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Cheese Curds, 11/19: Packers’ fortunes hinge on better execution in crunch time

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Third downs and fourth quarters have been the team’s Achilles heels of late.

Green Bay Packers v Washington Redskins Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Prior to their bye week a month ago, the Green Bay Packers had been a fairly successful team in the fourth quarter of games. They posted absurd comeback victories against the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers — two teams on opposite ends of the standings at present — and although they blew a big lead to the Vikings in the fourth in week two, they also nearly made a furious comeback in Detroit as well.

But since the bye, that quarter has killed this team. Opponents have out-scored the Packers 30-13 in the final frame over the past four games, and the team has made a series of frustrating blunders, both in execution by the players and in decisions by the coaching staff, en route to a 1-3 record in that stretch.

Still, the Packers have managed to stay alive in the playoff hunt despite their 4-5-1 record on the season, and their playoff hopes remain very much alive heading into a critical game on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Win that game and the equation completely changes; lose it and it’s likely that any hope of the postseason is effectively gone.

How’s that for a fun sentiment on your Monday morning?

Kyler Fackrell’s career day ends in ‘bittersweet’ fashion | Packers.com
Fackrell says his breakout this season isn't due to anything specific, just his general all-around work ethic off the field. However, he lamented that his big game in Seattle wasn't part of a win, and he focused on a few plays that he did leave out on the field.

After 10 games, here are 5 things Packers must do to turn season around | Packersnews.com
Third downs are absolutely a critical area for the Packers to improve on, as the team has allowed 17 sacks on 107 passing plays on third downs.

More analytics say Packers’ decision to punt was wrong choice | Packers Wire
According to Pro Football Focus, the Packers improved their chance of winning by just one percent by punting away on fourth-and-two rather than turning the ball over on downs. But if they had gone for it and converted, they would have increased their odds of winning to 38%.

NFL teams we cannot figure out: Packers, Broncos, Lions, Titans | SI.com
Aaron Jones and Davante Adams are playing great football, and Aaron Rodgers has certainly had some terrific moments and is putting up mostly great numbers of late. It’s the team’s performance in the first half of the season and the fourth quarter of games that is the most concerning part to me.

Bears vs. Vikings: 7 winners, 2 losers from Chicago’s NFC North win - SBNation.com
Chicago's victory puts them three games up on the Packers in the division race with six games to go, a nearly-insurmountable lead at this point.

Ron Rivera on failed 2-point try: I was going for the win - NFL.com
Meanwhile, the Panthers tried a two-pointer in Detroit while down one point late in the game, and Cam Newton's pass was just a bit high and sailed incomplete.

Christopher Walken portrait returned to Edinburgh pub after being stolen in ‘heist’ - Edinburgh Evening News
"In this instance all is good as we got our beloved Christopher back," said the bar owner about this painting of Walken dressed up as a 19th-century general.