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Can the high-seeded, win-ugly Packers really contend for the Super Bowl? – ESPN, Espn.com

Can the high-seeded, win-ugly Packers really contend for the Super Bowl? – ESPN, Espn.com


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Anthony Harris picks off Aaron Rodgers to start the second quarter for the Viki ngs.

It helped, of course, that the Packers ‘defense overpowered the Vikings’ offense line and limited them to 109 rushing yards and seven first downs, their lowest total in a home game since (**********************************************************************. If you want to be snarky, you’ll note that the Vikings were missing their top two tailbacks, (Dalvin Cook) ************** and Alexander Mattison, and that quarterback Kirk Cousins ​​was stumbling through his usual Monday night jitters. Regardless, Packers left tackleDavid Bakhtiarisaid, “Our defense kept us in the game and let us be us for four quarters.”

“We’ve had a change in our identity,” Bakhtiari added. “I think everyone around us is used to a high-powered offense that is going to light up a scoreboard. But we’re a balanced team.”

Twelve victories in regular-season games proves, by definition, that the Packers have a winning formula. There is a fine line between being balanced and being mildly capable on either side, and the Packers have straddled that line for most of the season. But most of their players jaunted through the locker room Monday night with shirts that read “The North is not enough.” They argued that winning in unassuming fashion has built a battle-tested team that is primed for a deep playoff run.

Kicker Mason Crosby, who has played in every Packers playoff game since (***********************************************************************, said he has no doubt that this team has the same ingredients as some of the franchise’s best teams of the century.

“We are one of those teams that finds ways to win,” he said. “We’ve had a couple unfortunate ones get away from us when we did not play our best. But this team has a passion and energy that is hard to describe. I look back at some of our really good teams here, and we Just kind of have that X factor, the thing that tells you that any game we play, we can find a way to win. “

It’s one thing to find a way to beat the Panthers or Redskins or Giants – or even a Vikings team playing without one of its best players. But can the Packers really beat the ers, Saints or Seahawks in the playoffs?

Everyone has an opinion, and here’s mine: They can’t do it by following Monday’s formula. To wear out an opponent with the running game requires a defense that holds a high-end offense at bay. It’s true that the Packers held their past four opponents to 15 or fewer points per game, but those opponents included the No. scoring offense (Redskins), the No. (Bears), the No. () Giants) and the Vikings without Cook and Mattison.

To win playoff games, the Packers will need something from Rodgers that they haven’t gotten or even asked for: a performance that matches some of his singular playoff games, from the (divisional playoff against the

****************************** Atlanta Falconsto the 10636 divisional game against the Dallas Cowboys. That’ll get us all talking about the Packers again, not for aesthetic reasons but for competitive ones, instead of noting that Rodgers now ranks (st in the NFL in QBR). 2).

“I’ve always just tried to do what the team needed , “Rodgers said. “There have been times over the years when I needed to do some of those things I’ve done over the years. This year it’s different, based on the personnel we have and the scheme that we’re running. I’m trying to be opportunistic, but we’ve got a pretty good run game going. “

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