Lambeau Field and home-field advantage are synonymous with each other, yet the hollowed grounds of the iconic stadium haven’t been as kind to the Packers in the 21st century as they were in the 20th. While Green Bay continues to win a large majority of their regular-season home games, they’ve posted just a 4-5 home playoff record since the turn of the century.
A once prominent home-field advantage faded to being just noise in the background.
Maybe that’s about to change.
Led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the 2014 Packers seem well on their way to restoring home-field dominance. They’re averaging nearly 44 points per game at Lambeau, and have been so good that Rodgers has actually missed large portions of the fourth quarter in four of five games.
For opponents, the fear of going up against one of the greatest quarterbacks in the game today outweighs the appeal of playing at the same venue that once housed Bart Starr, Brett Favre, and Reggie White.
The job is far from finished, though. Winning in the regular-season doesn’t mean a thing if they don’t take care of business in the postseason.
The Packers are clear favorites to win the NFC North, despite holding the same record (7-3) as the Detroit Lions. The Lions and Packers will meet in the regular-season finale. Because the game is at Lambeau, Green Bay has an advantage in the divisional race.
Additionally, the Packers are just two games back of Arizona (9-1) for the conference‘s top seed. The Cardinals, who are without quarterback Carson Palmer for the rest of the season, play four of their final six games on the road.
Next to winning a Super Bowl, re-establishing playoff dominance at Lambeau would be the finest achievement the 2014 Packers may ultimately make.
Let’s hope they have the opportunity in January.
The Packers put forth one of their most complete efforts of the season, scoring in every phase of the game. They threw and ran for touchdowns on offense, scored two defensive touchdowns, and received a huge boost from Micah Hyde who returned a punt 75 yards for a score. Hyde’s return gave them a 17-0 lead, and was the first indication that the rout was on.
Stud of the Game
I know it’s repetitive to keep signaling Rodgers out as each game’s stud, but he is playing a level of football that few have ever achieved. Rodgers threw for 349 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday, bringing his season totals to 28 touchdown passes and 3,149 yards. He’s on pace to throw for about 4,397 yards and 45 touchdowns. Consider him your MVP frontrunner.
Play of the Game
Hyde’s punt return, and outside linebacker Julius Peppers interception return for a touchdown are worth consideration, but the nod goes to running back Eddie Lacy’s 48-yard catch and run for a score. Lacy barreled toward the end zone like a bowling ball. Only instead of knocking over pins, he was running over Philadelphia defenders. I counted as many as five missed tackles by the Eagles.
For the first time in over 30 years, the Packers will play outdoors in Minnesota as they take on the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Last week, the Vikings allowed 330 passing yards to Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler, and 117 rushing yards to running back Matt Forte. Bet on the Packers putting up big offensive numbers again this Sunday.
The defense will get its first look at rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater is currently struggling, but he has all the tools to develop into a very good starting quarterback. His mental capacity is especially great. Coaches gave him free reign over the offense at Louisville. He hasn’t received that kind of accommodation in the pros, but I suspect he will sometime in the future.
While you can expect to see flashes of talent from Minnesota’s young quarterback on Sunday, he remains years away from going toe-to-toe with the game’s top player. Please visit Row12.com for weekly articles done by myself on college and fantasy football. I currently have Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon III No. 2 in my Heisman Watch. We also have a great staff of writers that covers every major sport.