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Packers played 'physical football' in season's biggest win to date - Packers.com
Promising developments emerged on both sides of the ball vs. Titans
The swarming, the energy, the cheering each other on all played into a physical brand of defense that gives the Packers a new standard as the season's stakes get higher. On offense, the standard has been pretty high most of the season, but another option in the running game is, at a minimum, intriguing. Rookie back AJ Dillon introduced himself to the NFL world with a 21-carry, 124-yard, two-TD performance with Jamaal Williams sidelined due to a quad injury. The 247-pound second-round draft pick looked like he was born to run in the December snow at Lambeau Field. In the meantime, Aaron Jones went over 1,000 rushing yards for the second straight season the first Packers running back to do that since Eddie Lacy in 2013-14 and the injury to Williams isn't expected to be long-term. There's only one football to hand off at a time, but right now LaFleur just appreciates the plug-and-play aspect taking root with the ground game. While certain backs may run certain plays more effectively, there isn't a wholesale scheme change when the ball carriers sub in and out. "Just the confidence to be able to not worry about who's in there at the running back position, that's big-time," LaFleur said. "To be able to have somebody right there that you can throw in and not change your thoughts you can just go attack. It's a great luxury to have."
Packers 'in the driver's seat' after dominating Bears - Packers.com
Green Bay on verge of second straight NFC North title
GREEN BAY The Packers did exactly what they needed to Sunday night, and did it impressively. Rebounding from a tough overtime loss last week, Green Bay buried the archrival Chicago Bears under an onslaught of crisp offense and big-play defense at Lambeau Field. The 41-25 triumph, which marked the Packers' 100th win in the all-time series, wasn't nearly as close as the final score. Most important, it put the Packers in complete control of the NFC North race with an 8-3 record, three games up on both the Bears and Vikings with just five games left. "I like where we're at," said quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who threw four TD passes to four different teammates in posting a 132.3 passer rating. "To bounce back against a division rival in a game that could really put us in the driver's seat, we played the way we need to play. "I said before the game, and I believe it, if you want to be a great team, these are the games you've got to win." The efficiency from Head Coach Matt LaFleur's offense was evident from the start, as the mix of run and pass kept the Bears on their heels. The Packers scored touchdowns the first three times they had the ball and never really looked back. As running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams combined for 163 rushing yards, Rodgers was 21-of-29 for 211 yards in surpassing 50,000 passing yards for his career. Chicago's defense, which sorely missed lineman Akiem Hicks (hamstring injury), came into the game ranked first in the league both on third downs and in the red zone, but the Packers dominated those areas. Green Bay converted 6-of-11 on third down (55%) and scored TDs on 4-of-5 red-zone trips (80%), with the only failure coming on the game-ending kneel-downs.
Packers vs. 49ers not the rematch that was anticipated - Packers.com
Lineups and circumstances have changed considerably for both teams
GREEN BAY This was billed as the rematch of the NFC title game and therefore slotted for Thursday Night Football. But it sure doesn't feel like a rematch. Not in the traditional sense anyway. Tossing aside the COVID-19 issues for the moment, the teams are just too different, especially San Francisco. Taking a look at the starting lineups from last January, and including top rotational players, the changes for the 49ers are astounding. With wide receiver Deebo Samuel and running back Tevin Coleman declared out on the injury report, that makes 17 of San Francisco's primary 25-plus players from the NFC title game not around for this one. On offense, in addition to Samuel and Coleman, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, tight end George Kittle, running back Raheem Mostert and center Ben Garland are injured. Offensive linemen Joe Staley and Mike Person retired. Receiver Emmanuel Sanders left in free agency. Throw in receiver Kendrick Bourne testing positive for COVID-19 and not a single player who touched the ball for the 49ers in the playoff meeting will be playing. On defense, defensive linemen Nick Bosa, Dee Ford and Solomon Thomas, along with cornerback Richard Sherman, are injured. Lineman DeForest Bucker and linebacker Kwon Alexander were traded, and lineman Sheldon Day departed as a free agent. All that said, when Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers looks at the 49ers' defense, he sees the anchors in the middle of coordinator Robert Saleh's unit linebackers Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw still steering a pretty tight ship. "It's a really good defense regardless of who's playing," said Rodgers, going on to compliment Warner especially as an elite defender. "They're missing some rush guys who are really important to what they're doing, but they're very well-coached. They play really, really well together."
2020 NFL Draft: Packers select Utah State QB Jordan Love in first round, No. 26 overall - Packers.com
Green Bay gives up fourth-round pick in trade with Miami to move up four spots
Love had a dynamite 2018 season for the Aggies, throwing for 32 touchdowns against just six interceptions to go with a 64% completion rate and 3,567 yards. He earned second-team All-Mountain West Conference honors and was named the conference's player of the week five times. This past season, Love's numbers dipped a bit (62%, 3,402 yards, 20 TD, 17 INT), the glaring number being the increase in interceptions for a Utah State team that struggled. Love was honorable mention all-conference. He finished his college career with the most 300-yard passing games in school history (12) and second-most 400-yard passing games (three). His 21-11 record as a starting QB gave him the second-most wins in school history. He ranks second all-time at Utah State in career passing yards, completions and attempts, tied for second all-time in touchdown passes, and is third in completion percentage. Gutekunst said prior to the draft he wouldn't hesitate to take a quarterback, and he held true to that, even trading up to get one. More to come on this pick.