Morning Buzz: Season to be settled in prime time
Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at PackersNews.com. Grab a strong cup of coffee and get caught up on everything you need to know about the Packers.
With Sunday’s showdown between the Packers and Lions for the NFC North crown being the one true compelling contest heading into Week 17, it should come as no surprise that the NFL has announced that the game has been flexed into the prime-time slot Sunday night.
As for what’s at stake Sunday night, Ryan Wood has it all for you right here.
There was a time this season when the Packers had a two-game NFC North deficit behind the Lions and Vikings. Neither put the Packers away when they had a chance. After eliminating the Vikings from playoff contention Saturday, the Packers could do the same to the Lions in their finale.
It’s familiar territory for the Packers. For the fourth straight year, they will play in a de facto NFC North title game to close the regular season. Two years ago, their win over the Lions in the 2014 finale at Lambeau Field secured an NFC North title and first-round playoff bye.
The Packers, obviously, are in this position after their rout of the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday afternoon.
Bob McGinn’s gamer is always the best place to start when taking a look back at a Packers game. This week, Bob focuses on the return of a playmaking Clay Matthews.
Working through what has been described as a separated left shoulder, Matthews forced the first fumble of his least productive season in an eight-year career with a strip-sack late in the first half that set up a touchdown.
He also batted down two passes, knocked down Sam Bradford two other times and drew a holding penalty.
That’s six important plays for a defense that simply isn’t good enough rushing the passer without Matthews in his old form.
There can no longer be any question regarding Jordy Nelson: The man is back. He is beating teams in numerous ways, outlined here by Tom Silverstein.
Nick Perry was back on the field against the Vikings, registering two sacks to bring his season total to ten. Oh, and he did so wearing a gigantic club. Ryan Wood has the goods.
Elsewhere, one of the crazier stories in the NFL this year (or in recent years, really) came out after the game when it was reported that the Vikings secondary had defied head coach Mike Zimmer and purposely altered the team’s game plan when it came to covering Jordy Nelson.
While initial reports suggested the mutiny lasted the entire first half, ESPN’s Adam Schefter later reported that the freelancing was limited to the initial offensive series for the Packers:
Whatever the case, it’s a crazy story.
The Lions' defense has struggled in general, and greatly against opponents’ passing games:
Before the Packers take on the Lions, Detroit has to play a game tonight in Dallas.
Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson passed Brett Favre and Antonio Freeman on Saturday:
That wasn’t the only record Rodgers was part of setting against the Vikings:
Packers fans were thrilled with their quarterback’s shake n’ bake display:
ESPN’s Rob Demovsky writes that Rodgers has made a case for MVP:
Ben Fennell has a bunch of great clips from his film study up on his feed:
One of the oddest phenomenons in sports fandom is “If the playoffs started today…” Guess what? They don’t. But since people love playing that game, here’s a look.