1:00 PM ET, December 2, 2012
Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
Coming off their most lopsided loss in almost five years, the Green Bay Packers are humbled but not shaken.
The Packers can get back on track with a fifth consecutive victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
Green Bay's five-game winning streak ended in ugly fashion last week with a 38-10 road loss to the New York Giants. It was the Packers' worst defeat since a 35-7 loss at Chicago on Dec. 23, 2007.
"Maybe it's a good reminder of what happens when you don't come to play," defensive tackle Ryan Pickett said. 'We're going to take this as a positive. This will be motivation for us the rest of the year."
Though Green Bay (7-4) dropped one game behind the NFC North-leading Bears, it still holds the first wild-card spot. Four of the Packers' final five games are against division opponents, with a showdown in Chicago on Dec. 16.
"Everything we want to accomplish is still in front of us and that'll be our focus," coach Mike McCarthy said. "I believe in what we're about as a football team."
McCarthy, however, also knows his team must improve after the prime-time debacle.
Aaron Rodgers was 14 of 25 for 219 yards with a touchdown, interception and a lost fumble. The Packers couldn't protect him as he was sacked five times.
Green Bay yielded 147 rushing yards and allowed Eli Manning to throw three TDs while giving up its highest point total of the season.
"You win five in a row and everyone is happy, but like I said last year, there are things that go under the radar that need to be handled," Rodgers said. "Sometimes it takes a loss. ... We need to remember this feeling and not have this kind of embarrassment happen again."
Green Bay ranks 13th in the NFL with 24.8 points per game after leading the league at 35.0 last season. The offense, though, could get a boost with the expected return of Pro Bowl receiver Greg Jennings, who has missed the last seven games with an abdominal injury.
It's uncertain if linebacker Clay Matthews will be back after sitting out the past two contests with a hamstring injury, and run stopper C.J. Wilson called himself a "long shot" to play after suffering a knee injury. That may especially hurt with Adrian Peterson, the NFL's leading rusher, coming to town.
"It's a horrible feeling knowing I won't be able to play Sunday and help the team with my defense, to stop this beast," Wilson said.
Regardless of who is on the field, the Packers appear to have a good chance to bounce back as they seek a fifth straight home victory. Green Bay has won two in a row and five of six at home versus Minnesota (6-5), which fell 45-7 at Lambeau last Nov. 14.
Rodgers has completed 72.0 percent of his passes for 1,181 yards with 13 TDs and two INTs during the Packers' four-game winning streak in the series.
Set to face a second straight division opponent that's coming off a lopsided loss, Minnesota had two weeks to prepare for a Bears team that fell 32-7 to San Francisco on Nov. 19. The Vikings, though, didn't put up much of a fight in a 28-10 defeat at Soldier Field last Sunday.
Minnesota dropped numerous passes, committed two turnovers that led to touchdowns and allowed the Bears to convert on 11 of 19 third-down chances.
"I was (surprised)," said Peterson, who recorded his fifth straight 100-yard rushing game with 108 on 18 carries. "We had a great week of practice. We just came out and couldn't get anything going. We've just got to shake it off and move forward."
Though the Vikings are tied with Seattle and Tampa Bay for the final NFC wild-card spot, they've lost to each team and would need to finish with a better record than both to make the playoffs.
Averaging 147.4 yards and 7.4 per carry in the last five games, Peterson hopes for a better performance after he was held to 51 yards and a TD on 14 carries at Green Bay last season.
Not helping matters, the Vikings will again be without Percy Harvin, who has been ruled out due to a sprained ankle. Harvin, among the NFL leaders with 62 receptions despite missing the last two games, did some drills Friday but hasn't been able to fully practice and did not travel with the team for this game.
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• Packers must tighten up protection: The success of the Green Bay offense is predicated on an explosive air assault. It was evident on Sunday night against the Giants that the loss of two offensive linemen was a glaring problem for the Packers' pass protection. Minnesota also has very capable pass-rushers who could derail Aaron Rodgers' ability to move the chains. New York sacked Rodgers five times and knocked him down several other times. Look for Packers coach Mike McCarthy to make some adjustments to get the passing attack back on track.
|Avg Points Allowed||22.7||21.6|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||MIN|
|Rush Yds Allowed||MIN|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Green Bay leads 16-10|
|Nov 14, 2011||MIN 7, @GB 45|
|Oct 23, 2011||MIN 27, GB 33|
|Nov 21, 2010||MIN 3, GB 31|
|Oct 24, 2010||MIN 24, @GB 28|
|Nov 1, 2009||MIN 38, @GB 26|
|Oct 5, 2009||MIN 30, GB 23|
|Nov 9, 2008||MIN 28, GB 27|
|Sep 8, 2008||MIN 19, @GB 24|
|Nov 11, 2007||MIN 0, @GB 34|
|Sep 30, 2007||MIN 16, GB 23|
|Dec 21, 2006||MIN 7, @GB 9|
|Nov 12, 2006||MIN 17, GB 23|
|Nov 21, 2005||MIN 20, @GB 17|
|Oct 23, 2005||MIN 23, GB 20|
|Jan 9, 2005||MIN 31, @GB 17|
|Dec 24, 2004||MIN 31, GB 34|
|Nov 14, 2004||MIN 31, @GB 34|
|Nov 2, 2003||MIN 27, GB 30|
|Sep 7, 2003||MIN 30, @GB 25|
|Dec 8, 2002||MIN 22, @GB 26|
|Nov 17, 2002||MIN 31, GB 21|
|Dec 30, 2001||MIN 13, @GB 24|
|Oct 21, 2001||MIN 35, GB 13|
Tackle Bryan Bulaga was injured in Week 9 against the Cardinals, and in two games without him, the Packers have struggled to protect Aaron Rodgers despite facing an increase of standard four-man rushes. Against the Giants, Rodgers was sacked or under duress on 17 of his 33 dropbacks (51.5 percent), the highest rate for any quarterback this season.[+]
Packers Dropback Percentages - Before/After Bryan Bulaga Injury This Season
The Packers have dropped back to pass 82.6 percent of the time this season out of shotgun sets, which may be giving pass rushers a chance to go all out. Aaron Rodgers has been sacked or put under duress on 24.9 percent of his dropbacks from shotgun formations this season but has been pressured 13.3 percent of the time when under center.[+]
Packers Pct of Plays Using Shotgun Formations - Last 5 Seasons
NEXT LEVEL: While Adrian Peterson leads the NFL in rushing by a wide margin, its not for what he's doing in key short yardage situations. In the Vikings loss to the Bears in Week 12, Peterson only had one touch on 7 Vikings plays on 3rd or 4th down needing 3 or fewer yards. From 2008 to 2011, Peterson was the NFL's best at converting in such situations and got carries on a third of such plays for Minnesota. This year he's getting his number called far less often and converting at a significantly lower clip.[+]
Adrian Peterson Not Getting Important Touches - 3rd/4th-Down and 3 or Fewer Yds To Go
Aaron Rodgers has 19 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in his career against the Vikings. Only Brett Favre, who played the Vikings 31 times, has a larger touchdown to interception difference. Favre threw 54 touchdowns and 33 interceptions against Minnesota.[+]
From Elias: * Adrian Peterson is 12 yards shy of 8,000 career rushing yards and will be playing in his 85th career game. FROM ELIAS: Only five players have ever reached the 8000 rushing yards plateau faster. Among those Peterson will likely get there faster than include Walter Payton, LaDainian Tomlinson and O.J. Simpson[+]
ESPN Stats & Information