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Page quickly turned to Patriots, Brady

First-place Packers brace for feature game of the season


GREEN BAY – It was a satisfying win against a division rival and it put the Packers in sole possession of first place in the NFC North. Hooray! Now turn the page.

Monday is normally review day for Packers coordinators, as they meet with reporters and offer analysis of their unit's performance from the previous day. This, however, was a different kind of Monday. Review was replaced by preview.

"We go through the same process as we do every week," Offensive Coordinator Tom Clements said.

The Packers might, but this is a very different week for the media. This is the highlight week of the season. This is the Patriots vs. the Packers, and Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers for possibly the league MVP. Some would suggest it might even be a preview of something bigger.

"I've never looked at it as one quarterback vs. another quarterback. Aaron is going to worry about playing against their defense and not against Tom Brady," Clements said.

Clements is coming off what might possibly be the most satisfying performance of the year. Huh? It was 24-21, not 50 to something?

"After the fact, I like yesterday's game more," Clements said when asked if he preferred a blowout win or a score-late, kill-the-clock victory. "It was a good win for us. To close out a game like that is a satisfying feeling.

"It shows we can win a game a different way than we had been winning," Clements added.

Yesterday's win in Minneapolis proved the Packers can play postseason-style football. They can win the hard way: Run it!

Now comes what most are expecting to be a shootout kind of game. Get ready for lots of passes and points, the hype will trumpet.

Is the Packers defense ready for that kind of game? Against Brady?

"They're an excellent football team. We all know that. They have a quarterback that's done it for a long time. It's like having a coach on the field. He's as good as there is," Packers Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers said of the Patriots and Brady.

Let's look at the facts:

  • The Patriots have the No. 7 offense behind the sixth-ranked passer (101.0). They have the No. 15 defense, masterminded by the great Bill Belichick, as shrewd a defensive mind as there is.

"He's very flexible. He's going to do what he feels he needs to do that week to stop that opponent. He'll make adjustments," Capers said of Belichick.

What must Belichick do to stop the Packers? Stop the run or stop the pass?

"If you're one-dimensional, it's easier to defense an opponent than if they can do multiple things," Clements said.

  • The Packers have the No. 8 offense behind the league's top-ranked passer (119.2). They also have the league's No. 24 defense, which has been playing above its ranking in recent weeks.

"I've felt we've played our best football in November," Capers said. "We have to make sure we play our best. That's what it's going to take to beat a team like this."

The hype has begun.


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