Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers have again made sure they do not have to leave Lambeau Field for the playoffs of the conference.
They hope it turns out better for them this time.
Rodgers hit two touchdown passes, AJ Dillon ran for two more scores and the Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings 37-10 on Sunday night to include the NFC’s No. 1 playoff seed.
“It feels absolutely amazing,” Dillon said. “It’s something we’re constantly working on, we’re striving to get that. We know how important it is for teams to come through Lambeau.
The Packers (13-3) are the only NFL team with an unbeaten home record and have a chance to reach the Super Bowl without leaving Lambeau Field. Sunday night’s game is an example of the potential advantage the Packers played at home games in January, as the temperature was 11 degrees with a wind chill of 1 just before kick-off.
The Packers have won 13 consecutive home games in the regular season, but lost 31-26 at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in last season’s NFC Championship. The Packers have not reached the Super Bowl since their 2010 title and have lost four of the last seven seasons in the conference championship game.
“Last year we didn’t get that good Green Bay weather,” Rodgers said. “Tonight was one of those nights. We haven’t had a game like that in a while, temperature wise. This was different. It’s different, the whole feeling of it. I feel that teams can break a little easier when it’s so cold. , because there is an excuse – the weather.
The Packers ‘victory, linked to the Philadelphia Eagles’ 20-16 victory in Washington earlier in the day, knocked the Vikings (7-9) out of the postseason conflict and gave the Eagles a playoff spot. The Vikings played without quarterback Kirk Cousins after he was placed on the reserve / COVID-19 list on Friday.
“Disappointing last night,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “I did not feel like we were giving ourselves a chance to win.”
Rodgers went 29 of 38 for 288 yards with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Allen Lazard and an 11-yard touchdown to Davante Adams, who caught 11 passes for 136 yards.
Adams has 117 receptions to break the Packers season record he set last year.
“It means I keep pushing,” Adams said. “I said at the end of last year when I did my farewell post on Instagram at the end of the season. At the end of that post, I said don’t be surprised if I come back better, when I come back better .I hope people are not surprised because I said it beforehand.
In his last six games, Rodgers has hit 18 touchdown passes without interception despite playing with an injured left pinky toe.
The reigning MVP has 56 touchdown passes for regular-season touchdowns against the Vikings, the most they have allowed to any quarterback. Brett Favre, who led Rodgers as the Packers quarterback, threw 54 touchdown passes against the Vikings before ending his career with them.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur broke George Seifert’s 30-year-old record for the most common season wins by a coach in his first three seasons. LaFleur has a 39-9 regular season mark and 41-11 overall record. Seifert had a 38-10 regular season record of 1989-91 in his first three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.
Dillon ran for two touchdowns in the second half and won 63 yards on 15 carries. Aaron Jones won 76 yards on just eight touchdowns as the Packers defeated the Vikings 174-27.
The Vikings had won their last two games with the Packers, but never had much chance in this one without Cousins, who threw 341 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-31 home win over the Packers on 21 November.
The Packers have won five straight since that loss in Minnesota.
Sean Mannion started in place of Cousins and went 22 of 35 for 189 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown pass to KJ Osborn. Mannion made his third career start and first since the last week of the 2019 season.
“I feel like Cousins is getting the ball a little faster than the quarterback who played today,” Packers said outside linebacker Rashan Gary. “We just came to work as a defense and got the perspective we wanted.”
The Packers reached the red zone on three of their first four possessions, but had only a 6-0 lead, thanks to Mason Crosby’s two field goals. But she broke through by reaching the end zone on her next three possessions, including two touchdowns in the final 4½ minutes of the first half.
“Give her credit,” Zimmer said. “They are a good team and they came after us last night.”