Each week, Press-Gazette Media will look at national stories involving the Green Bay Packers and their opponents.
Aaron Rodgers had been upset for weeks about the study habits of some of the Packers’ younger offensive players, but contrary to a national report, there was no team meeting to address the issue, writes Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report. Instead, Freeman writes, Rodgers led in his usual way, talking to players privately and in position-group settings to make sure the problem got corrected.
“Aaron did what he needed to do,” one offensive player told Freeman. “There were guys that needed to study more. The preparation of some guys had slipped since the start of the year. A lot of us were glad he did it.”
Seattle at Green Bay is a likely first-round playoff matchup in what would be a rematch of the Packers’ Week 2 victory at Lambeau Field. Both the Seahawks and Packers have 5 percent odds of winning the Super Bowl, according to the weekly projections of FiveThirtyEight.com. For the Packers, that’s a dramatic drop from the 19 percent odds they enjoyed after starting 6-0. The Super Bowl favorites now are the Panthers (21 percent) and Patriots (19 percent). But as FiveThirtyEight’s Neil Paine writes, the Seahawks are making a charge, and their odds would be much higher (they rank statistically ahead of the Bengals and Broncos, both of whom have double-digit Super Bowl odds) if not for the fact they almost certainly will have to play in the wild-card round and be on the road throughout.
The Minnesota Vikings fell to 1-4 against teams with winning records Thursday night by losing 23-20 at Arizona, but as Doug Farrar of SI.com writes, they got a career-high 335 passing yards from Teddy Bridgewater and gave the Cardinals all they could handle despite the absence of several key defensive starters due to injury.
With Dez Bryant set to return to the scene of his infamous “no-catch” against the Packers in the playoffs last January, the Cowboys’ outspoken wide receiver opened up about his difficult 2015 season with Jarrett Bell of USA Today: “I’ve never in my life had a season like this,” Bryant told Bell. “That’s why a lot of people ain’t really seen me talk too much (stuff) lately. … I could have easily shut this down a long time ago. Straight up, shut it down. That’s not me, man. (Expletive) that, I’m a competitor! I want to get out on the field. I want to play football. This is what I love. I don’t care what nobody thinks, what nobody says. I just want to win.”
Dallas has been the NFL’s worst team at converting on third-and-1, and the Packers also rank near the bottom, writes Bob Sturm of the Dallas Morning News. The Cowboys have been successful on only seven of 17 third-and-1 plays (41 percent, compared to the league average of 66 percent). Green Bay has converted 50 percent of its third-and-1 attempts.