball at the Atlanta 21. Four plays later, Flynn found tight end Andrew Quarless for a 2-yard touchdown.


Packers still doing playoff math

Despite going 0-4-1 the last five weeks and suffering an embarrassing loss to the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving, the Green Bay Packers are still in the hunt for the NFC North division title, keeping alive a slim hope the team makes the playoffs this year.

The Packers (5-6-1) stand a game and a half back of the Lions, who face the Philadelphia Eagles this week. If the Packers win the rest of their games and the Lions stumble in two of their remaining games, the NFC North crown will return to Green Bay, along with a playoff berth.

“We care about our chances and knowing we’re still in it. We have to win out and we need Detroit to lose two out of four,” injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “The biggest part of that is us winning out, controlling what we can control. That starts this weekend. We have to get a W and root for Philly.”


Keys to the Game: Packers vs. Falcons

Green Bay Packers

Throw to run

Whomever starts at quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, and Aaron Rodgers hadn’t been ruled in or out as of Thursday, the team needs good quarterback play. With no passing threat, the Packers can’t get anything going on the ground as teams stack the line of scrimmage to stop the run. As good as rookie running back Eddie Lacy has been, he can’t overcome those numbers. Passing the ball will balance the offense and give the Packers a chance to score some points.

Defensive stand


Lions carve up Packers

The Associated Press Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn for a safety during the third quarter of an NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit on Thursday.

The Detroit Lions were dominant after a shaky start and snapped a few losing streaks.

Matthew Stafford made up for some mistakes with three touchdown passes, including one to Calvin Johnson, to help Detroit score 37 straight points to beat the Green Bay Packers 40-10 on Thursday.

The Lions (7-5) had lost their last two games, five consecutive against Green Bay and a franchise-record nine straight in their annual showcase on Thanksgiving.

The Packers (5-6-1) have a five-game winless streak for the first time since 2008, showing how valuable Aaron Rodgers is for the franchise. Rodgers has missed four-plus games since fracturing his left collarbone.

“We’re a wounded team that got drilled by a good football team,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.

Matt Flynn became the fourth starting quarterback for Green Bay this year and was sacked seven times, once by Ndamukong Suh for a safety.


Keys to the Game: Packers at Lions

Green Bay Packers


The Green Bay Packers would have won if they were able to score a touchdown on either of their final two drives against the Minnesota Vikings. Instead, the team was forced to settle for a pair of Mason Crosby field goals and the tie. The Packers also had problems getting touchdowns against the Detroit Lions earlier this season. The Packers will need touchdowns Thursday to beat the Lions at Ford Field.

Strike early


Diagnosing poor defensive performances

Another week, another poor performance by the Green Bay Packers defense.

The defense couldn’t get a stop for most of the game Sunday, allowing drives of 69, 63, 59, 85 and 63 yards against the Minnesota Vikings.

Even the rush defense, so good early in the season, allowed 232 yards. Adrian Peterson had 146 of those yards, while Toby Gerhart added 91.

Through the air, a lost Packers secondary allowed Christian Ponder to pass for 232 yards.

Exactly what is wrong?

Packers coach Mike McCarthy shot down growing dissatisfaction in the fan base with the job defensive coordinator Dom Capers is doing.

“I’m very comfortable with our coaching staff,” McCarthy said. “I think it’s definitely one of the strengths of our program.”

McCarthy says Capers and the defensive coaches are doing their job.

“It’s a very talented, organized defensive staff,” he said. “I really like their teaching ability, their command and their personalities.”


Packers rally to 26-26 tie with Vikings

Photo by Jim Leuenberger Packers running back Eddie Lacy runs during Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field.

Photo by Jim Leuenberger Packers receiver Jordy Nelson runs from a Vikings defender during Sunday’s game in Lambeau Field.

If Sunday’s game was a must-win test, the Green Bay Packers both passed and failed.

The Packers and the Minnesota Vikings finished tied 26-26 after an overtime period at Lambeau Field, with both teams getting overtime field goals.

The Packers (5-5-1) rallied from a 23-7 deficit, after quarterback Matt Flynn went in for Scott Tolzien, who struggled in his second start for the Packers.

Flynn, who returned to the team two weeks ago after getting cut by the Buffalo Bills, engineered two fourth-quarter touchdown drives, capped by a 3-yard touchdown run by rookie running back Eddie Lacy and a 6-yard pass from Flynn to Jarrett Boykin to cut the lead to 23-20.

“We were looking for a spark,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “That’s directly what the communication was. We thought we had some opportunities early. We have a history with Matt.”


Keys to the Game: Packers vs. Vikings

Green Bay Packers

Stop Peterson

Any conversation about beating the Minnesota Vikings begins with 2012 NFL MVP running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson is fourth in the league with 851 yards. The Packers took him out of the Week 8 game, holding him to 60 yards on just 13 carries in the 44-31 victory. Since then, the Packers defense has allowed Chicago’s Matt Forte (125 yards) and Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy (155) to run with abandon. Last week the Packers held New York Giants running back Andre Brown to 66 yards on 18 carries.

Get Lacy involved

The Packers rookie running back was held to just 14 carries and 27 yards last week as the Packers offense tried to catch up to the Giants. When he faced the Vikings in Week 8, Lacy put up 94 yards on 29 carries. The Packers will need Lacy to be much closer to 100 yards than 27 if they want to win without quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Sunday.


Packers in must-win mode

The good news?

If the Green Bay Packers win the rest of their games, then they will win the NFC North and make the playoffs.

And the bad news?

That is about the only path the Packers (5-5) have to make the playoffs.

If the Packers lose to either the Detroit Lions (6-4) on Thanksgiving Day or the Chicago Bears (6-4) in Week 17 — and both those teams avoid a complete collapse in the rest of their games — the Packers are likely to lose the NFC North, and with it a chance at the playoffs.

The Packers’ path to a wild-card berth is even harder to map out. San Francisco (6-4) and Philadelphia (6-5) each have better records and tie-breakers against the Packers. Carolina (7-3) and Arizona (6-4) are also ahead of the Packers.

The Packers were in a perfect playoff position just three weeks ago. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone and a three-game losing streak has the Packers feeling desperate.


Keys to the Game: Packers at Giants

Green Bay Packers

Get Lacy Going

As impressed as Packers coach Mike McCarthy was with practice squaddie-turned-starting-quarterback Scott Tolzien on Sunday, the Packers offense will still be run by a third-stringer in New York this week. Whatever Tolzien is capable of, his job will be made infinitely easier if rookie running back Eddie Lacy gets moving early and often. The Giants’ defense has been stingy against the run and hasn’t allowed a 100-yard running back since Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams ran for 120 in Week 3.

Get Turnovers


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