Come on, it’s more fun this way.
Who really wanted to watch the New England Patriots run away with the NFL this season? The Green Bay Packers’ 26-21 win over the Patriots makes the AFC more interesting. It makes the NFC more interesting too.
And, it’s possible we’ll be revisiting this matchup after both conference championship games in January. That would be fine, because the teams played an entertaining game that lived up to the “Super Bowl preview” hype.
The Patriots fell to 9-3 with the loss. They’re still in great shape to win the No. 1 seed in the AFC, thanks to wins over the Bengals, Colts and Broncos, but it doesn’t seem like such a lock anymore.
The Packers improved to 9-3 and with Arizona looking very vulnerable after a loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the race for playoff positioning in the NFC is wide open. The Packers are tied for the best record in the conference and obviously nobody wants to come to Lambeau Field in January.
The Patriots found out how hard it is to win in Green Bay. New England has been clearly the best team in the NFL since the end of September, but the Packers are fantastic at home. Aaron Rodgers seems to be under the spell of the invincibility star at Lambeau Field. He was 24-of-38 for 368 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions against a very good Patriots defense, extending an unbelievable streak: Rodgers hasn’t thrown an interception at home since Week 13 of the 2012 season. No kidding.
The Packers got great contributions from several receivers and 98 rushing yards from Eddie Lacy. Still, the Patriots had a chance to take a late lead, but Mike Daniels and Mike Neal came up with a huge third-down sack in the final minutes. Stephen Gostkowski missed a field goal and the Patriots never got the ball back.
Fortunately for the Patriots, the Super Bowl won’t be in Green Bay. It’s in Glendale, Ariz. this year. There’s no telling what will happen in the playoffs, but it wouldn’t be a big surprise if these two teams meet again there. And wouldn’t that be fun?
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