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Cheese Curds: Green Bay Packers News and Links for January 14, 2015

The Packers' defense gets the spotlight today, as we look at some of the key contributors to the unit's success over the second half of the year.

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Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Don't look now, but the Packers' defense has been making impact plays in the second half of key games.

That's the message to take away from today's curds. While it remains to be seen whether this is truly a championship-caliber defense, the fact is that they shut down the Cowboys' offense to 8 points less than their average a week ago and they have allowed more than 21 points in a game only once since the bye week.

Young, highly-drafted players are making major contributions to those numbers as well, and we have a look at two in particular who have been much maligned over the past few years but who are finally healthy and productive.

WYMM: On key sacks and good bounces |
The Packers' solid coverage led to a handful of sacks on Tony Romo last week, but the pass rushers will be challenged against a far more mobile quarterback in Russell Wilson on Sunday.

Defense brings new vision into rematch |
That vision isn't likely to include the 4-3 looks that the team employed early on in the season, but it certainly will still feature Clay Matthews off the line of scrimmage in some key situations.

Lighter D-line seeks heavy impact |
The Packers' 3-4 line is over 110 pounds lighter than they were four years ago en route to Super Bowl XLV, but attitude and leadership is a big reason for the group's improvement this season.

Timing Couldn't Be Better for Packers First Rounders Perry, Jones to Emerge | Cheesehead TV
For all of the frustration about the lack of production from these high draft picks, the two pass-rushers contributed in huge ways last week and will be counted on to provide some big plays again in Seattle.

Thumb down means thumbs up to Packers' Aaron Rodgers - ESPN
Oh, that sneaky Rodgers...

Needing a full Nelson | ESPN Wisconsin
It's well-documented that the Packers have not lost a game in the 2014 season when Jordy Nelson has scored a touchdown...and if he had caught that ball against Buffalo Sunday's game might be taking place in Green Bay instead of Seattle. One thing is for sure - he'll need to be a bigger part of the game this week than he was against Dallas.

Way too early grades for NFL coaching and GM hires -
The more important thing here is that it lists the big moves that have taken place so far, including the Bills hiring Rex Ryan and the Jets bringing Todd Bowles aboard.

Which player would you steal from the four remaining playoff teams? - The Phinsider
Interesting thought processes here from the Dolphins' SB Nation blog...they're saying they get one player from each team, and they take Andrew Luck at QB instead of Aaron Rodgers. Luck and Jordy Nelson vs. Rodgers and T.Y.Hilton? I think you could probably make a valid argument either way there, though I'd take Aaron.