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Packer Tracker: Green Bay Packers Week Fourteen Report

The Packers beat a familiar foe, and Aaron Rodgers makes his MVP case.

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

The Green Bay Packers were able to win an unexpected shootout against the Chicago Bears, scoring 24 second-half points on the way to a 45-30 victory. The game was full of big plays for both teams, but multiple masterful drives orchestrated by Aaron Rodgers proved to be the difference. The Packers’ offense is heating up, and the defense has proven itself as a top-ten unit and one that’s opportunistic streak is a perfect complement to their offensive tendencies. Then there is the matter of Green Bay’s special teams. Yikes.

MVP Repeat?

Off the field optics aside, there are not many reasons that Rodgers won’t be among the top contenders for his second straight MVP award. Rodgers 27 to 4 INT-TD ratio is at the top of the league, he is top ten at least in almost every major QB category, and combined with an impressive winning record there is little argument that Green Bay’s #12 is a top contender

One of Rodgers biggest obstacles could be his fractured left pinky toe, which the QB said suffered a setback during the win against the Bears. Rodgers has relied on his quick throws and accuracy from the pocket and has leaned away from scrambling. Rodgers accuracy was on full display while targeting Davante Adams, who ended his day with 10 catches for 121 and a pair of touchdowns. Rodgers hit Adams on a spectacular connection at the end of the first half, which helped to keep the Pack in the game.

The Especially Bad 

Before the horrible part, credit to Mason Crosby and the field goal team, the unit was 7-7 on field goals and extra points. Now onto the worst of it. To no Packers fan’s surprise, the Green Bay special teams unit yielded disappointing results. Perhaps the season low-point for the maligned unit came on a Jakeem Grant 97-yard punt return touchdown. The Packers punt team has been one of the few bright spots on the 30 overall ranked unit, led by the solid left foot of Cory Bojorquez, but the punt return was a black spot on an already blemished record. Grant also scored on an end-around burst of speed in the first half, one of many explosive plays the Bears executed in an insane second quarter. The Packers defense has been able to limit big plays this season, which was a major issue in past seasons, and will look to once again regain that status.

One way the Packers defense and special teams can ease the weight of negative plays is to create their own game-changers. For corner Rasul Douglas, that has become the norm. Douglas was able to return a Justin Fields throw into a 55-yard pick return touchdown for the second week in a row.

The other playmakers for the Packers defense have been pass-rushers Rashan Gary and Preston Smith, who have combined for 13.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles. The duo once again combined for a major performance against the Bears, and Smith stripped Fields and Gary recovered the ball to set up the Packer offense. Rodgers hit Jones on a gorgeous touch pass by the leaking running back, who used his excellent hands to secure and put the Pack up 35-27.

Into The Ravens Nest

The Packers will head into Baltimore for a showdown with the Ravens as the number one seed in the NFC playoff picture. The Pack gained the seeding after the Rams defeat of the Cardinals on Monday Night, and the Packers hold tie-breaker advantage against both the Cardinals and Rams. The Packers look to be in a solid position for a possible first-round bye and home-field advantage at Lambeau Field.

For the Ravens, it looks like they will be without QB Lamar Jackson after the dual-threat specialist suffered an ankle injury against the Browns. Much like Green Bay, the Ravens have seen a number of key injuries on both sides of the ball and must work through it as the teams have playoff aspirations. For the Packers injury front, there is good news and bad news. The Packers lost the consistent Billy Turner at RT, but LT David Bakhtiari resumed practice and should return soon. Turner is also expected to rejoin the Packers line later this season. The Packers can secure the NFC North and a playoff spot with a win, regardless of what their divisional rivals do.

Prediction: Matt LaFleur has his team and offense clicking as they secure a division title for the third straight year. Rodgers tosses three scores and Packers win 27-17.

Written by Joel Kananen

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