NFL

Packers clinch NFC top seeding as Rodgers and Adams star

By Sports Desk January 02, 2022

The Green Bay Packers locked in the top seeding in the NFC after a 37-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on a chilly evening at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams spearheaded the Packers victory, connecting 11 times for 136 yards including one touchdown as Green Bay became the first team in NFL history to win 13 games in three consecutive seasons.

Adams brought up 118 yards in the first half which was his most yards in a half since 2019, as the Packers raced to a 20-3 half-time lead.

Rodgers threw 29 of 38 passes for 288 yards with two touchdowns, while running back AJ Dillon had 14 carries for 63 yards and two touchdowns.

The Vikings struggled without starting quarterback Kirk Cousins who entered COVID-19 protocols late in the week, managing only 70 total yards in the first half which was their fewest in a first half since 2019.

Back-up Vikings QB Sean Mannion, making only his third NFL start in his seventh season, threw his first career touchdown to KJ Osborn in a rare bright spot for the visitors. Mannion completed 22 of 36 passes for 189 yards with no interceptions.

The win means the Packers have secured a first-round bye in the postseason and home ground advantage from the divisional playoffs.

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    San Francisco 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk is currently in a contract battle with the team, and Fred Warner believes it is a "good issue to have".

    Aiyuk was in contract negotiations with the 49ers to extend his current deal but reportedly has not held talks with them since May.

    Unable to reach a deal, the 26-year-old instead asked for a trade.

    It is not the first time the 49ers have found themselves in lengthy contract disputes, going through the same process to resign Nick Bosa, Deebo Samuels and Warner himself.

    The linebacker was unfazed by the controversies though, instead choosing to focus on the positives.

    "When you're part of such a talented roster, I feel like this is something that goes on every season," Warner said via NBC Sports Bay Area.

    "It's a good issue to have because, obviously, that means that your players are performing at such a high level that you have to have these kinds of conversations."

    Aiyuk is under contract with San Francisco for 2024 in the option year of his rookie deal.

    He impressed last season on their run to Super Bowl LVIII, earning second-team All-Pro honours and ranking seventh in the NFL with a career-high 1,342 receiving yards.

    His average of 17.9 yards per catch ranked second in the league, while only the Miami Dolphins' Tyreek Hill bettered his 16 receptions of 25 or more yards.

    Overall, since being picked in the 2020 draft, Aiyuk has 269 receptions for 3,931 yards, with 25 touchdown catches in 62 games.

    As a key figure in the team, Aiyuk has been supported by his team-mates throughout the dispute, and Warner said he is ready to welcome him back when the saga is sorted.

    "It's a part of the business, and so we all just let them handle that. And when he's back, he's back. We'll welcome him with open arms."

  • 'Jackson will become greatest ever quarterback' - Harbaugh passionately defends Ravens' star man 'Jackson will become greatest ever quarterback' - Harbaugh passionately defends Ravens' star man

    Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh believes Lemar Jackson will become the "greatest quarterback ever to play in the history of the NFL".

    In February, at 27, Jackson became the youngest-ever two-time NFL MVP since the AFL merger.

    Since he joined in 2018, he has led the Ravens to their best records in the league, going 14-2 in 2019 and 13-4 last year. In the regular-season, Jackson has the second-best record at 58-19 (.753).

    However, he has been known to struggle in the postseason, losing four of his six playoff games, including the AFC Championship game against eventual Super Bowl winners Kansas City Chiefs last season.

    When asked about Jackson's failure to reach the showpiece game, Harbaugh passionately defended the quarterback, reiterating the team's faith in him.

    "There's a lot of great things said about Lamar, but there's a lot of stuff that's said that you just got to scratch your head about and kind of wonder, 'What's that person even thinking?'" Harbaugh said on Sunday. "But we take it personally.

    "All his life, Lamar Jackson has been a guy who's been answering those same questions.

    "I'm talking about since he was a kid. Junior high, high school, college, the draft. The success he's had in the [NFL], again, it still comes up.

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    "The vision that we have together is that Lamar Jackson is going to become and be known and be recognized as the greatest quarterback ever to play in the history of the National Football League.

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    England took control of the second Test against West Indies as the hosts established a 207-run lead at the close of play on Saturday's third day at Trent Bridge.

    The hosts ended the day on 248-3, aided by two century partnerships from Ollie Pope and Ben Duckett, and Joe Root and Harry Brook. Both Brook, on 71, and Root, on 37, will resume batting on Sunday.

    Despite Chris Woakes claiming the wickets of Alzarri Joseph (10) and Jayden Seales (duck) in successive balls, a final-wicket stand of 71 from Shamar Joseph (33) and Joshua da Silva, who was left unbeaten on 82, saw West Indies, who resumed at 351-5, reach 457.

    Scores: England 416 & 248-3 (Duckett 76, Brook 71*, Pope 51, A Joseph 2-58) lead West Indies 457 (Hodge 120, Da Silva 82*, Woakes 4-84) by 207 runs

    England's second innings, which they began 41 runs adrift, got off to a nervy start as opener Zak Crawley (three) was run out by Jayden Seales at the non-striker's end.

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    Still, Brook and Root also produced an important, unbroken 108-run partnership that placed Ben Stokes' side in command heading into day four.

    Data Debrief: Successive century partnerships for Duckett and Pope

    With a strong finish to their opening innings, the Windies reached 457 - their highest total on English soil since 1995.

    England's response was led by Duckett and Pope's impressive stand of 119, their second three-figure partnership of the series.

    They became only the ninth pair to make two century stands for England in a men's Test, and first since Joe Root and Alistair Cook achieved the feat against Pakistan eight years ago.

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