Three takeaways from Packers’ win over Rams in Week 12

Green Bay Packers, Rasul Douglas (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Rasul Douglas (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers needed to bounce back after a tough last-second loss to the Minnesota Vikings last week, and they did with an impressive victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

Like in January’s divisional-round win over the Rams, the Packers pulled away in the second half and proved to be too strong.

Green Bay now enters its bye week sat in a strong position. What did we learn from Sunday’s win?

Packers defense delivers

The Rams have a talented offense — they are always going to make plays. But when it mattered most, the Packers’ defense stepped up and made game-changing plays.

They started fast, ending the Rams’ opening drive after just five plays. On their second possession, Rashan Gary forced a fumble to set up the Packers’ first touchdown of the day. On the next drive, Green Bay forced Los Angeles to turn it over on downs in its own half of the field.

The Packers would get another turnover in the second half — a Rasul Douglas pick-six — while forcing the Rams to punt five times.

While they will be disappointed to allow touchdown catches of 79 and 54 yards, the defense made key plays when they needed to.

Brian Gutekunst deserves praise

General manager Brian Gutekunst has received plenty of criticism in recent years, from the Aaron Rodgers situation to drafting Jordan Love to missing out on free agents and trades. But he deserves a ton of credit.

This team has been without David Bakhtiari, Za’Darius Smith, and Jaire Alexander, three of their most important players, but continued to win and win and win.

De’Vondre Campbell has been the best inside linebacker in football, a player Gutekunst signed in the summer. Rasul Douglas has been a star at cornerback. On Sunday, he had a pick-six and four pass defenses. Gutekunst signed him off the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad in October.

Remember the criticism the Packers received for drafting Rashan Gary? He has been the team’s best pass rusher this season and had two QB hits and a strip-sack on Sunday.

AJ Dillon? He had 90 total yards and a touchdown, showing his ability to play on all three downs yet again.

Eric Stokes? The Packers’ 2021 first-round pick has shown he’s already good enough to be a starting cornerback in the NFL. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed a passer rating of just 39.6 versus the Rams.

Even on special teams, Gutekunst has found a difference maker in punter Corey Bojorquez. He had a long of 61 yards on Sunday and three of his five punts pinned the Rams inside the 20.

Gutekunst has built a championship roster and continues to make game-changing moves.

Packers are the team to beat in the NFC

Green Bay improved to 9-3 this week and is the team to beat in the NFC.

With wins over the Rams and Arizona Cardinals, the Packers have proven why they are currently the best team in the conference.

They’ve overcome a long list of injuries and played seven of their 12 games on the road, winning nine and setting themselves up with a chance to secure the No. 1 seed for the second year in a row.

With the bye week to get healthier and self-scout, the Packers are the team to beat in the NFC.