Five Packers to watch vs. Vikings in crucial Week 16 matchup

Green Bay Packers, Jake Kumerow (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Jake Kumerow (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

With a win, the Green Bay Packers clinch the NFC North. It would also put them one step closer to a first-round bye. Which Packers will have to up their game to ensure both happen?

The Packers have already clinched a playoff spot in Coach Matt LaFleur’s rookie season. By way of their 11-3 record, the Packers have guaranteed themselves a spot in the tournament and January football. But there is much more right in front of them to achieve.

A win Monday and they reclaim the NFC North for the first time since 2016. A win Monday and one in Detroit the following week, and they do no worse than the number two seed.

Despite an inconsistent offense and a defense that has been gashed on the ground, the Packers still have a chance to claim a prized spot and set themselves up perfectly for a Super Bowl run that travels through Lambeau Field.

Coach LaFleur and his two-time MVP know just how important that is. Outside of Philadelphia, every other team is either from a warm-weather state or plays in a dome. Do you really think those teams want to come to Green Bay in mid-to-late January? I think not.

First things first, the Packers must take care of business against Minnesota on Monday night.

The Packers took the first meeting with a strong first quarter. During the first two quarters, the Packers could do no wrong as they jumped out to a 21-0 lead one minute into the second quarter. From there, the Packers did little else on offense and had to rely on a late fourth-quarter interception to put the game away.

This was the game that showed the Packers’ flaws against the run game as Dalvin Cook rushed for over 150 yards and a touchdown.

Since this game, the Packers have continued to struggle against the run and the Vikings have found an extra gear on offense and kicked it up a notch.

If the Packers are to win Monday, these five players will need to play key roles and be the difference between NFC North champs and wild-card teams.