Packers clinch consecutive NFC North titles with win over the Bears

With a hard-fought 21-13 win at Soldier Field, the Green Bay Packers have won the NFC North Division for the second consecutive season.

It’s a great day for Packers fans as the Chicago Bears are also sent into desperation mode in regards to their playoff hopes.

Green Bay (10-4) has now won 12 straight against divisional opponents and have their eye set on a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the playoffs.

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Green Bay Packers go with a balanced look in win over the Lions

Balance was the word of the day for the Green Bay Packers on a snowy night at Lambeau Field.

A breakdown of 32 rushing plays compared to 24 passing plays helped the Packers (9-4) overcome the Detroit Lions by the score of 27-20.

Even the famous and tremendously funny Will Ferrell was digging the Packers on this night with his winter knit Packers cap and a performance of “Roll Out The Barrell.”

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Packer win and momentum boost overshadowed by season ending injuries

49ers Packers Football

By Jake McCormick

Green Bay Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers got some revenge of his own, so to speak, by besting the man picked 22 spots in front of him in the 2005 draft. By the San Francisco 49ers, his favorite childhood team. The Packer defense started to gel play like a unit and actually create pressure on the 49ers’ Alex Smith. Surprisingly, the Green Bay ground game racked up 158 yards on a team that allows 87 a game.

49ers Packers FootballEven more unbelievable, the Packer offensive line only gave up two sacks and four hits on Rodgers all day; both numbers have decreased over the past two games. Perhaps the biggest confidence boost came when the Packer offense ran out the last 5:40 to put the game away for good in the fourth quarter. Things definitely were starting to gel the way Packer fans and Skip Bayless expected.

But four words found a way to change the entire tone of the Packers’ 30-24 win over the 49ers: Out for the season.

The fourth quarter injuries to cornerback Al Harris and linebacker Aaron Kampman will put the weight of a Wild Card birth and the toughest stretch of their schedule on a Packer depth chart that wasn’t that deep last year. The next six games for Green Bay are at Detroit (Thanksgiving is always tough), Baltimore, at Chicago, at Pittsburgh, Seattle, at Arizona.

This means that rookie Brad Jones, who has played well as a fill in but is not the playmaker Kampman is, and Brady Poppinga will compete for Kampman’s spot. I would also include Jeremy Thompson in this discussion, as he had high expectations going into this season but has experienced quite a few bumps and bruises that have limited his playing time. We’ve already seen the defense perform well without Kampman, and if anything his injury makes letting him go into free agency at the end of the year much easier. Dealing with the loss of Al Harris is something entirely different.

Here’s a name that will now see increased playing time because of the Harris injury: Jarrett Bush. That’s scarier than Paranormal Activity. Tramon Williams is a playmaker and still developing as Harris’ successor, but he will be once again forced into a role as the primary bull’s eye for opposing quarterbacks. The only other player the Packers’ currently have to play the nickel (because Bush will only see the field when ABSOLUTELY necessary) is rookie Brandon Underwood.

Gone are the days where Charles Woodson can blanket opposing tight ends, blitz freely and showcase his athleticism in all its glory. Here to stay in 2009 are the holiday greetings double digit fantasy stats for Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, Kurt Warner, and even Jay Cutler. Talk about lumps of coal.

49ers Packers FootballThe Packers will go with their current roster against the Lions on Thursday, and thankfully they won’t have to face the suddenly hot Matthew Stafford. But it still won’t be an easy task keep up their pace in the race for the Wild Card when two of their wheels have suddenly burst into flames.

Ted Thompson’s response to this situation could also tell us how much confidence he has in a secondary that is thinner than Lindsay Lohan. Either he’ll stand pat with a rookie playing more snaps at nickel in one game than he has all season, or he’ll break character and pick up an aging veteran like Jason Craft, Patrick Surtain or Sam Madison to at least taper the learning curve. I just stumbled upon a recording of the Packer defense saying, “Help us Ted Thompson. You’re our only hope.”

I’m just not sure a reemerging aged wonder can mentor and save the Luke Skywalkers in the secondary.