December Football: Packers must take care of business Sunday

Packers
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LANDOVER, MD – AUGUST 19: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers rushes with the ball against the Washington Redskins in the first half during a preseason game at FedExField on August 19, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(WFRV) — The NFC North Division race just got a little tighter last night, thanks to the Chicago Bears’ dismantling of the Dallas Cowboys.

The Bears and rejuvenated quarterback Mitch Trubisky are on a roll, winning their fourth game in the last five to improve to 7-6 and stay alive in the division race down the home stretch of the 2019 regular season.

Green Bay, 9-3, and Minnesota, 8-4, currently reside in the top two spots.  But with each team facing the other two rivals in the final three weeks of the season, change could occur quickly on the division leaderboard.

“The Bears are playing well,” said Mike Ditka, former Chicago Bears head coach.  “As I’ve said all season, no one is going to run away with that division.  You earn your victories in December—if you look past anyone you’ll get beat.”

Green Bay has to again take care of business Sunday, hosting the 3-9 Washington Redskins at Lambeau Field after defeating the New York Giants, 31-13, on the road last week.

While the Giants’ victory looks good on paper, Green Bay still had offensive and defensive issues in the triumph over a 2-10 team.  Aaron Rodgers powered the Packers offense through the air with four touchdowns, while running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams generated just 59 yards on the ground.

The defense failed to register a sack of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, and gave up several explosive plays through the air, but recorded three interceptions as Green Bay won the turnover battle 3-0.

The Packers defense will be tested by Washington’s “two-headed monster” rushing attack of Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson, which accounted for 228 rushing yards in the Redskins’ 29-21 victory over the Carolina Panthers.  Washington’s second-straight win was sealed with a goal-line stand.

Rookie quarter Dwayne Haskins, the former Ohio State star and 15th overall pick in the NFL Draft last April, remains a work in progress.  He helped orchestrate the Redskins’ comeback from 14-0 deficit to upset the Panthers.

Green Bay will no doubt give multiple pre-snap looks of their defensive alignment to confuse Haskins and apply pressure to force mistakes.  Green Bay is among the league leaders in turnover ratio, a statistic Rodgers takes great pride in.

As Rodgers goes, so goes the Packers.

After his four-touchdown performance against New York, Rodgers has thrown 22 touchdowns and just two interceptions for a 102.4 quarterback rating.  As the weather turns cold and possibly wet, Jones and Williams will need to provide the balance to a Packers offense that is still trying to find its identity.

NFL Week 14 Picks

  • Bears
  • Ravens
  • Texans
  • Saints
  • Browns
  • Panthers
  • Vikings
  • Jets
  • Colts
  • Chargers
  • Patriots
  • Steelers
  • Titans
  • Seahawks
  • Eagles

Green Bay defense must first stop the run in this one—not an easy task with Washington’s one-two punch of Guice and Peterson—and win the turnover battle facing a rookie quarterback.  Rodgers and running game wear down Redskins in the second half.

  • Packers 27, Redskins 17.

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