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‘Red Light Sports Ramble’ ~ Thanksgiving Day game between Packers and Bears is 192nd meeting; game preview

The NFL has expanded the Thanksgiving Day game to include three games. The two traditional games include Detroit hosting the early game, and the Dallas Cowboys hosting the afternoon game. The third game is a primetime event that rotates among the league. This year, the NFL decided to add the Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears. This is the league’s most played rivalry and will mark the 192nd meeting between the clubs. Chicago leads the overall series, including playoffs, 93-92-6.

Also, the Green Bay Packers will retire the #4 jersey of Brett Favre at halftime. Joining the festivities will be Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr. Amidst the holiday and jersey retirement, there will be a football game played. The Packers defeated the Bears 31-23, in week one. Matt Forte tried to be a one-man wrecking crew rushing for 141 yards on 24 carries. With the Bears down by eight, and a first and ten at the Green Bay 29; Jay Cutler threw a game-changing interception. Clay Matthews intercepted Cutler and returned the ball into Chicago territory with under four minutes to play. The Packers cashed in with an Eddie Lacy two-yard run to make the score 31-16.

The Bears enter week 12 with a 4-6 record and are in a must-win situation if they want a chance to make the playoffs. They are currently two games behind the Atlanta Falcons for the last wildcard spot. The Packers regained first place with a win over the Vikings and must win to maintain first place, in the NFC North. Surprisingly, the Bears offense ranks higher (16th) than the Packers (21st), in total yards. However, yards do not win games, and the Packers rank ninth in points scored (24.9) while the Bears rank 21st (21.4). The Bears racked up over 400 yards in the week one loss against a Packers defense that now ranks ninth in scoring defense (19.8). The Bears are allowing 25.1 points per game, which ranks 22nd. Listen in and call the show with your thoughts.

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‘Red Light Sports Ramble’ ~ Packers regain control of NFC North as defense dominates and Lacy rolls

The Green Bay Packers regained first place, in the NFC North, by defeating the Minnesota Vikings 30-13. Both teams have 7-3 records, but with the win the Packers own the head to head tiebreaker. The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Packers and ended the Vikings five-game winning streak. After scoring 17 combined first-half points during the last three games, the Packers held a 16-6 halftime advantage. Mason Crosby kicked two more second half field goals, giving him five for the day. Aaron Rodgers hit James Jones for a 27-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to give the Packers a 14 point lead. On the ensuing drive, the Vikings drove into Packers territory but Adrian Peterson fumbled after a 10-yard run.

The Packers defense dominated the Vikings offensive line by applying constant pressure to Teddy Bridgewater. Officially, they recorded six sacks, but Bridgewater had to throw some balls away because of the pressure. Peterson entered the game as the NFL’s leading rusher and averaged 21.7 attempts per game. He gained 45 yards on 13 carries.

Eddie Lacy rushed 22 times for 100 yards, marking his first 100-yard performance of the year. Lacy ran with power and finished his runs all day. With the lead, the Packers leaned on Lacy to grind out tough yards and take time off the clock. On the stat sheet, Rodgers was not spectacular; 16-34 for 212 yards with two touchdowns. His first touchdown was aided by a 50-yard pass interference play on a third and fifteen with 1:53 remaining, in the first half. Back to back penalties allowed the Packers to finish the drive with the touchdown. On a third and nine, Rodgers found Richard Rodgers for a touchdown but nullified because of offsetting penalties. David Bakhtiari was penalized for holding, and Linval Joseph was flagged for roughing the passer. Instead of a third and 19, the plays offset, and it remained third and nine. On the next play, Anthony Barr was flagged for illegal contact. This gave Rodgers a shot at the end zone and found Randall Cobb for a touchdown before the half ended.

One week removed from giving up a huge kickoff return, the Packers special teams responded. Jeff Janis returned a kick 70 yards to give the Packers great field position that resulted in the game-tying field goal. Mason Crosby connected on all five of his field goals. Punter Tim Masthay drilled a 50-yard punt inside the Vikings 10-yard line with 10:19 left to flip field position.

The Packers and Vikings lead the NFC North with 7-3 records. This victory allows the Packers to own the head to head tiebreaker, which means the week 17 matchup at Lambeau Field could be for the division title.

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‘Red Light Sports Ramble’ ~ Packers and Vikings both have something to prove with a win Sunday.

Minnesota has not allowed more than 21 points during their five-game winning streak. Mike Zimmer came to Minnesota with a strong defensive background. He has implemented a scheme that has them ranked second in the NFL, in points allowed (17.1). Teams have had a hard time running the ball against the eighth-ranked rush defense. Evan talks about the sack stat being overrated, which could be the case with the Vikings. They rank 16th in the league with 21 sacks but have gotten enough pressure to be effective and rank 15th against the pass. Offensively, the Vikings will lean on Adrian Peterson, who leads the league in rushing, with 961 yards. Peterson averages 21.7 carries per game. Teddy Bridgewater has been average at best, boosting and 84.6 quarterback rating, which ranks 34th among all NFL quarterbacks.

The Green Bay Packers are trying to figure out where the disconnect is on offense. During the three-game losing streak; the Packers have only scored 17 first half points. The last two weeks have seen the offense come alive in the fourth quarter and tried to mount comebacks. Against the Carolina Panthers, they fell yards short, and against the Detroit Lions they missed a two-point conversion and a field goal. The Packers have abandoned the run game, and it will be no easy task getting it going against the Vikings. The offense line that was keeping Aaron Rodgers clean at the beginning of the season has been dominated for three straight weeks. Finally, they need to get their playmakers into space and make plays.

Can the Packers travel to Minneapolis and regain control of the NFC North and their season? Will the Vikings prove to the NFL world that they are for real this season? Listen in and call the show with your thoughts.