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Cheese Curds, 11/16: Packers’ week 12 date with Rams could decide NFC’s top seed

Two weeks from now, a pair of the conference’s elite teams will meet at Lambeau for a game that might decide home field.

NFL: JAN 16 NFC Divisional Playoff - Rams at Packers Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In January, the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams met at a chilly Lambeau Field in the NFC Divisional Playoffs. Home-field advantage was the Packers’ friend, as they wore down Sean McVay’s team en route to a 32-18 victory and a berth in the NFC Championship.

The Rams team that took the field then looks very different than the one playing now, however. For one, Matthew Stafford has played better in this offense than Jared Goff did a year ago (though Stafford had a particularly bad night in the Bay Area on Monday). Additionally, the Rams have a few key players healthy who were not in that game a year ago, including Aaron Donald (who played but was limited in the playoffs) and Cooper Kupp, who missed that last meeting entirely.

Although the Packers now hold the top spot in the NFC, they will need to beat the Rams in a rematch in two weeks to hold onto it. Thankfully, another offense in the Shanahan tree — the 49ers, under Kyle Shanahan — just gave them a clear blueprint for how to do so.

The Packers surely will not look past the Minnesota Vikings this coming Sunday, but for those of us outside the team, that Rams game on Thanksgiving weekend will be eagerly anticipated.

Packers get good news, bad news on injury front | Packers.com
While the news on Aaron Jones' knee and Rashan Gary's arm is encouraging, Whitney Mercilus' season will be over after tearing his left biceps muscle.

NFL Power Rankings Week 11 - 1-32 poll, plus we identify each team's most important remaining game | ESPN
The Packers are back atop the power rankings, and there's no question about their biggest game left: two weeks from now against the Los Angeles Rams.

Rams HC Sean McVay on upset loss to 49ers: 'This was a humbling night' | NFL.com
Those Rams got throttled by Kyle Shanahan's offense on Monday night, however, losing 31-10 to earn their third loss of the season. It helped ensure that the Packers will stay in the NFC's top spot, though McVay's team will have a bye next week ahead of their big matchup at Lambeau Field in week 12.

'We're making a statement': Packers' defense steps up again, handing Russell Wilson his first career shutout – The Athletic
This defense has depth, something we haven't been able to say about a Packers defense in a long time, as well as star power. That depth will be tested even more, particularly at outside linebacker. But is there a better safety duo in the NFL right now than Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage?

Packers activate QB Kurt Benkert, release QB Blake Bortles from practice squad | Packers Wire
Benkert is back, which returns Bortles back to the golf course.

Gang of destructive beavers moves upstream to terrorize unhappy neighbors | Bangor Daily News
Somebody must have really upset Dag and Norb for them to go on a rampage upriver like this.