Packers making most of 'great home-field advantage'

Ryan Wood
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Each week, the message remains the same. During practices, before kickoff, the Green Bay Packers talk about the importance of fast starts.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) Lambeau leap after catching  touchdown pass in the second quarter.
The Green Bay Packers host the Chicago Bears Sunday, November 9, 2014, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. 
Wm.Glasheen/P-C Media

Still, it's hard to expect better first halves than the Packers have had in their past four home games. Since the start of October, the Packers have carried halftime leads of 28-0 against the Minnesota Vikings, 28-3 against the Carolina Panthers, 42-0 against the Chicago Bears and 30-6 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"We talk a lot about getting a fast start, especially at home where you like to get the crowd into the game," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said Monday. "It's always nice to go in the locker room at halftime with a big lead. It gives you a little bit of a buffer. Fortunately, we've been able to do that at home this year.

"Now we have to find a way to go on the road and attempt to do the same thing."

Green Bay hasn't been able to replicate the same dominance away from Lambeau Field. The Packers have held two halftime leads in five road games, neither more than a touchdown. They'll get a chance to carry their momentum on the road this week when they visit the Minnesota Vikings for a noon kickoff Sunday.

Down the stretch, their home dominance could be an important factor. Green Bay's final three home games are against division leaders – though the 4-6 Atlanta Falcons hardly constitute a juggernaut.

Perhaps the biggest reason the Packers have been so dominant at home this season is quarterback Aaron Rodgers. On Sunday, Rodgers set an NFL record with 322 consecutive passes at home without an interception, dating back to 2012. He's also thrown 29 straight touchdowns in that stretch.

Green Bay began its home schedule trailing 21-3 to the New York Jets in the first half. Since then, they've outscored opponents 199-19 with Rodgers on the field.

Over the past four games, the Packers have scored on 18 of their 21 first half possessions. Fourteen of those drives have ended with touchdowns. They've only punted twice.

With Rodgers and the offense playing so efficiently, the defense has benefited. On Sunday, the Packers allowed their first home touchdown with Rodgers in the game since their home opener, a stretch of more than two months.

"We've got a great home-field advantage," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "Our fans have been tremendous. Some of it's the weather and just the way the games have lined up, the night games. I think the atmosphere at Lambeau Field is not only unique, but it's been great. The fast starts obviously add to that.

"I think everybody probably plays a little better at home, I would think. We've done some really good things here of late." and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood

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