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Packer Tracker: Divisional Round Report

The Packers end the regular season and face a familiar foe in the Divisional Round.

Nov 29, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) catches a football during warmups prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a irrelevant loss to the lowly Lions, the Green Bay Packers had a December to remember on the way to securing the top seed in the NFC playoffs. The Packers goal all year has been to win a championship and are in great shape to accomplish this task. Aaron Rodgers MVP level play, a turnover-minded defense and returning key players have set the Packers on a course to Los Angeles and Super Bowl 56.

Packers Road To 13-4 and the Number One Seed 

@ Baltimore Ravens 

Even without star QB Lamar Jackson, the Ravens were able to take the Packers to the very end. Baltimore backup QB Tyler Huntley just missed tight end Mark Andrews on a last-second two-point conversion that would have dealt the Packers a frustrating loss. The Packers were able to build their lead to 14 late in the second half, but Huntley was able to show more poise than much higher drafted players and lead his flock to a near victory. Darnell Savage Jr. had difficulties with one of the most skilled tight ends in the league but was able to combine with Eric Stokes to deny Huntley to Andrews and secure the victory. 

vs. Cleveland Browns 

Allen Lazard was able to gift Aaron Rodgers with the Packers’ franchise record for most touchdown passes surpassing Brett Favre. 

Lazard stretched to the pylon for number 443 on the Packers opening drive, and served as proof of Rodgers-Lazard connection, which has blossomed into a thing of beauty in the last stretch of the season. Rodgers was on fire in the first half, throwing for three touchdowns. Two of the scores were to Davante Adams, who had 10 catches for 114 yards in another superb performance. 

While Rodgers was near perfect, Browns QB Baker Mayfield was handing out gift-wrapped interception opportunities to the Packers defense like Saint Nick was at Lambeau himself. The most crucial pick came at the hands of the ultimate practice squad player pick up off all time, the big play magnet Rasul Douglas. Douglas grabbed his fifth pick of the year, which ended a potential game winning drive by the Browns. 

vs. Minnesota Vikings 

In perhaps the most dominating game of the season by the Packers, Green Bay was able to secure the number one overall seed in the playoffs, as well as eliminate Minnesota from contention. Rodgers was once again unstoppable against his NFC North foe, throwing for nearly 300 yards and two touchdowns. 

@ Detroit Lions

The final game of the season had no implications for the playoffs, which led to a week-long discussion whether or not to play any of the key contributors for the Packers. Coach of the Year candidate Matt LaFleur listened to his players while making his decision, and played Rodgers and Adams for the first half of the game. The two looked as sharp as ever, as did the returning David Bakhtiari. Good ol’ 69 returned for the first time after tearing his ACL on New Year’s last season. Bakhtiari looked like his dominant self, an exciting development for the Packers upcoming playoff push.

Jordan Love entered the game in the second half, hoping for a come from behind win against the division rival, but came up just short. One of the brightest spot during the finale was the continuation of Josiah Deguara’s late season breakout. LaFleur and Rodgers were very excited to deploy last season’s third round draft pick after the TE was out with injury all of last season. Deguara showcased a terrific combination of blocking and play-making ability, especially on his 62-yard catch and run screen TD from Love. 

Record Breakers 

The sublime and basically telepathic connection between Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams led the pair to set a number of Packers records. The history of the Packers at the QB and WR position include a some of the most legendary names in football history including: Don Hutson, Bart Starr, James Lofton, Brett Favre, Jordy Nelson and many more. 

Here is a list of records and accomplishments that Rodgers and Adams were able to complete this season: 

-Aaron Rodgers franchise record for touchdown passes 

-Davante Adams single-season franchise record for catches 

-Davante Adams single-season franchise record for yards 

-Davante Adams most games of 10+ catches, 100+ yards, and 2+ touchdowns in NFL history 

-Aaron Rodgers touchdown: interception ratio third highest of all-time (Rodgers hold 1 and 2 spot for 2020 and 2018 seasons) 

-Davante Adams sixth player in history to record 600+ catches, 8,000+ yards, & 70+ TDs in his first 8 seasons

-Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams most touchdowns in franchise history 

-Aaron Rodgers first-team All-Pro QB

-Davante Adams unanimous first-team All-Pro WR 

Historic stuff. Hall of Fame worthy stuff. 

(Quick shoutout to De’Vondre Campbell for joining Rodgers and Adams in the All-Pro squad.)

Packers vs. 49ers Divisional Round Preview 

While the Packers rested, the rest of the NFC battled for their spot in the divisional round. Two of the Packers greatest non-NFC North rivals battled in Texas, as the San Fransisco 49ers defeated the Dallas Cowboys in one of the strangest playoff games in league history. With the win, San Francisco guaranteed a rematch of the 2019 NFC Championship game against the Packers, only this time at Lambeau Field.

The two teams are led by offensive wiz-kid head coaches whose coaching roots stem from the same tree. LaFleur and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan have a long history together, and despite their infamous short handshake, both consider the other a good friend. Under LaFleur, the Packers have struggled to beat San Francisco, but we’re able to vanquish their foes earlier this year with a memorable last second kick from Mason Crosby.

The Packers will receive a major boost from the probable returns of David Bakhtiari, Randall Cobb, Josh Meyers, Jaire Alexander Whitney Mercilus and Z’Darius Smith. These talented performers will also give the Packers a competitive fire, as they are all respected veterans and leaders for Green Bay. 

For the Packers, the key to defeating San Francisco will be to limit the talented Debo Samuel and Eli Mitchell in the run game, and force a banged-up Jimmy Garrapolo into making mistakes. The Packers have been very opportunistic in forcing turnovers, and should be able to do so once again. 

On offense, Rodgers will certainly look to exploit an inexperienced Niners secondary by targeting Adams early and often. The freezing temperatures will also likely lead to a heavy workload for the punishing bulldozer back AJ Dillon. 

These two teams know each other well, and the chance for a chance to play in the Super Bowl is on the line. This game should be competitive, but the Packers home-field advantage will be a deciding factor. 

Prediction: Packers defeat the 49ers 27-20. 

Written by Joel Kananen

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