This is the part of the season where the team with the easier schedule has the advantage. In Week 14 the Green Bay Packers had the schedule break, the Minnesota Vikings did not, the Packers win and wrestle control of the NFC North back from the Vikings.
The Pack relied on the legs of Eddie Lacy and beat the Dallas Cowboys. Lacy rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown and running mate James Starks contributed two touchdowns. The Packers finished with 230 rushing yards on 44 carries.
The Packers were not playing one of the better defenses in the National Football League. They were able to collect 435 yards and 29 first downs and the defense helped with some big plays.
Cowboys’ running back Darren McFadden also did well as he rushed for 111 yards on nine carries. But it was back-up running back Robert Turbin who scored the Boys only touchdown on a 7-yard run in the middle of the third quarter making the score at the time 14-7.
Matt Cassel started for the sixth time for injured QB Tony Romo and as in previous games the passing game struggled. Dez Bryant caught only one pass for nine yards. He appeared to have caught a big play reception in the second quarter, but it was reversed on replay. It was shades of déjà vu when replay reversed what looked like a Bryant catch during last season’s NFC divisional playoff game when the Packers beat the Cowboys. Bryant was also targeted on another play when the pass bounced off his hands into the grasp of Packers’ cornerback Sam Shields for an interception in the first quarter.
Cassel finished with 13 completions on 29 attempts for 114 yards.
Meanwhile, Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 218 yards and two touchdowns. Richard Rodgers caught a three-yard touchdown pass making the score 14-0 at 2:40 left in the second quarter. Starks caught the other. PACKERS 28 COWBOYS 7
Fourteen-year NFL veteran Dwight Freeney stripped the ball from Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with five seconds remaining to preserve the win for the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals clinched a playoff berth with the victory.
Freeney’s action definitely saved the win for the Cardinals. Bridgewater was leading a successful drive moving the ball to the Cardinals 31-yard line setting up a 48-yard field goal. That is well within the range of kicker Blair Walsh. However, the Vikings made one more play from scrimmage and Freeney hit Bridgewater’s arm as he tried to pass. The ball came loose and Calais Campbell recovered for the Cardinals.
Cardinals’ kicker Chandler Catanzaro kicked the winning field goal –- a 47-yard boot –- with 1:23 remaining.
Bridgewater finished with 25 completions on 36 throws for 335 yards and a touchdown. Adrian Peterson rushed for only 69 yards on 23 carries. He scored on a 9-yard run.
Carson Palmer threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns –- a 65-yarder to John Brown and a 42-yard pass to Michael Floyd. It was his 31st and 32nd touchdown passes for the Cardinals breaking Kurt Warner’s franchise record of 30 set in 2008 when the Cardinals went to the Super Bowl. Floyd caught five passes for 102 yards. Rookie running back David Johnson, who is substituting for an injured Chris Johnson, rushed for 92 yards on 19 carries.
Walsh had converted on a 54-yard field goal making the score 20-13 in favor of the Cardinals. The Cardinals failed to convert a third and one play and the Vikings went on an 88-yard drive capped by a seven-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace on a third down play and with 4:50 remaining in the game.
Prior to Freeney’s fumble recovery the Cardinals moved down field for the clinching field goal with 4:50 remaining.
The Vikings fumbled three times –- once deep in Arizona territory, the second at mid-field that led to a Cardinals touchdown, and the fumble recovered by Freeney. CARDINALS 23 VIKINGS 20
Kirk Cousins threw for 300 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another and tight end Jordan Reed caught nine passes for 120 yards and a touchdown as the Washington Redskins defeated the Chicago Bears.
The Bears had a chance to tie the game at the end of regulation. Bears’ QB Jay Cutler completed a 50-yard pass to receiver Alshon Jeffery that put the ball on the Redskins 35 yard line setting up a Robbie Gould 50-yard field goal attempt, but the ball drifted wide right with 1:40 remaining. Cutler finished with 19 completions on 31 throws for 315 yards, two touchdowns and a lost fumble. He was sacked three times.
Jeffery caught six passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. Zach Miller collected 85 yards and a touchdown and Matt Forte rushed for 45 yards on 10 attempts and a touchdown.
The Redskins rushed for a total of 99 yards –- Matt Jones gained 62 yards on 18 carries and Alfred Morris collected 24 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown.
Cousins’ finished with 24 completions on 31 attempts and was sacked three times. REDSKINS 24 BEARS 21
Todd Gurley rushed for 140 yards on 16 carries and scored two touchdowns and defensive back Trumaine Johnson held Calvin Johnson to just one catch for 16 yards and returned an interception 58-yards for a score and Aaron Donald sacked Matthew Stafford three times as the St. Louis Rams defeated the Detroit Lions. Donald now has 11 sacks, two more than he had last season when he was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Golden Tate caught two touchdown passes and combined with Theo Riddick for 16 receptions for the Lions. Tate’s 2-yard touchdown catch cut the deficit between the two teams to a touchdown with the Rams in the lead.
The Lions left St. Louis with one conciliation as quarterback Matthew Stafford broke the 25,000 passing yards milestone in 90 games, fewer games than any quarterback before him. He finished with 30 completions on 46 attempts for 245 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. RAMS 21 LIONS 14
NFC NORTH STANDINGS Overall Division Conference
GREEN BAY PACKERS 9-4 3-2 7-3
MINNESOTA VIKINGS 8-5 3-1 5-4
CHICAGO BEARS 5-8 1-3 2-7
DETROIT LIONS 4-9 2-3 3-6
NFC NORTH SCHEDULE
BEARS @ VIKINGS SUNDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2015
PACKERS @ RAIDERS SUNDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2015
LIONS @ SAINTS MONDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2015
Courtesy of iSportsweb.com