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Packer Tracker: Green Bay Packers Week Eleven & Twelve Report

Heading into their much needed bye week, the Packers sit at the top of the NFC with an impressive 9-3 record and Super Bowl aspirations.

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

Heading into their much needed bye week, the Packers sit at the top of the NFC with an impressive 9-3 record. To get to there, the Packers played two memorable games against familiar foes. First, the Packers lost a thriller 34-31 as Viking kicker Greg Joseph broke a tied contest as time expired. Aaron Rodgers was able to tie the game on a beautiful 75-yard touchdown to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, but the Vikings were able to respond with a possession that drove the clock to zero as their kick sailed through the uprights.

Following the defeat, Matt LaFleur, who has never lost consecutive games and deserves strong Coach of the Year consideration, devised an excellent game plan to outscore his good friend Sean McVay and his Los Angeles Rams in a action-packed 36-28 showdown. The difference-making play for the Packers was made yet again by cornerback Rasul Douglas, whose interception return for a touchdown against familiar face Matthew Stafford was a huge boost for Green Bay.

While not yet performing at their collective peak, both the Packers offense and defense showed that they have the playmaking ability and overall cohesion that make the Green and Gold a legitimate Super Bowl contender. The Packers will be bolstered with the probable return of All-Pro players David Bakhtiari, Jaire Alexander and Z’Darius Smith, perhaps following the late season bye this week. While the Packers split their last two contests, they have clearly defined themselves as a powerful football team that have the opportunity to meet the lofty goals that fans and organization alike set since the start of the season.

Battering Rams

The critically acclaimed 2002 film Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers ends with an epic final battle at the fortress of Helms Deep. The climatic battle is one of the greatest action scenes of all-time, as two might forces clash for the future of their world. In one pivotal moment of the battle, a massive orc has the duty of running a torch into a weak spot Helm Deep’s protective wall. Legolas attempts to bring the orc down before he reaches his goal with a volley of arrows, but it is ineffective. Defenders are like those pesky arrows to AJ Dillon, who smashes forward with the singular goal of gaining the necessary yardage. Dillon had a terrific performance against the Rams including a picture-perfect robot celebration after his touchdown.

Perhaps the most important battle of the Rams-Packers war fought by the Packers offensive line. Like Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli with the men of Rohan, the strength of the battering Rams smashed repeatedly and relentlessly against the line of men hoping to take the keep/sack Aaron Rodgers. But these warriors held their position, even without Bahktiari and breakout star Elton Jenkins. Jenkins was lost for the year against the Vikings, meaning that Yosh Nijman would take over at the critical position of left tackle against the vaunted Rams front seven. Nijman and the rest of the line able to protect Rodgers all game, allowing just one sack. The unit did not perform as well against the Vikings, as they racked up several critical penalties that damaged drives which cost the Packers vulnerable points.

Offensive Explosion

The Packers were able to score 31 and 36 points against two talented defenses, and could have pushed for 40 points in each game with stronger execution in the red zone. This marks only the second and third time all season that the Packers have able to eclipse 30 points this season so far. Rodgers was the difference maker, throwing for six touchdowns and running another in, despite of his fractured pinky toe.

Rodgers has mentioned that the toe has been aggravating him, but he will not receive surgery on the digit, and it will not force him to miss any playing time. The week of rest will be beneficial to Rodgers and several other other banged-up Packer players.

Rodgers’ performances against the Vikings and Rams have likely entered the reigning MVP into the forefront of contenders for the award. If Rodgers were to win, it would be his fourth MVP award, which would be second most in NFL history behind Peyton Manning’s five wins. Rodgers main competitor is likely Tom Brady, who could also secure MVP number four. A major reason for Rodgers re-emergence has been the QB’s improved touch on long balls and explosive plays.

Bear-Down Show-Down

Following their off-week, the Packers will be rested and ready with a divisional clash with the struggling Chicago Bears. In this season’s first Packer-Bears matchup in week six, Green Bay was able to beat the Justin Fields led Bears 24-14. In this upcoming contest, the Bears will likely be led by veteran red-head Andy Dalton.

The Packers will come off their bye week, and if Z’Darius Smith’s Instagram is a reliable source, the Packers may receive their leading pass rusher from last season. In Smiths absence this year, Rashan Gary and Preston Smith have been very effective, with Gary showing the talent and motor that made him the number 12 overall pick. That trio of pass rushers complimented by the Packers strong pass defensive backfield and the interior dominance of Kenny Clark is a scary proposition for Dalton or any other opposing QB.

Prediction: Rodgers and the Packers offense put on a show on Sunday night, and the Bears offense struggles against the Packer defense. Green Bay wins their tenth game 28-10.

Written by Joel Kananen

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