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Packers News, 12/28: The Packers’ path to the playoffs is clear, but it’s not a piece of cake

The last time the Green Bay Packers faced the Minnesota Vikings with Jaire Alexander and Justin Jefferson on the field, the Packers corner got the better of Minnesota’s All-Pro receiver. Jefferson had just one catch on five targets last year on New Year’s Day as the Packers dominated Minnesota 41-17.

This year’s Week 17 matchup is just as intriguing, although it carries huge stakes for these two 7-8 teams. The loser is essentially out of the playoff race and the winner still needs a little help. But Alexander’s highly anticipated game against Jefferson won’t happen, thanks to last Sunday’s coin toss incident that forced the Packers’ hand and led to a one-game suspension for Jaire.

His absence will make matchups even more difficult on Sunday, with the Packers now once again counting on rookie Carrington Valentine to step into the starting lineup. It’s not just Jefferson the Packers have to worry about; rookie Jordan Addison has been impressive in his first season and forms the other part of a scary tandem.

Nick Mullens is still the Vikings’ quarterback, which could help even the odds a bit. But even if the Packers have a clear path to the playoffs — winning and getting help from one of the two teams — following that path won’t be easy.

Packers prepare for final playoff push | Packers.com
Two final division games – with help from the Rams and Seahawks – will decide whether the Packers can find a path to the playoffs.

Here’s what computer models say about the Packers’ playoff chances
Look, the odds aren’t great, but the path is pretty simple: win and have the Rams or Seahawks lose a game. And the Rams will play at San Francisco in Week 18, while the 49ers could well be fighting for a chance at a first-round bye.

Packers’ playoff hopes rest on tough pass defense against dynamic Vikings WRs | Wire Packers
The Packers need to focus on their own opponents right now, and that will be a challenge this Sunday night. They just got split by Mike Evans and Chris Godwin two weeks ago, and now they’ll face Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison.

Why the Packers suspended star CB Jaire Alexander: ‘It’s never for a reason’ – The Athletic ($)
Oh, and of course, they’ll face this receiver tandem without their best coverage cornerback. Here’s a look at the reason for the suspension, or at least a discussion of the few public comments Matt LaFleur has made about it.

Man dressed as Grinch crashes on NH property on Christmas, police say | WMU
The hole in the side of the house grew three dimensions that day!

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