The Green Bay Packers can clinch the #1 seed in the NFC this Sunday with a win over the Chicago Bears. The Packers have been in control of their destiny the last month and are close to claiming that sweet, sweet bye week and home-field advantage.
As is tradition, despite a consistently dominant Packers offense in 2020, doubt surrounded the team. The Packers didn’t draft well, the Packers only have one victory over a team with a winning record, regression, etc. However, if one wanted to point to a single game and show that the Packers are a true Super Bowl contender, it would be last week’s tilt against the Tennessee Titans.
The Packers not only beat a playoff-bound team (who could have clinched their division title had they beaten the Packers) but decimated them in all three phases. Lambeau was covered in snow, but the Packers brought the heat as they played their most complete game of the 2020 season.
The Titans are a 10-win team with arguably the NFL’s best running back in Derrick Henry. Going into Sunday’s matchup, they had the number one offense in the NFL. The Packers’ defense had seemed ill-equipped to deal with physical rushing offenses like the Titans. Not only did the Packers hold the Titans to just 14 points, but Henry was held to 98 rushing yards. Of the Titans’ 154 rushing yards, 45 alone came from a rogue Ryan Tannehill TD run.
In a game where it really mattered, the run defense showed up in a big way. And with young players such as Rashan Gary, Kingsley Keke, and Darnell Savage impacting more and more plays every week, this defense is starting to look a little scary.
On a day when the weather looked like it could be a detriment, the Packers’ offense looked like it was born to play in the snow. Davante Adams continued to prove his case as the best wide receiver in the NFL with three touchdowns and 142 receiving yards. Adams ran routes like he had ice skates; the snow didn’t stop him at all.
Aaron Rodgers used the big stage to put a stamp on his MVP campaign with 231 yards on 21/25 completions and a respectable four touchdowns. In addition to Adams’ three TDs, Rodgers shared his Christmas spirit with Equanimeous St. Brown, who caught his first TD. Rodgers has spoken about how meaningful having the NFC playoffs run through Green Bay would be, and he displayed just how comfortable he was in the harsh northern weather.
While the air was blessed with Rodgers’ completions, the ground gave way to a signature game for young AJ Dillon. Dillon showed why he was drafted in the second round as he rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns. A big, bell-cow back is perfect for cold late-season games, and the Packers are getting theirs right when it matters.
It’s hard to discuss last week’s game without sounding giddy because it was exactly what you’d want as a Packers fan. The offense continued the dominance it showed all year. The defense stood tall in the face of an offense it seemed destined to struggle against. Special teams didn’t need to do much. Can’t have bad punts if you don’t punt amirite? Green Bay looked good, and it felt great.
The Packers obliterated a playoff team in the second-to-last week of the regular season. The team is hot at the right team. Anything can happen in the next month, but this season has been a blast. If there is still doubt that the Packers can hang with anyone this postseason after Sunday’s game, I don’t know what to tell you.
Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.