Entering Sunday Night's games the Packers knew what was at stake; win and keep the preseason playoff expectations alive, or lose and have those chances take a serious hit while sports writers would start to clamor for McCarthy’s departure. A win would boost confidence and tie them for the NFC North lead going into a huge week 8 match up with the 5-1 New York Jets. A loss would add to the criticisms the Packers had been receiving after back to back overtime losses; it would have sports writers clamoring about how Green Bay was just a disappointment and needed to start focusing on next year and possibly look to fire McCarthy. The message seemed to have sunk in as the Packer’s offense came to life and the defense was able to step up with the game on the line. It wasn't always pretty, but this was an extremely gutsy performance by a team that remains battered and is quickly on the mend.
The past two weeks when the Redskins and Dolphins really started to battle late it looked almost like the Packers just folded under the pressure, but this game was a different story. When the Vikings battled back from down eleven after a Desmond Bishop pick-six, recent history would hint towards a Vikings comeback with a Packer team that couldn't keep a two score lead. Despite the offense not being able to punch in any desperately needed 4th quarter points they did something they hadn't accomplished the past two weeks; they controlled the ball and were able to chew up the clock. For their first drive of the quarter they converted a big fourth down which allowed them to eat up clock and even though they were stopped short on the next attempt, the drive was key.
Once again though, the game was to be determined down the stretch by the defense and they responded well. After allowing the Vikings to get within the 20 yard line, relentless pressure resulted in key penalties for Minnesota as they were pushed back to the 35 yard line. A draw play set up two heaves to the end zone by Favre as the first one sailed into the first row of fans (and the replay showed blanketed receivers all over the field courtesy of Packers defenders) and finally, on fourth down, the secondary once again swarmed all over Harvin and Moss as Favre was forced to throw into double coverage and the defense was able to put this one in the books. Now, the focus turns to New York where a win can boost this team back into the powerhouse teams of the NFC and a loss will not push them out of contention by any means, but Green Bay does not want a .500 record this late in the year. Hopefully Harris and Bigby can work back into the lineup this week as their physical brand of football will be much needed against a run centered game led by born-again former league MVP Ladanian Tomlison.
Without a doubt though, a shot of confidence is back in this team and this upcoming Sunday will present quite the challenge, but now the Packers know they can win when the game is on the line. Green Bay is not ready to be written off yet; this squad still has something to prove.
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