The Green Bay Packers didn’t have to throw one block, tackle one rusher, or defend against one pass before hearing that they were in the playoffs due to the New York Giants loss to the Carolina Panthers.
They had the luxury of hearing before their game because they were playing the Oakland Raiders on the west coast. So feeling a little loose, the Packers went out and did their due diligence by beating the Raiders.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr put his team in a hole early on sacrificing two interceptions. However, he upped his performance with two touchdown passes to Amari Cooper. Cooper finished the day with six catches for 120 yards. He became only the fourth player to top 1,000 yards in a season by age 21 when he caught a 41-yard pass from Carr in the third quarter.
Carr’s first interception to Micah Hyde put the Packers on the Raiders’ 18-yard line and John Kuhn rushed the last five-yards for the score. Damarious Randall grabbed the second interception and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown.
The Raiders then rallied with two field goals in the second quarter and Benson Mavowa forced and recovered a James Starks fumble at the Raiders’ 21 with 1:22 remaining and Carr hit Cooper with a 19-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-13 at the end of the first half.
The Raiders took the lead 20-17 midway through the third quarter when Carr hit Cooper for his second touchdown reception.
Backup receiver Jeff Janis returned the ensuing kickoff to the Packers’ 47-yard line. Three plays later Aaron Rodgers completed a 30-yard touchdown pass to James Jones.
In the Packers’ next possession Rodgers engineered a 19-play drive that ended when Mason Crosby kicked a field goal making the score 30-20 with 4:25 remaining.
Rodgers finished with 22 completions on 39 attempts for 204 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He was sacked twice. Leading rusher for the Packers’ was James Starks who collected 51 yards on nine carries. Jones caught six passes for 82 yards and a touchdown.
Carr completed 23 passes on 47 throws for 276 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was sacked three times. Leading rusher for the Raiders was Latavius Murray, who gathered 78 yards on 21 carries. PACKERS 30 RAIDERS 20
Teddy Bridgewater threw four touchdown passes and ran for a score as the Minnesota Vikings beat the Chicago Bears. It was the Bears’ third consecutive loss. Bridgewater finished with 17 receptions on 20 passes for 231 yards. He connected twice with Stefon Diggs for scores and Jerick McKinnon and Zach Line also caught one touchdown pass each. Not only were the four touchdowns a career-high for Bridgewater, it also marked the first time that a Vikings’ quarterback performed the feat since Brett Favre did it in 2010 against the Dallas Cowboys in a playoff game.
The Vikings’ first scoring drive went 93 yards on 13 plays and finished with a Bridgewater to Diggs touchdown. Jerick McKinnon caught a touchdown pass from Bridgewater to make the score 17-7 at halftime.
Jay Cutler threw two touchdown passes, including one to Alshon Jeffrey in the second quarter. However, he was sacked five times. His stats for the day were 26 completions on 37 throws for 231 yards.
The Bears executed a perfect onside kick to start the second half. However, Brian Robison sacked Cutler and recovered the fumble at midfield. The mishap was followed by a 33-yard touchdown catch and run to Diggs.
In the fourth quarter while attempting a screen pass, Cutler threw an interception to backup Vikings’ defensive end Justin Trattou at the Bears’ 16-yard line. Bridgewater scored on a 12-yard run.
Forte and Jeremy Langford combined to garner 94 yards rushing on 20 carries. Both Forte and Zach Miller had six catches for 57 yards.
Adrian Petersen rushed for 63 yards on 18 carries. VIKINGS 38 BEARS 17
Matthew Stafford completed 22 of 25 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns as the Detroit Lions beat the New Orleans Saints.
Drew Brees passed for 341 yards and three touchdowns, becoming only the fourth quarterback to break-through 60,000 yards in a career. He also reached 4,000 yards throwing this season for the 10th straight season. Saints’ wide receiver Brandin Cooks caught 10 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown.
The Lions seemed to have the game in hand at 28-3 in the third quarter after Ameer Abdullah ran 15-yards for a touchdown. However, Brees hit Cooks on a 27-yard touchdown pass and Kai Forbath kicked a field goal after the Lions stopped the Saints offense on third-and-goal from the 4.
Abdullah fumbled on the Lions’ next play from scrimmage and Brees hit Marques Colston with an 11-yard touchdown pass.
Detroit answered with a clutch drive that culminated in a 27-yard touchdown run by Abdullah. Joique Bell score later.
However, Brees and the Saints were not yet ready to quit. The Saints’ QB hit Ben Watson for a late touchdown with 1:55 left, but Calvin Johnson recovered the Saints’ onside kick attempt. The Lions drove for one last score, but Matt Prater missed a field goal with nine seconds remaining. LIONS 35 SAINTS 27
NFC NORTH STANDINGS Overall Division Conference
x-GREEN BAY PACKERS 10-4 3-2 7-3
MINNESOTA VIKINGS 9-5 4-1 6-4
DETROIT LIONS 5-9 2-3 4-6
CHICAGO BEARS 5-9 1-4 2-8
X- Clinched playoff berth
NFC NORTH SCHEDULE
49ERS @ LIONS SUNDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2015
BEARS @ BUCCANEERS SUNDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2015
PACKERS @ CARDINALS SUNDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2015
GIANTS @ VIKINGS SUNDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2015
Courtesy of ABC News