| Packers News
GREEN BAY – Whatever happened Sunday night inside a wintry white Lambeau Field, it was unlikely to change how the Green Bay Packers viewed their final week of the regular season.
That the Packers beat the Tennessee Titans with a 40-14 stomping in one of their most impressive games this season was preferable. The Packers improved to 12-3 and retained their lead atop the NFC standings entering Week 17. It was the 11th time the Packers have reached 30 points, the most this season for any team in the NFL and tied for the most in a Packers season.
Because the Seattle Seahawks beat the Los Angeles Rams a few hours earlier, the Packers’ victory did not clinch home-field advantage and the conference’s lone playoff bye.
The best way for the Packers to finish their march to the No. 1 seed will be by beating the Chicago Bears on the road next Sunday. Do that, and they’re on the top line. If the Packers are upset in Chicago, they can still claim the No. 1 seed if the Seahawks lose at the San Francisco 49ers next week.
Anyone who has followed the Packers over the past two seasons had to expect Titans superstar tailback Derrick Henry to go off. The Packers’ run defense has not contained the league’s top running backs this season, and Henry might be the best.
Instead it was the Packers who produced an eye-popping run game. With Jamaal Williams inactive, the Packers went with a one-two punch of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. Both outdid Henry, running all over the Titans to help the Packers gain 195 yards on 25 carries in the first three quarters.
For Dillon, it was the first extensive playing time in his career. He led the way with 21 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns, including a 30-yard TD run on fourth-and-inches in the third quarter. Jones crossed the 1,000-yard mark on a 59-yard run down the left sideline in the third quarter. He finished with 10 carries for 94 yards.
Henry finished with 98 yards on 23 carries.
The run game helped Aaron Rodgers continue his march to a potential third MVP. Though he had a poor interception throwing late across the middle of the field to Davante Adams early in the fourth quarter, Rodgers was almost flawless. He completed 21 of 25 passes for 231 yards, four touchdowns, the interception and a 128.1 passer rating.
As always, Rodgers’ most reliable receiver was Adams. His torrid streak continued with 11 catches for 142 yards and three touchdowns. It was the 11th straight game Adams has had six catches in a game, a streak that stretches more than two months. Since Adams returned from an early-season hamstring injury Oct. 18, he has had at least six catches in every game.
Adams’ hat trick gave him 17 touchdowns this season, tying Don Hutson (1942) for second most in a Packers season. Only Sterling Sharpe (18, 1994) has more.
Not everything went smoothly for the Packers. A special-teams unit that is adventurous at best from week to week had another rough outing. Kicker Mason Crosby missed an extra point in the first half. Later, a 35-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Titans defensive lineman Jack Crawford, who returned it 66 yards to the Packers’ 20. An offside penalty on Nick Dzubnar negated the block, but Matt LaFleur trotted his offense out for a fourth-down attempt instead of trying another kick. Rodgers was sacked on the play, and the Packers came away with no points.
Such mistakes can be crushing in the playoffs.
That’s where the Packers are already headed. Next Sunday will determine whether the road to the Super Bowl comes through Green Bay.
Time change for Packers-Bears finale
The Packers’ regular-season finale at Chicago, originally scheduled for a noon start, has been moved to 3:25 p.m., the league announced.