The NFC’s road to Super Bowl LVI will go through Lambeau Field.
The Packers clinched the conference’s top seed — including home-field advantage and the NFC’s only first-round bye — with their 37-10 victory over the Vikings on Sunday Night Football.
Though the Packers got off to a slow start, they had clear control of the game throughout. Green Bay began the game 0-of-3 in the red zone, but still had a 6-0 lead off a pair of Mason Crosby field goals. Then receiver Allen Lazard caught a 20-yard touchdown from Aaron Rodgers with 4:11 left in the second quarter. And receiver Davante Adams caught an 11-yard touchdown with 1:05 in the half to put Green Bay up 20-0.
With starting quarterback Kirk Cousins out after testing positive for COVID-19 late in the week, the Vikings had next to nothing on offense for much of the contest. Backup Sean Mannion got the start and Minnesota had just one first down before a two-minute drive in the second quarter. The club finished with a total of four first downs in the first 30 minutes and had only 70 total yards.
Kicker Greg Joseph hit a 51-yard field goal to put the Vikings on the board as time expired in the first half, but Minnesota went three-and-out to start the third quarter.
A.J. Dillon pounded in a 4-yard touchdown on the ensuing drive. And Crosby’s 37-yard field goal made it 30-3.
While Mannion threw his first career touchdown to K.J. Osborn late in the third quarter, Green Bay’s lead was insurmountable. Dillon capped the scoring with a 7-yard touchdown with 8:41 in the fourth quarter.
Jordan Love ended the game at QB for the Packers. Vikings third-round pick Kellen Mond saw some action while Mannion’s hand was being examined on the sideline in the fourth quarter. But Mannion came back in to end the contest.
The Vikings had no run game to speak of, as Dalvin Cook finished with 13 yards on nine carries. Mannion actually led the team with 14 yards on the ground.
By clinching the No. 1 seed, the Packers no longer have anything to play for next week against the Lions — which means it might be the last time Rodgers takes a snap in a game until Jan. 22 or 23. Rodgers finished the game 29-of-38 for 288 yards with two touchdowns.
Adams caught 11 passes for 136 yards and Lazard caught all six of his targets for 72 yards.
Via Doug Clawson of ESPN, in the last two seasons, Rodgers has thrown for 36 touchdowns and no interceptions against NFC North opponents. And the Packers became the only team in NFL history to win at least 13 games in three consecutive seasons.
The Vikings have been eliminated from playoff contention with the loss, and now could make a coaching change. They’ll host the Bears to end the 2021 season next week.
Green Bay will head to Detroit for its season finale, which Love may start.