3 things that stood out from Packers’ 41-17 win over Vikings

The Green Bay Packers extended the team’s winning streak to four games with a 41-17 pulverization of the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on Sunday. More importantly, the victory improved the Packers’ record to 8-8 and – when combined with the Washington Commanders’ loss to the Cleveland Browns earlier on Sunday – created an opportunity for the Packers to clinch a playoff spot with nothing more than a win over the Detroit Lions during next week’s season finale.

In a hyped battle between a 12-3 division champion and a 7-8 underachiever, the underachieving Packers took it to the NFC North champs from start to finish.

The Vikings took an early 3-0 lead after a blocked punt set up a field goal but didn’t score again until the Packers held a 41-3 advantage in the fourth quarter.

In wins over the Dolphins and Vikings in back-to-back weeks, the Packers legitimized themselves as playoff contenders in the NFC, and now only a win over the Lions stands in their way of securing the No. 7 seed.

The journey isn’t over yet. The Packers have to reset and start prep for the Lions, who have won seven of the last nine games and are coming off a 41-10 blowout of the Chicago Bears.

Will the Lions, another dome team from the NFC North, face a similar demise at Lambeau Field come next weekend?

Here are three things that stood out from Sunday’s win:

Turnover bonanza continues

The Packers turned Kirk Cousins over four times – three interceptions and a fumble recovery – and the takeaways resulted in 28 points. Joe Barry’s defense now has 12 takeaways during the four-game win streak, including eight in the last two games and at least two in three of the last four. This group took a meaningful step backward after losing Rashan Gary midseason but has since steadied the ship, and takeaways are a big reason why. A combination of better pressure up front and more consistent coverage in the backend is leading to an increase in interceptions and turnovers overall. And taking the ball away kept it away from Justin Jefferson, who had just one catch on five targets. He was actually targeted on two of the picks. The Lions, who entered Week 17 with the fewest turnovers in the NFL, will challenge the Packers’ ability to take the ball away in the finale.

Jones and Dillon show

Aaron Rodgers created only 143 net passing yards in a game where the Packers scored 41 points. Meanwhile, running backs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon produced 152 rushing yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. Jones looked healthy and dangerous for the first time in over a month, while Dillon scored a touchdown for the fifth straight game. The weather turned and suddenly the Packers are controlling games with their dynamic running back pair. The Lions are giving up 5.1 yards per carry this season and will be just two weeks removed from giving up 320 rushing yards to the Panthers, so expect Jones and Dillon to lead the way next weekend.

Taking advantage

The Packers were nothing if not opportunistic, and, in many ways, complementary. After a blocked punt led to a field goal, Keisean Nixon returned the ensuing kickoff for a go-ahead touchdown. After Aaron Rodgers was sacked on fourth down, Darnell Savage returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown. After the Vikings missed two field goals in the first half, the Packers drove for field goals – including a 56-yarder from Mason Crosby before the half – on the drives following each miss. After the Packers punted to open the second half, Kenny Clark stripped Kirk Cousins and recovered the fumble. Any time adversity hit, the Packers had an immediate and productive answer. Once lost during the 1-7 stretch, resiliency is now becoming a big part of Matt LaFleur’s team.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire