December in Green Bay can be tough for a visiting team and despite a late comeback, the Carolina Panthers learned that lesson the hard way as the Packers beat the Panthers 24-16 on Saturday night.

Green Bay’s gameplan was to strike first and strike fast and that was exactly what happened. After a three and out, the Packers wasted little time as Aaron Rodgers threw for the 1 yard TD. After a Panthers field goal, the Packers marched back down the field where Rodgers decided to run it in for the score.

Down 14-3, it appeared the Panthers had a chance to make it a game but Teddy Bridgewater fumbled as he tried to reach the ball over the pile for the touchdown.

That’s when our hopes for a close game went to bust because what was looking to be 14-1o wound up being 21-3 Packers after Aaron Jones rushed for the touchdown.

At least that’s what we thought. The Panthers actually put up a fight in the second half with the defense stepping up and forcing two straight three and outs coming off halftime. Bridgewater ran the ball near the goal line but fumbled at the goal line again (play was nullified for a penalty after the Panthers recovered). Even after getting a big sack to get the ball late in a one-possession game, something seemed to keep Carolina just far enough away from totally catching up to the Packers.

Aaron Jones was really the catalyst for the Packers. With Rodgers throwing for a measly 143 yards, it was Jones picking up the slack, rushing for 145 yards and a score. Rodgers is going to get the attention with a passing and rushing touchdown but it was Jones doing the work to get them the points.

With a Packers win, they get to enjoy Sunday watching the Saints play the Chiefs. Before Week 15, the Packers were already ahead of the Saints for the top seed based on their Week 3 win but if the Saints lose, the Packers will just need a win against either the Titans or the Bears for the #1 seed in the NFC. And if history is any indication, it’s going to be difficult for a team to come to Lambeau and leave with a playoff win.

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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