3 Takeaways from Packers' Week 17 WinJanuary 3, 2022
3 Takeaways from Packers' Week 17 Win
The NFC playoffs will be going through Lambeau Field. And the Green Bay Packers have proved that they will be a difficult out for any team that travels to face them during the postseason.
On Sunday night, the Packers clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC for the second consecutive season by rolling to a 37-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Green Bay has notched five consecutive victories and went 8-0 at home during the regular season.
The Packers scored the first 20 points of the game and had no trouble cruising to victory against their NFC North rival. They fell 34-31 to the Vikings in Week 11, so they avenged that loss while extending their recent run of success.
Here are three takeaways from Green Bay's Week 17 win.
Cold Weather Can't Stop Offense from Rolling
It was a cold, windy Sunday night in Green Bay, as the temperature was 11 degrees Fahrenheit at kickoff. But that didn't stop quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Packers offense from having their typical success.
Rodgers went 29-of-38 for 288 yards and two touchdowns, connecting with Davante Adams (11 catches for 136 yards) and Allen Lazard (six catches for 72 yards) for scores. Aaron Jones ran for 76 yards on eight carries, while AJ Dillon rushed for 63 yards and two touchdowns.
"We haven't had a game like this in a while temperature-wise. This was different," Rodgers said, per Steve Megargee of the Associated Press. "It is different, the whole feel of it. I feel like teams can break a little bit easier when it is this cold because there's an excuse—the weather."
But the Packers didn't need an excuse because their offense operated as usual. They finished with 481 total yards and no turnovers, and they dominated the time of possession, holding the ball for 38 minutes and 33 seconds.
In the national spotlight, Green Bay's offense showed exactly why this team could be set for playoff success.
The Defense Capitalized on a Favorable Matchup
When these NFC North rivals faced off in Week 11, it was an offensive shootout. The Vikings had 34 points and 408 total yards and had no trouble keeping up with, and eventually outlasting, the Packers. But there was a major difference for Minnesota on Sunday.
The Vikings were without starting quarterback Kirk Cousins, who missed the game after testing positive for COVID-19. So they turned to backup Sean Mannion, who hadn't played since he started in Week 17 of the 2019 season.
As expected, the Packers defense made things difficult on the Mannion-led Vikings offense. They had 206 total yards and didn't get into the end zone until the final play of the third quarter, when they were already trailing by 27 points.
With Minnesota's passing attack limited, Green Bay could also home in on running back Dalvin Cook, who was held to 13 yards on nine carries. The Vikings' 11 possessions resulted in six punts, three turnovers on downs, one field goal and one touchdown.
It was a good opportunity for the Packers defense to build some momentum before the playoffs, which they could maintain in Week 18 considering they will take on the 2-13-1 Detroit Lions.
The Packers Will Get Opportunity for Postseason Redo
During the 2020 season, the Packers went 13-3 and earned the No. 1 seed in the NFC. However, that didn't lead to a Super Bowl appearance. After a first-round bye, Green Bay beat the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round but lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game.
As the conference's No. 1 seed again this season, the Packers will get another chance to try to turn their home-field advantage into a trip to the Super Bowl. It's possible they will have to face the Rams and/or Buccaneers again. The Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals are other potential playoff opponents.
Before that, Green Bay still has one regular-season game to play at Detroit. And although there's nothing at stake, its starters could get some playing time rather than taking off two full weeks before the postseason.
"If you ask me right now, my gut is these guys are going to play at least a little bit," Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said, per Mike Spofford of the team's official site.
If the Packers play to their potential, they are among the top contenders to win Super Bowl LVI.