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The 10 best Packers wins of the decade (and five toughest losses)

JR Radcliffe
Packers News

For any list of the best and worst Green Bay Packers games of the decade, you shouldn't have to think very hard before arriving at No. 1 for either side of the equation. But what would make up the rest of the list? Let's explore.

The 10 best wins

10. Nov. 30, 2014: Packers 26, Patriots 21

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson scores a touchdown on a 45-yard reception during the second quarter of their game against the New England Patriots Sunday, November 30, 2014 at Lambeau Field.

The Packers don't often get to tussle with AFC heavyweight New England, but the Packers hosted the Patriots in a high-profile 2014 game, with the Packers owning an 8-3 record and the Patriots at 9-2. Jordy Nelson caught a 45-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers late in the third quarter, and a huge sack by Mike Daniels and Mike Neal on Tom Brady set up a missed field goal by Stephen Gostkowski with 2:40 to go, and the Packers siphoned off the rest of the clock.

9. Jan. 1, 2012: Packers 45, Lions 41

Green Bay Packer quarterback Matt Flynn gestures as he exits the field after defeating the Detroit Lions 45-41 in an NFL football game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012. Aaron Rodgers got to rest up for the playoffs and backup Matt Flynn threw for a franchise-record six touchdowns, the final one to Jermichael Finley with 1:10 left, giving the Packers a 45-41 victory over the Lions.

The Matt Flynn Game. With Aaron Rodgers resting as the Packers, then 14-1, prepared for the postseason, backup Matt Flynn checked in and delivered an otherworldly performance, with a franchise-record 480 yards passing and another record with six touchdown passes. His last, to Jermichael Finley with 1:10 to go, tipped the scales in a wild victory.

8. Jan. 9, 2011: Packers 21, Eagles 16

packers10, spt, lynn, 8.-Tramon Williams made an interception in the endzone on a ball intended for Riley Cooper.  He ran it out and was surrounded by teammates Charlie Peprah and Nick Collins. The Interception sealed the win for the Packers. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 21-16 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA Sunday January 9, 2011.

Spoiler alert: This won't be the last time you see the 2010 postseason on this list. At the outset of their Super Bowl run, the Packers were in a jam with Philly driving in the final 2 minutes of the game. But Michael Vick's pass from the Green Bay 27-yard line was intercepted by Tramon Williams, and the Packers held on to advance to the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. 

7. Sept. 9, 2018: Packers 24, Bears 23

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison (81) catches a 39-yard touchdown pass as Chicago Bears defensive back Kyle Fuller (23) defends in the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field on Sunday, September 9, 2018 in Green Bay, Wis.

There's a bittersweet aspect to this game, because the knee injury Aaron Rodgers sustained may have hampered him throughout the season, one that ended with the Packers at 6-9-1 and out of the playoffs. But in the moment, the season opener at Lambeau Field was a thrill. Playing on a Sunday night, Rodgers returned after sustaining what looked like a multi-week injury, and though the Packers were down 20-0 in the third quarter, he engineered a comeback that concluded with Randall Cobb's 75-yard touchdown catch and run with 2:13 to go. Rodgers finished 20 of 30 for 286 yards and three touchdowns despite missing a large chunk of the game.

RELATED:The top seven moments in which Aaron Rodgers ripped out the hearts of the Chicago Bears

6. Jan. 15, 2011: Packers 48, Falcons 21

In this Jan. 15, 2011, file photo, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers  scrambles past Atlanta Falcons linebacker Curtis Lofton on a 7-yard touchdown run during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game in Atlanta.

Green Bay needed a couple of late-season wins to even get into the playoffs, but they emerged as the team to beat with a convincing victory over top-seeded Atlanta in the divisional round of the 2010 playoffs en route to a Super Bowl title. Aaron Rodgers completed 31 of 36 passes for 366 yards and three scores in a performance that remains on the short list of his greatest ever, and Greg Jennings went over 100 yards receiving. Tramon Williams returned an interception 70 yards for a score, as well. 

5. Jan. 15, 2017: Packers 34, Cowboys 31

Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby celebrates as he walks off the field after kicking the game-winning field goal to beat the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC divisional playoff at AT&T Stadium.

It was a showcase for Mason Crosby and the wonderment of Aaron Rodgers. Playing in the divisional round of the playoffs in Dallas, Crosby's 56-yard field goal gave the Packers a lead with 1:38 left, but Dallas was able to answer with a Dan Bailey 52-yarder at the 40-second mark. Rodgers had plenty of time. He bounced back from a sack to find Jared Cook for a sideline catch that might be the second-best catch of the decade behind the Rodgers-to-Rodgers Hail Mary, a 36-yard strike that set up Crosby's 51-yarder as time expired for the victory. It was an eighth straight win for a Packers team looking to "run the table" after starting the year 4-6.

4. Dec. 3, 2015: Packers 27, Lions 23

Green Bay Packers tight end Richard Rodgers (82) pulls in a hail mary to win the game against the Detroit Lions during Thursday night's game at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette Media

The Hail Mary game represents perhaps the most unlikely comeback in Packers history. Green Bay's series of laterals in the final 10 seconds went for naught, but Lions defender Devin Taylor committed a facemask penalty on Aaron Rodgers that allowed for one last untimed down. Rodgers, of course, launched a 61-yard pass that was brought down by Richard Rodgers in the end zone to give the Packers a remarkable victory that reignited a struggling Green Bay team and helped it reach the playoffs.

3. Dec. 29, 2013: Packers 33, Bears 28

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates with wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) after beating the Chicago Bears in 2013.

Losing Aaron Rodgers to injury in Week 9 probably should have been the death knell for the Packers, but Green Bay somehow patched enough together to make the final regular-season game matter. After a stretch of going 0-4-1, the Packers won nail-biters over Atlanta and Dallas behind backup Matt Flynn, and Rodgers was back in a winner-take-all matchup for the NFC North title against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.  Rodgers found Randall Cobb for a 48-yard touchdown with 38 seconds to go, and the Packers somehow found their way to the playoffs at 8-7-1, dealing yet another blow to the rival Bears in the process

2. Jan. 23, 2011: Packers 21, Bears 14

Despite his lack of recent success, Packers fans will remember B.J. Raji for the interception he returned for a touchdown during the NFC Championship game against the Bears on Jan. 23, 2011.

The longstanding Packers-Bears rivalry had never included a Super Bowl-era playoff game, but that changed in the NFC Championship contest at Soldier Field. When defensive lineman B.J. Raji returned an interception 18 yards for a touchdown to give Green Bay a 21-7 lead in the fourth quarter, it felt over, even though backup quarterback Caleb Hanie and the Bears went down fighting. The Packers were headed back to the Super Bowl.

1. Feb. 6, 2011: Packers 31, Steelers 25

2010 SEASON: Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, left, points to Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers after giving him a championship belt after the win against the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Feb. 6, 2011.

Green Bay kicked off the decade by winning Super Bowl XLV, capping a remarkable playoff run with a triumph in Dallas, to secure the franchise's fourth Lombardi Trophy. Aaron Rodgers threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns, Nick Collins returned an interception for a 37-yard touchdown, and Jordy Nelson caught nine passes for 140 yards in a game that launched him into status as a Packers star.

The 5 toughest losses

5. Overtime playoff losses to Arizona (two games). Jan. 16, 2016: Cardinals 26, Packers 20. If we're being honest, the Packers just being alive in this game was amazing. Somehow, the Jeff Janis catch on a Hail Mary pass as time expired in the playoffs is only the second most-remembered Hail Mary from that season ... and he caught a ridiculous 60-yard catch on fourth and 20 just seconds earlier, to boot. But Larry Fitzgerald returned the first pass of overtime 75 yards and then caught the game-winner two plays later to bring the Packers down from their soaring high of tying the game in regulation.

Jan. 10, 2010: Cardinals 51, Packers 45. This playoff game is attached to the 2009 season but technically does take place in the past decade. The absurd shootout in Arizona ended in overtime heartbreak, when Aaron Rodgers was sacked by Michael Adams, and Karlos Dansby recovered the fumble and returned it 17 yards for the winning score. Rodgers threw for 423 yards and four scores, and both Jermichael Finley (159 receiving yards) and Greg Jennings (130) had huge days, but the defense simply couldn't get a stop. 

Aaron Rodgers is driven off the field on a cart Oct. 15 after breaking his collarbone against the Vikings.

4. Oct. 15, 2017: Vikings 23, Packers 10. Green Bay lost the NFC North rivalry game, but the real loss was Aaron Rodgers suffering a broken collarbone after getting tackled by Minnesota linebacker Anthony Barr. The Packers sagged thereafter, dropping four of their next five before a pair of overtime wins helped give Green Bay some hope. Rodgers came back against Carolina late in the season, but a loss to the Panthers eliminated the Packers from playoff consideration. 

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 15:   Kenny Phillips #21 of the New York Giants celebrates with fans after a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers during their NFC Divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 15, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

3. Jan. 15, 2012: Giants 37, Packers 20. Green Bay followed up its Super Bowl season with a 15-1 regular season in 2011 and appeared poised for yet another Super Bowl run, but it came crashing down in the divisional round of the playoffs at Lambeau Field. The Giants, who bumped Green Bay from the 2007 playoffs as well at Lambeau en route to a Super Bowl, pulled away in the fourth quarter to give the Packers a convincing loss and shatter the thrill of a dominant regular season.

Lance Easley, one of the referees of the infamous "Fail Mary" play in 2012, received all sorts of reaction from fans.

2. Sept. 24, 2012: Seahawks 14, Packers 12. The Fail Mary. Much had been made of the replacement officials calling NFL games on account of a labor dispute, but the issue truly came to a head when officials were confused over the final moments of this game. Golden Tate was credited with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson as time expired, even though MD Jennings appeared to intercept the ball in the end zone (and Tate shoved aside Sam Shields with both hands with clear offensive pass interference). The officials ultimately decided on simultaneous possession and gave Seattle the last-second win. It was a game that now has its own Wikipedia page, and it was the last moment of the replacement ref era — a deal was struck with the regular NFL refs immediately thereafter.

Jan 18, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Chris Matthews (13) recovers an onside kick that bounces off the helmet of Green Bay Packers tight end Brandon Bostick (86) as receiver Jordy Nelson (87) and fullback John Kuhn (30) react in the NFC Championship at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks defeated the Packers 28-22 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1. Jan. 18, 2015: Seahawks 28, Packers 22. Do you really want to relive this one? There's the Brandon Bostick botched onside kick, but also the touchdown pass by former Packers punter Jon Ryan on a fake play, the missed assignments on defense, the decision to simply go to the turf instead of returning an interception before the game was officially in hand and, finally, the game-winning touchdown in overtime with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. You can say you never want to think about it again, but admit it ...you think about it a lot.

JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or jradcliffe@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.