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QB Aaron Rodgers has Green Bay Packers primed for playoffs

By The Sports Xchange

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) scrambles against the Washington Redskins in the second quarter at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland on November 20, 2016.
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GREEN Bay -- Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell predicts "an electric atmosphere" for the NFC North title showdown at Ford Field on Sunday night.
For the visiting Packers to keep the indoor stadium in downtown Detroit from becoming a hornets' nest, they couldn't ask for having a better exterminator.
"He's a great player," Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday about quarterback Aaron Rodgers. "(Offensive coordinator) Edgar Bennett calls him 'Yellow Jacket.'"
Rodgers' harmful sting as the leader of Green Bay's offense has been felt by many an opponent the last several weeks. His pinpoint accuracy, refusal to give the football up and slew of scoring daggers have lifted the Packers to five straight victories and on the cusp of one of the biggest late-season comebacks to win a division crown.
"I'm just looking for new ways to compliment him," said McCarthy, who recently lobbied for Rodgers to be the NFL MVP for the third time. "He's a great competitor. I think if you just have a chance to be around him every day, he competes at everything. It can be overwhelming at times, whether it's a pre-practice drill or finishing his test before the other guys. That's just a big part of his competitiveness and why he is as successful as he is."
The Packers hope Rodgers can be on top of his game when they and the Lions close out the league's regular-season schedule in the nationally televised game on NBC.
The matchup will separate the deadlock atop the NFC North standings with both teams at 9-6. Since Green Bay prevailed 34-27 over visiting Detroit back in September, the Packers need no worse than a tie to win the division.
Unless some help arises in games played earlier in the day, particularly a loss by the Washington Redskins (8-6-1) that would impact the final wild-card spot in the NFC, the loser of the Sunday night game faces elimination for the season.
The Packers expect their topsy-turvy season to continue well past New Year's Day as they seek their fifth division title in the last six years to complete a stunning turnaround from a 4-6 record.
"This is what we wanted to do, this was our goal," center Corey Linsley said. "When you've got a group of guys that are hard-working, care about it ... we used to call them 'GAS' - give-a-shit guys that have a high give-a-shit factor. That's what these guys are. Those are the leaders on this team. They care. It's fulfilling that we've gotten to this point, but we've got to finish the job on Sunday."
Several of Green Bay's players have the know-how of finishing the deal. This is the fourth straight year the Packers' regular-season finale has determined the division winner. Green Bay won two of those previous three games, including a 30-20 outcome against Detroit at Lambeau Field in 2014.
The Lions haven't won a division title since 1993. Even though it's playing at home, Detroit is the underdog Sunday night as it limps in with two straight losses following its own five-game winning streak.
"Anytime you get a chance to play on national television for all of the marbles in the division, it's going to be a pretty exciting time," Caldwell said. "I think it'll be fun for everybody."
Following the lead of Rodgers, who predicted after the slump to 4-6 that they would "run the table" the final six weeks, the Packers are counting on celebrating a fun Sunday night.
"I like that we're playing for something," Rodgers said. "There's something on the line. We've played in games before where we've had things locked up and it's a different feeling. Obviously, we know what the situation is - we've got to win, and we're the North champion. We've come a long way this season, dealt with a lot of adversity in a very positive and encouraging way and come together as a football team. Obviously, we'd like to keep this thing going."

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