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Game recap: 5 takeaways from Packers' victory over Vikings

Win next week gets Green Bay into NFC playoffs

RB Aaron Jones
RB Aaron Jones

MINNEAPOLIS – The Packers handled the Vikings, 33-10, on Sunday night at U.S. Bank Stadium to get to 8-8 with one regular-season game to go.

Here are five takeaways from the important, and dominant, triumph:

  1. A playoff berth is one victory away.

When the Steelers beat the Seahawks in Seattle shortly before kickoff, the Packers got the last bit of help they needed in the NFC Wild Card race.

The game with the Vikings began with the Packers needing two wins to secure a playoff berth, and now it's down to one. A victory next Sunday at Lambeau Field against the Bears (3:25 p.m. CT on CBS) gets the Packers a wild-card spot.

"The whole team is focused on making sure we get that win and moving on," said quarterback Jordan Love, who had another impressive performance. "We know exactly what's in front of us and we're trying to make the playoffs."

Love added that he and most of the locker room knew about the Seahawks' loss and that the team was in the position it wanted and needed to be, controlling its own fate.

"But it means nothing if we don't take care of business next week," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said.

  1. The offense had a banner night, led by Love.

Love threw for three TDs and a 125.3 passer rating. The offense put up 470 total yards, gained 28 first downs, went 9-of-14 on third down, and owned a 15-minute advantage in time of possession.

By any measure, Green Bay's offense was humming as the Packers topped 30 points for the second straight week after doing so only in Week 1 prior to Christmas Eve.

"I can't say enough great things about him," LaFleur said of Love. "His ability to hang in there versus some tough looks, drifting away from pressure, allowing his guys to make plays.

"I think he's playing at an incredibly high level."

  1. His offensive mates are balling out, too.

Running back Aaron Jones topped 100 yards rushing for a second straight week, gaining 120 on 20 carries.

Receiver Jayden Reed, who has battled injuries and had to leave this game at halftime due to a chest injury, had two explosive-play TDs in the first half, catching six passes for 89 yards in all. The "gritty" rookie was taken for additional scans and tests, LaFleur said, hoping he's going to be OK.

Fellow receiver Bo Melton, called up once again from the practice squad, turned in the Packers' first 100-yard receiving effort of the season, with six grabs for 105 and his first NFL touchdown.

"He's stepped up huge," Love said of Melton, who went over 100 yards on a deep ball from backup QB Sean Clifford when the Packers were running out the clock. "Bo's been a guy working every week, finding ways to get better. It's not a surprise to anybody he goes out there and does what he does."

Two weeks ago, the Packers had no individual 100-yard rushing or receiving games. With Jones healthy and Melton's emergence, suddenly they have three.

"From Day 1 that Bo got here, just an unbelievable attitude, unbelievable approach," LaFleur said of the young, speedy receiver claimed from Seattle last year. "He's been team first all the way."

Check out photos from the Week 17 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023.