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Packers score quality win against quality opponent

Aaron Rodgers riding wave of Lambeau Field success


GREEN BAY—The Packers are playing the best football in the league, yet, their coach thinks they can play even better.

"We've got some growth left in us," Mike McCarthy said following a 53-20 win over the Eagles that set a Packers record for consecutive games (two) having scored 50 or more points. "I like the way we're winning, but we definitely have areas we can improve on."

Let's examine those areas:

  • PAT kicks – the Packers botched two.
  • Touchdown catches – Randall Cobb dropped one.
  • Stats – somehow the Eagles were able to make the game look closer than it ever was.

The 7-3 Packers are tied with the Lions for the NFC North lead, but that's an almost minor detail from Sunday's events. The big story is the ease with which the Packers are dismantling their foes, and the Eagles aren't to be put into the same category as the Packers' other victims; the Eagles are a legitimate playoff-caliber, Super Bowl contender.

"This was important to gauge where we're at," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said, referring to the caliber of opponent the Packers were facing. "This is the kind of win we needed to remind ourselves and the fans in the league that we are a good football team and we're tough to play when we're hot."

Oh, the Packers are hot. Is there any team in the league that would welcome a trip to Lambeau Field, where the Packers have outscored the opposition 219-85 this season?

"We're playing really well right now. This is the kind of stretch you want to be on. Around here, it's about winning division titles," Rodgers said.

The Packers will win a fourth consecutive NFC North title if they win their remaining six games. That's a tall order but they will likely be favored in each.

Here's how well the Packers are playing:

  • Rodgers threw for 341 yards, three touchdowns and a 120.3 passer rating in little more than three quarters of action. He hasn't thrown an interception at Lambeau Field in his last 13 games on that hallowed ground. He's thrown 31 touchdown passes in his last 11 games at Lambeau, excluding the game last season when he broke his collarbone in the first quarter.
  • Julius Peppers notched his second interception return for a touchdown this season.
  • The defense sacked Mark Sanchez three times and harassed the Eagles offense into four turnovers.
  • Efficiency is the Packers offense's calling card: no interceptions, no fumbles, 57 percent conversions on third down and five minutes more time of possession.

"The formula for getting to the playoffs is always win your home games and play .500 or better on the road. We have a big homefield advantage," McCarthy said.

"We seem to do well in these conditions. We need to have a home playoff game," Rodgers said, obviously with another formula in mind. COMPLETE GAME COVERAGE

Green Bay played Philadelphia at home for the second consecutive season on Sunday. Photos by Jim Biever,

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