The Green Bay Packers, fresh off of a 26-20 overtime victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will travel to Cleveland to face the 0-12 Cleveland Browns this week. This game has taken on quite a lot more significance for Green Bay ever since the Packers have fallen off after the Rodgers injury. A win means they get Aaron Rodgers back with a chance to win the final three games and sneak into the playoffs. A loss means the Packers will virtually fall out of the playoff chase and most likely shut down Rodgers for the remainder of the year. Here are three week 14 Green Bay Packers keys to victory to ensure they keep their postseason hopes alive.
Week 14 Green Bay Packers Keys To Victory
1- Run to Daylight
The key for Green Bay to win games without Aaron Rodgers is to simply run the ball. With the emergence of rookie running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, the Packers need to do just that to win against Cleveland on Sunday. Last week against Tampa Bay, the Packers racked up 199 rush yards on 6.9 yards per carry, including a game-winning 20 yard rush by Jones on his only carry of the game to seal the win.
Duplicating that performance won’t be easy this week, however, as the 0-12 Browns have the NFL’s sixth ranked run defense, giving up only 96.9 yards/game. Still, if Green Bay looks to keep it’s playoff hopes alive, the run game is going to be key, even if Rodgers comes back. As the weather starts turning colder, it becomes more and more vital to have an effective running game. The Packers may just have that with their two new rookie sensations.
2- No Mistakes
The Browns are a woefully bad team that Green Bay should have no trouble beating without their star quarterback. However, if there’s one thing that could keep Cleveland in this game, it’s maximizing opportunity through turnovers. Green Bay, in order to win this game, has to be able to take care of the football. The Packers could be able to move the ball at will and score points, but none of it would matter if Brett Hundley comes out and throws three interceptions or the Packers fumble two to three times.
The Packers can’t afford to shoot themselves in the foot and expect to win any game, as evident by their 23-0 loss at home to the Baltimore Ravens a few weeks ago. So long as they play their game and protect the football well, there is no reason why Green Bay shouldn’t be able to cruise past Cleveland.
3- Don’t Overlook The Competition
Cleveland may be 0-12, but they shouldn’t be overlooked. The Browns boast a top 10 defense in total yards allowed and with the return of Josh Gordon, have a dangerous offensive playmaker. DeShone Kizer may not be having a great rookie campaign, but he can make plays if you give him the opportunity. Given how woeful Green Bay’s defense has looked at times this season, they certainly shouldn’t be overlooking Cleveland’s offense, even if it does rank only 24th in the NFL.
The Browns don’t often get blown out even for being a winless team, and this Packer game is seen as a great opportunity for them to notch their first victory of the year, something they’ve been desperately looking for all season long. The Packers must know that the Browns are still an NFL team and there will be no guarantees of victory until the game clock hits 0:00.
Overall, the Packers should be able to handle the Browns even with all of their own deficiencies. They are a far more talented team from top to bottom, even if the Browns play with a lot of heart. A win in Cleveland will most likely mean the return of Rodgers against the Carolina Panthers next week. Three wins against Carolina, the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions could very well indicate the Packers having their ticket punched to yet another postseason. First thing’s first though: Beat Cleveland.