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Cheese Curds, 12/9: Can Packers keep winning ugly games against NFC North rivals?

Green Bay did not look good, but beat a bad team on Sunday. They’ll need more than that in the final three regular season games.

Washington Redskins v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Last week, the story around the Green Bay Packers was that they let the New York Giants hang around too long before pulling away for an 18-point win. This week, the stories will be even more critical — and probably for good reason.

The Packers started pretty similarly at home on Sunday as they did in New Jersey last week, getting out to an early lead and letting a bad NFC East team keep it interesting. However, the difference in week 14 was that the Packers never pulled away from Washington, whose touchdown with just over a minute left in the game narrowed the final margin of victory to just five points.

But the Packers did win, which is more than some teams can say for themselves even against lesser competition (for example, the Saints’ loss to the lowly Falcons a few weeks ago). Now the Packers will face a different challenge in the final three weeks to earn the NFC’s second seed: beating each of the teams in the NFC North division.

It’s a task that will require a much better performance than the ones the Packers posted in these past two weeks, especially with the Bears improving and the Vikings remaining in contention.

Aaron Rodgers will take ‘winning ugly all the way to the Super Bowl’ |
Was it ugly on Sunday? You bet it was. But now with the Saints losing to the 49ers, the Packers sit in the two spot and if they can win out -- even if the games are ugly -- they would earn a first-round bye.

Flawed Packers team keeps finding a way to win |
Still, the Packers showed another performance in what has become a bit of a trend this season: a hot start, followed by a flawed and listless second half. The team must play much better next week against a Bears team that is suddenly heating up if they indeed want to win out.

RB Aaron Jones powers dysfunctional Packers offense | Packers Wire
Jones was a beast once again on Sunday, racking up almost 200 total yards on just 22 touches. Meanwhile, Jamaal Williams ran the ball just seven times and did not catch a pass. I'm just going to leave this link here.

Packers see signs of life from tight ends, punt returner in lackluster win - ESPN
The Packers used a lot of 12 and 13 personnel on Sunday, and Aaron Rodgers got Jimmy Graham pretty well involved in the offense. Meanwhile Robert Tonyan got on the board with his first touchdown of the year and new return man Tyler Ervin helped the Packers avoid making history this season.

NFL stats and records, Week 14: 49ers-Saints sets new mark -
Here are some of the crazy numbers and records set on a Sunday that saw a thrilling 48-46 win by the 49ers over the Saints, which sent the Packers into the #2 seed in the NFC.

Sheriff: Man Steals Car In Minneapolis, Ends Up Arrested In Frozen Swamp – CBS Minnesota
Just a normal day in December in the Twin Cities.