Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur warned of Tom Brady's "great feel" ahead of the blockbuster NFC Championship Game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It will be a battle of the titans when Aaron Rodgers leads the top-seeded Packers at home to Brady's Buccaneers, with a Super Bowl berth on the line on Sunday.

Brady – a six-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots – will start his 14th conference championship when the Buccaneers travel to Lambeau Field.

The 43-year-old superstar has more conference championship wins (nine) than any other quarterback has starts, per NFL Research.

LaFleur is wary of the four-time Super Bowl MVP, telling reporters on Thursday: "I think every game plan is a little bit different, but he's got such a great feel.

"He knows when to get the ball out. Whether you're rushing four or five it doesn't matter. If he feels that rush he gets the ball out of his hands and conversely, if you're rushing four and you're not hitting home he'll hold the ball as long as he needs to, to allow people to get open.

"That's just one of those things that I think is tough to coach. Some guys have great feel in the pocket and that's a tremendous luxury when you have a guy like that."

Not since winning Super Bowl XLV have the Packers reached the showpiece event – beaten by the San Francisco 49ers in last season's NFC Championship Game, having also lost title deciders in 2017 and 2015.

Rodgers will play a conference title game at home for the first time in his stellar career following the Packers' 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round – his four previous NFC Championship appearances have been on the road.

Green Bay's Rodgers – a Super Bowl champion in the 2010 season – recorded his 12th career playoff game with 250-plus passing yards and two-plus passing touchdowns against the Rams.

According to NFL Research, the only other payers in NFL history with 10-plus such games are Brady (17), Joe Montana (12) and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (10).

MVP favourite Rodgers also eclipsed Brett Favre for most playoff completions (439) in Packers history.

Per Stats Perform, Rodgers has thrown for multiple passing TDs in eight consecutive postseason games, tied with Joe Flacco for the longest streak in history. Now with 233 in his career, Rodgers also passed Favre for the most touchdown passes thrown at Lambeau Field (regular and postseason).

"I think when he speaks he is so well thought out in what he says and he has such a great delivery to our team I think everybody really, truly, takes it to heart," LaFleur said of the two-time MVP.

"Obviously he's a huge part of our football team both on the field and in that locker room. I think those just kind of naturally occur, whatever feels natural in the moment. He's a guy that everybody on this football teams looks to in terms of that leadership role."

On Rodgers and Brady, added: "They've seen everything. There's not a lot you can throw at them that they haven't seen. Now, the whole key is that I think a lot of times when you're playing quarterbacks like this you've got to make sure that you have identical looks, or shells, or contours and you're switching the picture on them on the snap of the ball. I think that's always imperative any time you're playing quarterbacks of this calibre."

The Green Bay Packers have paid tribute to Ted Thompson, the Super Bowl-winning general manager who drafted Aaron Rodgers, after he passed away.

Thompson died on Wednesday, aged 68.

The former Houston Oilers linebacker spent eight years with Green Bay's personnel department up to 1999 before heading to Seattle for five seasons as the Seahawks' vice president of football operations.

The Packers had already won a title during Thompson's initial stint and he returned in 2005 for a successful run as GM.

Thompson built the team that won the Super Bowl XLV championship, including taking stalwart quarterback Rodgers in his first draft and hiring head coach Mike McCarthy.

Brian Gutekunst succeeded Thompson in 2018 and led the response to news of his passing on Thursday.

"Ted was a man of great character and integrity who cared deeply for his family and friends," said the incumbent GM.

"He was honest and hard-working. He valued his scouts and always did what he felt was right for the Packers organisation.

"I learned a great deal from Ted and will always be appreciative for the opportunity he gave me.

"He was a football man and a scout's scout, but more importantly, he was a very special person who will be greatly missed."

Coach Matt LaFleur, who is preparing his team to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, added: "He's a guy that's held in the highest regard in this building and I think just around the league.

"His impact is still felt to this day when you look at our roster.

"I think he's had a tremendous impact amongst many people across the league when you look at all the other GMs that have learned under him."

Thompson's name will be installed on the Lambeau Field facade ahead of the 2021 season "to honour his contributions to the organisation's success and recognise his legacy", the Packers announced.

Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers insisted there is no additional pressure as the NFL franchise look to end their Super Bowl absence against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Rodgers and the top-seeded Packers will host Tom Brady's Buccaneers in Sunday's blockbuster NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field.

Not since winning Super Bowl XLV have the Packers reached the showpiece event – beaten by the San Francisco 49ers in last season's NFC Championship Game, having also lost title deciders in 2017 and 2015.

But MVP favourite Rodgers told reporters on Wednesday: "No more pressure than usual. I think a lot of times the storylines, pressure and those kinds of comments are good stuff for you guys to write about, but I think it starts with the mentality and focus.

"Obviously I put pressure on myself to perform every single week, and I think there's a lot to be said for being able to harness that pressure and fear of failure and focus into a real positive. That's something you learn over the years. But I don't feel any extra pressure going into this one.

"Definitely thankful to be back here. A lot of people didn't think we'd be back here after last season. We got a lot of interesting comments last year about us being the worst 13-3 team that people had seen. Not the same type of comments this [time]. Obviously we're clicking a lot better on offense, I do feel really thankful to be back here, thankful for the chance to be playing."

Rodgers will play a conference title game at home for the first time in his stellar career following the Packers' 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round – his four previous NFC Championship appearances have been on the road.

Green Bay's Rodgers – a Super Bowl champion in the 2010 season – recorded his 12th career playoff game with 250-plus passing yards and two-plus passing touchdowns against the Rams.

According to NFL Research, the only other payers in NFL history with 10-plus such games are Brady (17), Joe Montana (12) and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (10).

Rodgers also eclipsed Brett Favre for most playoff completions (439) in Packers history.

Per Stats Perform, Rodgers has thrown for multiple passing TDs in eight consecutive postseason games, tied with Joe Flacco for the longest streak in history. Now with 233 in his career, Rodgers also passed Favre for the most touchdown passes thrown at Lambeau Field (regular and postseason).

Brady and the Buccaneers stand in the way of Rodgers and just his second Super Bowl berth, with many feeling the upcoming encounter could be the latter's best chance at progressing past the NFC Championship for the first time in a decade.

But the 37-year-old Rodgers – a two-time MVP and nine-time Pro Bowler – said: "I'm always just trying to stay present, especially this year as much as anything, and enjoy the moments. I hope there's more opportunities, but I don't know. I mean, I really don't. That stuff is out of my control.

"My future is a beautiful mystery I think. The present is such a gift to be able to stay in the moment and to have gratitude for being in this situation again, and being with the guys and having fans in our stadium and maybe snow in an NFC Championship Game. I'm going to enjoy these moments for sure, and just not worry about what happens down the line."

Aaron Rodgers is relishing the opportunity to feature in a long-awaited NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field after the Green Bay Packers downed the Los Angeles Rams.

Rodgers will play a conference title game at home for the first time in his stellar career following the Packers' 32-18 win over the Rams in the NFL playoffs on Saturday.

Top MVP candidate Rodgers finished 23-of-36 passing for 296 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and no sacks, while the Super Bowl champion rushed for another TD.

Either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or New Orleans Saints await the Packers in Green Bay on January 24 – the winner progressing to the Super Bowl – and star quarterback Rodgers is excited.

"It means a lot. [Former Packers receiver] Jordy [Nelson] and I talked about it years ago. Made a lot of starts in this league without hosting the NFC Championship," Rodgers – whose four previous NFC Championship appearances have been on the road – told reporters when asked what it meant to host the title game in Green Bay.

"Hopefully it is a little colder than it was tonight. The fans were special and the energy was special. There is a home-field advantage. The fact we get to host, can't say sleep in our own bed because there is still an antiquated idea of staying in a hotel the night before a game instead of your warm, cosy six-night a week bed. I know COVID-19 is involved in that. I'm still salty about that antiquated idea.

"But it is meaningful to have fans at the game. Hopefully we can get even more if this worked out. It will be exciting. Enjoy this tonight, celebrate and to watch tomorrow, knowing whoever wins is coming to our place."

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, less than 9,000 fans were allowed to attend the Packers-Rams matchup in Green Bay, where Rodgers recorded his 12th career playoff game with 250-plus passing yards and two-plus passing touchdowns.

According to NFL Research, the only other payers in NFL history with 10-plus such games are Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (17), Joe Montana (12) and New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (10).

Rodgers – whose Green Bay are eyeing their first Super Bowl crown since 2010 – also eclipsed Brett Favre for most playoff completions (439) in Packers history.

Per Stats Perform, Rodgers has thrown for multiple passing TDs in eight consecutive postseason games, tied with Joe Flacco for the longest streak in history. Now with 233 in his career, Rodgers also passed Favre for the most touchdown passes thrown at Lambeau Field (regular and postseason).

"It felt like 50,000 when we ran out of the tunnel, it really did," Rodgers said. "It was such a special moment. Forgot how much you truly, truly miss having a crowd there ... it felt like, 50,000, 60,000."

Rodgers added: ''I'm definitely a little emotional, just thinking about what we've been through. It got me emotional with the crowd out there today.''

Another year, another NFC Championship Game berth for the Green Bay Packers, who took down the Los Angeles Rams 32-18.

Aaron Rodgers – the top MVP candidate – led the way as the number one Packers advanced to their second successive NFC title game by beating the Rams in the Divisional Round at Lambeau Field on Saturday.

Packers quarterback Rodgers flexed his muscles – finishing 23-of-36 passing for 296 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and no sacks, while the Super Bowl champion and two-time NFL MVP rushed for another TD.

Rams QB Jared Goff was 21 of 27 for 174 yards and a touchdown in Green Bay, where he was sacked four times.

The Packers, who lost to the San Francisco 49ers in last season's Championship Game, and Rams traded field goals in an evenly contested opening quarter.

But the Packers moved clear after outscoring the Rams 16-7 in the second period – Rodgers throwing a TD pass to Davante Adams and running for his own TD while Goff connected with Van Jefferson as Green Bay took a 19-10 lead into half-time.

Aaron Jones extended the Packers' lead to 25-10 with a one-yard run before Rams star Cam Akers helped close the visitors within seven points of Green Bay.

However, the Packers were too good as Rodgers threw a 58-yard pass to Allen Lazard with less than seven minutes remaining in the final quarter to send Green Bay back to the NFC title contest.

 

Turning point – Green Bay maintain second-quarter dominance

There is no better team than the Packers in second quarters.

Green Back set an NFL season record for second-quarter points with 205 heading into the postseason. The New England Patriots had previously held the record with 199 in 2007.

The Packers showed why they are so good in second periods after scoring 16 points to move clear of the Rams on Saturday.

Rodgers produces the goods… again

Rodgers showed he is the man for the big stage once again after recording his 12th career playoff game with 250-plus passing yards and two-plus passing touchdowns.

According to NFL Research, the only other payers in NFL history with 10-plus such games are Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (17), Joe Montana (12) and New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (10).

Rodgers also eclipsed Brett Favre for most playoff completions (439) in Packers history.

Per Stats Perform, Rodgers has thrown for multiple passing TDs in eight consecutive postseason games, tied with Joe Flacco for the longest streak in history. Now with 233 in his career, Rodgers also passed Favre for the most touchdown passes thrown at Lambeau Field (regular and postseason).

What's next?

The Packers – eyeing their first Super Bowl crown since 2010 – will face the winner of the Buccaneers-Saints matchup in the NFC Championship showdown on January 24.

For the Rams, they are left to pick up the pieces after returning to the playoffs following a year absence, having lost to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.

The Wild Card Round was, well, wild.

The Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns ended long postseason droughts, while the Los Angeles Rams and Baltimore Ravens impressed as they produced upset results on the road.

Meanwhile, Tom Brady made sure the Tampa Bay Buccaneers progressed, securing a showdown with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints that will be an all-NFC South battle between starting quarterbacks with a combined age is 85.

As for the Kansas City Chiefs, the reigning Super Bowl champions - along with NFC top seeds the Green Bay Packers - prepare to return to action after a well-earned bye week.

A four-game schedule has all the potential for another bumper weekend of NFL action, with fans watching on to found out who will be the final four left standing in the playoffs.

Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers - Saturday, 4.35pm (all times Eastern)

- The Rams are the only current NFC team with an all-time winning record against the Packers (46-45-2), but they have lost five of the previous six and 11 of the past 15 meetings. Green Bay, meanwhile, earned the No.1 seed in the conference for just the third time in their history.

- Aaron Rodgers posted the second-highest passer rating in NFL history this season (121.5), trailing only his own 122.5 in 2011, when he was voted the league's MVP. Rodgers had six games with four or more touchdown passes and zero interceptions, tying the most in a season all-time (Peyton Manning in 2013). In Rodgers' playoff career, the Packers are 8-1 when he does not throw an interception - but 2-7 when he does.

Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills - Saturday, 8.15pm

- Baltimore (191.9) and Tennessee (168.1) finished first and second in the NFL in rushing yards per game in the regular season, but the Ravens out-rushed the Titans 236-51 last week to progress. Lamar Jackson ran for 136 of them, the third most ever by a quarterback in a playoff game.

- Josh Allen completed 26 of 35 passes in the Wild Card win over the Indianapolis Colts (74.0 per cent), the highest completion percentage by a Bills starting QB in a playoff game. Allen also became the fifth player in NFL history with a passing TD, a rushing TD and a receiving TD in the playoffs, joining Freeman McNeil, Kordell Stewart, Julian Edelman and Nick Foles.

Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs - Sunday, 3.05pm

- This is the first postseason game between the teams. The Chiefs have won the past three meetings, most recently on November 4, 2018 (37-21). In fact, Cleveland have not beaten Kansas City since December 2012, while they have triumphed at Arrowhead only once in the past 32 seasons (December 2009).

- Against the Steelers, Baker Mayfield became the seventh player in league history to throw at least three TD passes without an interception in his postseason debut. Only one other player has done this in the previous 15 years (Alex Smith in 2011). He goes up against Patrick Mahomes, who has accounted for 16 total touchdowns – 13 TD passes and three rushing scores – in five postseason outings.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints - Sunday, 6.40pm

- This will be the 59th all-time meeting of these franchises, albeit the first in the postseason. The Saints have won five straight in the rivalry, outscoring the Bucs by a combined 165-81 during that streak.

- Brady's two touchdown passes against the Washington Football Team moved his career postseason total to 75, while the victory was his 31st in 42 career playoff starts. In the entire NFL, only five teams have as many as 31 postseason wins in their history. Brady (341) and Saints QB Brees (303) rank first and third respectively in career starts among quarterbacks, regular season and playoffs combined.

Aaron Rodgers should have the NFL MVP award "locked up", according to his Green Bay Packers team-mate Davante Adams.

Rodgers completed 19 of 24 passes for 240 yards and four touchdowns in the Packers' 35-16 victory over the Bears, clinching Green Bay the top seed in the NFC playoffs for the first time in nine years.

The Packers quarterback connected for TDs with Robert Tonyan, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Dominique Dafney and Adams.

Rodgers finished the regular season with 48 touchdown passes to join Peyton Manning as the only players in NFL history with at least 45 in more than one season (two each). In the previous three instances they were named MVP.

Adams has enjoyed a stellar season, too. He has taken 115 catches, overtaking Sterling Sharpe's franchise record of 112, while his 18 touchdowns tied Sharpe's franchise-best.

The 28-year-old says there is only one candidate for the MVP award, though.

"The MVP should be locked up," he told reporters after Sunday's win. "There's nothing else to really talk about. You look at what we've done and what he's been able to do, and they've hit him with everything.

"[They] said he didn't have any weapons, and we go out there and go 13-3 regular season, which isn't our main goal, obviously, but it's a hell of an accomplishment, especially when you're in your second year with a new staff."

The win earned the Packers the NFC's only first-round bye as well as home-field advantage, and Adams acknowledged the impact playing at Lambeau Field will have.

"It's a world of difference," Adams said. "People play different, people act different, they talk different, everything [is different] coming through Lambeau. It is what it is.

"You can come in and try to bark and be barefoot pregame, shirt off and do whatever you want to do, but at the end of the day it's a beast playing in that snow. It's a beast playing in that weather.

"It's not going to be easy but it gives us a tremendous amount of confidence knowing we're at home. And from what I've seen in the past, it's taken that confidence away from our opponents."

The Green Bay Packers looked every inch a Super Bowl favourite in Week 16 as they decimated the Tennessee Titans in a 40-14 blowout at Lambeau Field.

However, this week saw the Packers hit a significant bump in their road to Super Bowl LV in Tampa with the news that All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari had suffered a torn ACL.

The silver lining for Bakhtiari is that the injury occurred after he signed a four-year, $105.5million extension to make him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history.

But it still stands as a devastating blow to head coach Matt LaFleur's Green Bay offense, which has this season served as a weaponised version of the schemes run by Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay, thanks to the incredible seasons being enjoyed by Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams.

Yet the mind-meld Rodgers and Adams have demonstrated in the 2020 campaign risks being shattered if the Packers cannot protect their two-time MVP quarterback properly.

Widely viewed as the best left tackle in football, Bakhtiari is pivotal to them doing that and his absence could prove key in the regular-season finale and the postseason.

The Packers still need to win in Week 17 to make sure of the top seed in the NFC and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Not having Bakhtiari could make success against a talented Chicago Bears defense significantly more difficult.

How much will the Packers miss Bakhtiari in that game and when the stakes are raised even higher in the postseason? Here we examine whether his injury could be a potential death knell to their Lombardi Trophy ambitions.

A 2015 drop-off

Bakhtiari has missed snaps in two previous seasons for the Packers -- 2015 and 2017.

The caveat for the 2017 campaign is it was one in which Rodgers was unavailable for all but nine games, making it tough to use that season as a gauge for how the Packers will perform with their starting quarterback but without his top pass protector.

Green Bay's performance minus Bakhtiari in 2015, however, suggests the Packers will find life substantially tougher deprived of his services.

He missed two games of the 2015 season and his absence was keenly felt.

Their yards per play average dropped from 5.29 to 3.93 in the time he was off the field, with the Packers' net yards per pass play crumbling from 5.96 to 4.29.

Similarly, Green Bay's rushing production took a big hit without Bakhtiari, their yards per rush average dipping from 4.4 to 3.21.

The issues Green Bay had throwing the ball minus Bakhtiari were clearly a product of increased pressure.

Without him protecting Rodgers' blindside, the percentage of sacks given up by the Packers more than doubled. Rodgers was sacked on 6.3 per cent of passing plays in the 14 games with Bakhtiari but that figure ballooned to 12.9 in the games in which he was unavailable.

The Packers' quarterback hit percentage also increased from 15.5 to 20.7, with Rodgers pressured on 43.1 per cent of dropbacks compared to 32.3 when Bakhtiari was on the field.

It is no surprise, therefore, that the Packers' efficiency on third down declined without Bakhtiari, moving the sticks on just 25.6 per cent of third downs, falling from 35.5 per cent when he was on the field.

The numbers on plays without Bakhtiari since 2013 reflect the 2015 struggles, though the picture from the Packers' three games without him this season is less clear.

A mixed bag in 2020

There is no doubt the Packers are worse offensively without Bakhtiari.

With him in the line-up in 2020, Green Bay average 6.46 yards per play, 7.48 net yards per pass and 5.19 yards per rush. When they have been bereft of his services, those numbers dip to 5.56 yards per play, 7.19 net yards per pass and 3.62 yards per rush.

Where things are a bit murkier is in the metrics that measure pressure.

The Packers have given up a higher percentage of sacks when Bakhtiari has been out, that figure climbing from 3.7 to 4.1. However, their quarterback hit percentage dropped from 8.7 to 6.6.

It is a similar story in quarterback pressure percentage, though the improvement without Bakhtiari has been marginal, Rodgers pressured 29.2 per cent of dropbacks when he has played and 28.9 per cent when he hasn't.

And the difference may be explained by Rodgers becoming ever more comfortable in a scheme that relies heavily on an aspect of offensive football that is key to neutralisng aggressive pass-rushing defenses. 

Can play-action threat be sustained?

The play-action pass is a staple of the LaFleur offense, and the Packers have upped their usage of it during his second season in charge.

Last season, the Packers ran 131 play-action passes, resulting in 978 yards, an average of 7.46 yards per play.

With one regular-season game remaining this year, that number has jumped to 140 plays. Only seven teams have used it more regularly in 2020.

And they have enjoyed increased success on those throws, which have netted 1,108 yards -- an average of 7.91 yards per play.

Play-action is an excellent tool for putting defenses that look to attack downhill on their heels, and the numbers suggest that, as long as Packers succeed in effectively running such plays, they can mitigate the impact of Bakhtiari's absence.

To subscribe to that theory is to oversimplify things. 

The threat of a productive ground attack is a significant aid to the play-action pass and the Packers certainly had that against the Titans, racking up 234 rushing yards in their emphatic triumph.

Yet the numbers indicate they may struggle to maintain that kind of running game production without Bakhtiari, potentially influencing the respect more talented defenses will give to the rushing attack in the postseason.

History says Bakhtiari's absence will indeed be a significant problem, though what the Packers have done in 2020 hints that they may be able to successfully protect Rodgers without him.

But it is clear the Green Bay running game is a different beast with Bakhtiari on the field. If their production in that regard tails off and negatively influences the play-action game, then the Packers offense might not be the potent threat it has been all season.

The loss of Bakhtiari is not necessarily a fatal one for the Packers, but it is a blow that could critically limit their upside as they bid to emerge as the cream of the crop in the postseason.

The Green Bay Packers will hope to seal the top seed in the NFC when they face rivals the Chicago Bears, but the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks will be ready to pounce on any slip-up.

A tie on Sunday would be enough for the Packers to secure a first-round bye in the postseason, though they would also receive it regardless of their own result if the Seahawks fail to beat the San Francisco 49ers.

If the Seahawks are to head straight into the Divisional Round, they need to beat the 49ers and hope the Packers lose and the Saints fail to win against the Carolina Panthers.

New Orleans, meanwhile, need a victory over the Panthers to coincide with the Packers losing to the Bears and Seattle beating San Francisco.

Division titles are up for grabs in the AFC South and NFC East, with the Tennessee Titans and Washington Football Team looking to hold on and top their sections, while the Cleveland Browns will be aiming to reach the postseason for the first time since 2002 when they face a Pittsburgh Steelers side without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

 

FEATURED GAME

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears – Sunday, 4.25pm

- This will be the third Week 17 meeting since 2010 for the long-time rivals, and the previous two were critical games. In the 2010 campaign, the Packers needed to beat the Bears at Lambeau Field to make the postseason; they won 10-3 and went on to win Super Bowl XLV. The teams met in Week 17 three years later in Chicago; the Packers' 33-28 success earned them the NFC North crown and eliminated the Bears. 

- A win over Chicago would secure the NFC's top seed for Green Bay – as well as a second consecutive 13-3 season. The Packers have posted back-to-back seasons of 13 or more wins only once, in 1996 and 1997 with Brett Favre at quarterback. In the Super Bowl era, only one team has had consecutive seasons with at least 13 victories and no Super Bowl appearance: the Saints of 2018 and 2019.

- Aaron Rodgers has 51 touchdown passes against the Bears in his regular-season career, second only to Favre's 60. Including the 2010 NFC Championship Game, Rodgers is 20-5 versus Chicago for an .800 winning percentage, the fourth highest by any QB versus a single opponent since 1950 (minimum 25 starts; postseason included).

OTHER KEY GAMES

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers – Sunday, 4.25pm

- Alvin Kamara rushed for six touchdowns against the Minnesota Vikings on Christmas Day, tying the NFL record set by Ernie Nevers in 1929. Kamara's 58 scrimmage TDs rank as the third most by a player through his first four seasons all-time (Terrell Davis – 61, LaDainian Tomlinson – 60).

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers – Sunday, 4.25pm

- After hurting the Arizona Cardinals' postseason chances with a 20-12 win at State Farm Stadium on Saturday, the 49ers will hope to play spoiler for a second straight week. A win over Seattle on Sunday would give San Francisco a 4-2 record within the NFC West, which would be a division-best – even as they finish in last place.

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans – Sunday, 4.25pm

Tennessee will clinch its first AFC South title since 2008 with a win, or an Indianapolis Colts loss versus the Jacksonville Jaguars this week. A win over Houston would also tie the Titans franchise record for road wins in a season (currently 5-2: 6-2 in 1996, 2000, 2008).

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts – Sunday, 4.25pm

Indianapolis and Jacksonville both have eight players with over 250 receiving yards this season, the only two teams in the NFL with as many. The Jaguars had never had eight players with 250 receiving yards in the same season before, while the Colts had it happen once before (2016, eight players). If they are to snatch the AFC South division title, Indianapolis need to win and hope Tennessee fail to match them, or tie and see the Titans lose.

Washington Football Team at Philadelphia Eagles - Sunday, 8.20pm

Washington have lost six of their past seven games against the Eagles, including three straight on the road. Their lone success came in Week 1 this year after they scored the final 27 points of the game and won 27-17. A tie would be enough for Washington to clinch the NFC East division title, as long as the Dallas Cowboys fail to beat the New York Giants.

ELSEWHERE…

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants – Sunday, 1.00pm

Daniel Jones has not thrown an interception in 162 consecutive pass attempts, the longest active streak in the NFL and the third-longest streak by a Giant in the past 30 seasons (Eli Manning – 176 in 2014, Phil Simms – 173 in 1993). To reach the playoffs, Dallas needs a win and for Washington not to match them, or a tie and a Washington loss. New York need a win and a Washington loss.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns – Sunday, 1.00pm

Nick Chubb is averaging 5.45 yards per carry this season and has run for 11 touchdowns. He is set to will become the second player in NFL history with 5.0+ yards per carry and 8+ rush TDs in three straight seasons, joining another Browns player in Leroy Kelly (1966-68). With a win or a Colts loss on Sunday, the Browns would snap their 17-season playoff drought, which is tied for the longest in the NFL since the merger (1970-86 Saints, 2000-16 Buffalo Bills).

Patrick Mahomes will get a rare rest ahead of the playoffs as the Kansas City Chiefs will start Chad Henne against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Superstar quarterback Mahomes has started every Chiefs game since Week 10 in 2019, when he returned from a dislocated kneecap.

But with Kansas City having secured the top seed in the AFC, the team announced on Wednesday their decision to turn to Henne in Week 17.

That call would appear to represent a big boost to Aaron Rodgers' MVP hopes, with the Green Bay Packers QB now the favourite ahead of Mahomes following a fine run of form.

Rodgers has thrown for 4,059 yards, 44 touchdowns and just five interceptions in 15 games in 2020, adding three rushing scores.

His influential display in the 40-14 defeat of the Tennessee Titans last week was his sixth four-TD game of the year.

Meanwhile, Mahomes has thrown for 4,740 yards, 38 TDs and six picks, four of which have come in the past three weeks. He has two TDs on the ground but none since Week 5.

For Henne, the Chargers game sees a first start for the Chiefs and a first anywhere in the NFL since 2014.

The 35-year-old has attempted just nine passes across three games for Kansas City, with no touchdowns but one sack. He has had one running score on six carries, however.

Aaron Rodgers lauded the Green Bay Packers' "championship-style defense" after they held off the Tennessee Titans to win 40-14 on Sunday.

The Packers, led by Rodgers, ran out into a 19-0 lead but had to withstand an attempted fightback from the dangerous Titans.

Tennessee running back Derrick Henry has led the league in carries and rushing yards over the past two seasons, yet he was restricted to 98 yards on 23 attempts.

Henry's longest carry was for 10 yards, tied for his lowest this season - also managing just 10 yards on his best run in the Week 13 defeat to the Cleveland Browns.

There were two picks and two sacks for Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, too, leading Green Bay QB Rodgers to hail his team-mates.

"That was championship-style defense," Rodgers said. "I felt they played with more confidence than maybe they have at any point this season."

Coach Matt LaFleur added: "Anytime you can hold Derrick Henry to under 100 yards, that's a win. I think that was a hell of a performance by our defense.

"I just sense a different energy. Guys are flying around, making plays, making plays on the ball."

Wide receiver Davante Adams, who scored three touchdowns on 11 receptions for 142 yards, agreed this was a complete Packers performance.

"This was it, man. This was definitely it," he said, although the four-time Pro Bowler reserved special praise for Rodgers, who is firmly in MVP contention.

"Being around him the past seven years has definitely allowed me to really know what being a true competitor really is," Adams said of Rodgers, who threw 21-of-25 for 231 yards and four TDs.

"Everybody knows that I hold myself to a crazy high standard and it's been like that for a long time.

"But to be in a situation where I come in and see a guy who's been balling out as long as he has and not be satisfied with the success he has, being with that guy has allowed me to know what true greatness is."

The Seattle Seahawks claimed their first NFC West championship since 2016 after topping the Los Angeles Rams.

Seattle sealed a four-year first in the NFL thanks to Sunday's 20-9 victory at Lumen Field, where the Seahawks kept alive their hopes of finishing with one of the NFC's top two seeds.

Aaron Rodgers flexed his muscles and team-mate Davante Adams starred in the Green Bay Packers' rout of the Tennessee Titans.

There were also wins for the Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Chargers.

 

SEAHAWKS IN NFC WEST-CLINCHING WIN

For the fifth time under head coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks got their hands on the NFC West crown.

The Seahawks (11-4) used a resurgent defense to see off the Rams (9-6), holding Los Angeles to just six points in the second half, while sacking quarterback Jared Goff – who reportedly suffered a broken thumb – three times.

"There were times during the season where everybody had enough statistics to go ahead and blow us out, and like we weren't worth anything on defense," Carroll said.

"But this defense is good, and they've shown it and they've declared it. This is the kind of defense that we've played in years past when we really had good teams down ... the stretch."

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was 20-of-32 passing for 225 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions, while he also rushed for a TD on three carries.

 

RODGERS' PACKERS DOMINATE

Huge performances from MVP hopeful Rodgers and wide receiver Adams fuelled Green Bay's 40-14 demolition of the Titans at Lambeau Field.

Rodgers showcased his MVP credentials by going 21 of 25 for 231 yards, four touchdowns and one interception for a 128.1 passer rating.

The Packers quarterback had his 13th game with a 100-plus passer rating this season, tying himself in 2011 and Patrick Mahomes in 2018 for the most such games in a single season in league history, per NFL Research. Both Rodgers (2011) and Mahomes (2018) finished as that season's NFL MVP.

Adams caught 11 passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the third player in NFL history to have 100-plus receptions and 16-plus receiving TDs in a season.

He also recorded his ninth successive Sunday Night Football appearance with a touchdown – breaking a tie with Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski for the longest such streak in NFL history.

The Packers improved to 12-3 but still need to beat the Chicago Bears in their final regular-season game to clinch the NFC's number one seed.

Titans QB Ryan Tannehill completed just 11 of 24 passes for 121 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, while Tennessee star Derrick Henry was restricted to 23 carries, 98 yards and no TDs.

 

COWBOYS STAY ALIVE

The Cowboys remain in the hunt in a wide-open NFC East after defeating rivals the Philadelphia Eagles 37-17.

Coupled with the Washington Football Team's (6-9) 20-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Cowboys (6-9) still have a chance to win the division.

The Cowboys need to beat the New York Giants in Week 17, while the Eagles must take down Washington in order for Dallas to top the NFC East.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert set a new single-season rookie record for touchdown passes in the 19-16 victory against the Denver Broncos.

Herbert broke the record when he threw his 28th TD of the season in the second quarter, while he joined Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes as the only players to record 4,000 passing yards through their first 14 starts.

 

Week 16 scores:

New York Jets 23-16 Cleveland Browns
Baltimore Ravens 27-13 New York Giants
Cincinnati Bengals 37-31 Houston Texans
Chicago Bears 41-17 Jacksonville Jaguars
Kansas City Chiefs 17-14 Atlanta Falcons
Pittsburgh Steelers 28-24 Indianapolis Colts
Seattle Seahawks 20-9 Los Angeles Rams
Dallas Cowboys 37-17 Philadelphia Eagles
Green Bay Packers 40-14 Tennessee Titans
Carolina Panthers 20-13 Washington Football Team
Los Angeles Chargers 19-16 Denver Broncos

Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers headlined the AFC and NFC Pro Bowl rosters announced on Monday.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Mahomes and Green Bay Packers star Rodgers have dominated this season.

Rodgers leads the NFL for touchdown passes with 40, while no player has more than Mahomes 4,462 passing yards.

With his 40 TD passes, Rodgers became the first player with 40-plus passing touchdowns in three seasons in NFL history, having also achieved it in 2011 and 2016.

The Chiefs, Packers, Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks each had a league-high seven players make the Pro Bowl.

Seahawks star Russell Wilson made the NFC roster, as did Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray.

With his performance against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Murray became the fourth quarterback in the Super Bowl era aged 23 or younger to throw for 400-plus yards and have a 125-plus passer rating in a game. The previous three (Dan Marino, Jared Goff and Mahomes) all reached the Super Bowl in that season.

The 2021 Pro Bowl game was due to be played on January 31, but was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Aaron Rodgers made history as the Green Bay Packers moved closer to securing the top speed in the NFC with a 24-16 win over the Carolina Panthers.

Rodgers was below his best but still helped the Packers improve to 11-3, consolidating first place in the NFC.

The Packers quarterback went 20 of 29 for 143 yards and a touchdown, but was sacked five times at Lambeau Field, while also rushing for a TD.

The touchdown pass to Robert Tonyan for the game's opening score saw Rodgers make history.

He became the first player to record 40-plus touchdown passes in three different seasons in NFL history, as per NFL Research.

The Packers (11-3) are ahead of the New Orleans Saints (10-3), Los Angeles Rams (9-4) and Seattle Seahawks (9-4) in the NFC.

Aaron Jones had 145 rushing yards and a TD for the Packers, while DJ Moore finished with 131 receiving yards for the Panthers, who are 4-10 and were eliminated from playoff contention.

Carolina quarterback Teddy Bridgewater completed 21 of 35 passes for 258 yards, while he rushed for a TD.

Cam Newton made history and the New England Patriots humiliated the Los Angeles Chargers 45-0 in the NFL, while the Kansas City Chiefs booked their place in the playoffs.

Newton inspired Sunday's demolition of the hapless Chargers in Inglewood, California, where the Patriots kept their postseason hopes alive.

Reigning champions the Chiefs overcame the Denver Broncos to punch their ticket to the playoffs yet again as the New York Giants claimed a huge upset against the Seattle Seahawks.

 

NEWTON STANDS ALONE IN NFL AS PATS RUN RIOT

Patriots quarterback Newton was at the forefront of New England's ruthless demolition of the Chargers on the road.

Newton ran for two touchdowns to become the only NFL quarterback with double-digit rushing TDs in three different seasons, while he also set the league record for most multiple-touchdown games in a season by a QB with four in 2020.

The former MVP finished 12-of-19 passing for 69 yards and a touchdown, while he carried for 48 yards and a pair of TDs as the Patriots claimed back-to-back wins to improve to 6-6.

It was the 29th shutout in New England's history and 12th under head coach Bill Belichick, who moved past Tom Landry for third-most games coached with 455.

According to Stats Perform, New England's win was the largest road shut-out victory in NFL history by a team that entered the game with a losing record.

Los Angeles (3-9) were condemned to their worst loss in franchise history, eclipsing a 49-6 demolition against Kansas City in 1964.

 

CHIEFS FIRST AFC TEAM INTO PLAYOFFS

The Chiefs were far from their best but still trumped the Broncos 22-16 to secure a spot in the postseason for the sixth successive campaign – a franchise record.

Kansas City improved to 11-1 for the season after seeing off Denver for the 11th consecutive time, a streak dating back to 2015.

The Chiefs, who are yet to clinch a fifth straight AFC West title, saw star quarterback Patrick Mahomes finish 25 of 40 for 318 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.

Mahomes has thrown for at least 300 yards in five consecutive games, having achieved the feat last season and the campaign prior. Via Stats Perform, he is the only quarterback to have a five-plus game streak in three successive seasons.

Travis Kelce caught a touchdown as he posted his fifth consecutive season with 1,000-plus receiving yards – no other tight end in league history even has five total seasons of 1,000 receiving yards, per NFL Research.

Kelce is also the first TE in the Super Bowl era with 1,100-plus receiving yards in his team's first 12 games of a season. He set the previous record in 2018.

Denver's Drew Lock completed 15 of 28 passes for 151 yards, two touchdowns and as many interceptions on the road.

 

GIANTS CLIP SEAHAWKS' WINGS, RODGERS MAKES HISTORY

In what has been described as one of Seattle's worst losses of the Pete Carroll era, the Giants stunned the Seahawks 17-12.

The Giants were 4-7 entering the clash, while the NFC West-leading Seahawks were looking to extend their advantage.

But the Giants – using backup quarterback Colt McCoy – had other ideas against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, who were outscored 14-0 in the third quarter.

Wilson struggled on home turf in Seattle, where he was sacked five times and finished 27-of-43 passing for 263 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

The Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams are now level atop the NFC West with 8-4 records after the latter beat the Arizona Cardinals 38-28.

Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers became the fastest player to throw 400 career touchdown passes in the Green Bay Packers' 30-16 success against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Rodgers reached the milestone in his 193rd NFL appearance, eclipsing Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Brett Favre and Philip Rivers after finding team-mate Davante Adams in the third quarter.

After throwing three touchdown passes, Super Bowl champion Rodgers also became the first player in league history with 35-plus TD passes in five different seasons.

 

Week 13 scores:

Cleveland Browns 41-35 Tennessee Titans
Las Vegas Raiders 31-28 New York Jets
Minnesota Vikings 27-24 Jacksonville Jaguars
Miami Dolphins 19-7 Cincinnati Bengals
Indianapolis Colts 26-20 Houston Texans
Detroit Lions 34-30 Chicago Bears
New Orleans Saints 21-16 Atlanta Falcons
Los Angeles Rams 38-28 Arizona Cardinals
New York Giants 17-12 Seattle Seahawks
New England Patriots 45-0 Los Angeles Chargers
Green Bay Packers 30-16 Philadelphia Eagles
Kansas City Chiefs 22-16 Denver Broncos

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