The Green Bay Packers have activated All-Pro corner Jaire Alexander from the reserve/COVID-19 list, but he is not expected to play in their regular-season finale.

Alexander, who was named to the Pro Bowl and earned second-team All-Pro honours last season, has not played since the Packers' Week 4 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers when he suffered a shoulder injury.

He was activated from injured reserve last week but did not play as the Packers claimed the top seed in the NFC playoffs with a blowout win over the Minnesota Vikings and was on Monday placed on the COVID-19 list.

Despite coming off the list on Friday, head coach Matt LaFleur does not foresee Alexander playing in a meaningless game against the Detroit Lions.

"I would not anticipate Jaire playing. Just only having the one day [of practice] this week, I don't want to put him out there," LaFleur said.

However, quarterback and MVP favourite Aaron Rodgers will play at least some of the game at Ford Field ahead of the Packers' first-round bye.

Confirming Rodgers will start, LaFleur said: "I don't think he needs to play. I think he wants to play and keep the momentum going."

Aaron Rodgers hit back at an NFL MVP voter who said he would not cast his ballot for the Green Bay Packers quarterback, calling the reporter in question "a bum".

Rodgers has experienced a superb but controversial campaign, leading the Packers to the number one seed in the NFC but attracting significant criticism for appearing to mislead reporters regarding his vaccination status.

He tested positive for coronavirus and was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list in November for 10 days, as league rules dictate for unvaccinated players, forcing him to miss the Packers' Week 9 defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs. Rodgers had said back in August that he was "immunised".

Rodgers clarified that his immunisation comments referred to a homeopathic treatment he received. He applied for an exemption from the rules for unvaccinated players but saw his request rejected by the NFL and NFLPA.

The three-time MVP subsequently criticised the league's coronavirus protocols and has courted controversy with his comments regarding vaccines.

In an interview on Tuesday, MVP voter Hub Arkush told 670 The Score: "I don't think you can be the biggest jerk in the league and punish your team, and your organisation and your fanbase the way he did and be the Most Valuable Player.

"Has he been the most valuable on the field? Yeah, you could make that argument, but I don't think he is clearly that much more valuable than Jonathan Taylor or Cooper Kupp or maybe even Tom Brady. So from where I sit, the rest of it is why he's not gonna be my choice."

Responding in a media conference on Wednesday, Rodgers said of Arkush: "I think he's a bum. I think he's an absolute bum. He doesn't know me. I don't know who he is. No one knew who he was, probably, until yesterday's comments. And I listened to the comments.

"But to say he had his mind made up in the summertime, in the offseason that I had zero chance of winning MVP – in my opinion, that should exclude [him from] future votes.

"His problem isn't with me being a 'bad guy' or 'the biggest jerk in the league' – because he doesn't know me. He doesn't know anything about me. I've never met him. I've never had lunch with him. I've never had an interview with him.

"His problem is I'm not vaccinated. So if he wants to go on a crusade and collude and come up with an extra letter to put on the award just for this season and make it the 'Most Valuable Vaccinated Player,' then he should do that.

"But he's a bum. And I'm not going to waste any time worrying about that stuff. He has no idea who I am. He's never talked to me in his life. But it's unfortunate that those sentiments – it's surprising that he would even say that, to be honest. But I knew this was possible."

The Green Bay Packers have the number one seed in the NFC, and their MVP quarterback appears to be getting healthier.

Green Bay clinched the top seed in their conference with a 37-10 rout over the Kirk Cousins-less Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

Back in Week 11, the Packers lost a 34-31 shootout to the Vikings, with quarterback Rodgers revealing afterward that he was battling a severe toe injury.

He has continued to play through the problem and was once again in imperious form as the Packers ripped off their fifth straight win and improved to 14-3.

Rodgers completed 29 of his 38 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns in a performance that helped ensure the NFC playoffs will go through Lambeau Field.

And further encouragement that this could be Green Bay's year came in Rodgers' post-game comments about the health of his toe.

"This is a first game that my toe got through the game without any issues," Rodgers said. "No pre-game painkiller shot. I'm feeling good. I'm happy about it.

"There was definitely a time a few weeks ago when I started to project out and think if we can get the one seed, it could be two-plus weeks of rest.

"I'm going to play next week, and I expect Davante to play and our guys to play. So, we're looking forward to finishing off the season on a high note and then getting the bye."

Though they have nothing to play for, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur indicated he would play his starters for at least some of their regular-season finale at the Detroit Lions.

But, with the bye week secured, Rodgers will have the chance to rest his seemingly improving toe ahead of another push for the second Super Bowl title of his stunning career.

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.

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.

The Minnesota Vikings will be without quarterback Kirk Cousins for Sunday's crucial contest with the Green Bay Packers.

Cousins has tested positive for coronavirus and has been placed on the Vikings' reserve/COVID-19 list.

As Cousins is unvaccinated, he will have to isolate for 10 days in line with the NFL's protocols, meaning he could also be a doubt for the Week 18 clash with the Chicago Bears on January 9.

Minnesota (7-8) are second behind the Packers (12-3) in the NFC North and head into Week 17 as the eighth seed in the NFC, one spot off the playoffs.

However, backup QB Sean Mannion previously tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, meaning rookie Kellen Mond looks set to start against Green Bay, with Kyle Sloter the alternative.

Cousins has passed for 3,971 yards and 30 touchdowns this season and looked on course to at least match the respective totals from 2020 (4,265 and 35).

He ranks eighth out of the league's quarterbacks for passing yards this season and tied seventh for touchdowns, while only five players to have made 10 appearances or more have less interceptions than Cousins' seven.

The Vikings are looking to win three straight games against the Packers for the second time this century (also a three-game streak from 2008 to 2009), while a third consecutive victory in Green Bay for the first time since 1993 is also in the offing, though they lost to the Los Angeles Rams in their last outing.

Minnesota are the only team this season without a double-digit loss, and have an average margin of defeat of 4.4 points, the smallest in the NFL.

However, Green Bay have won their last two games by a combined total of three points.

The Packers are 5-1 this season in games decided by a field goal or less – those five wins are tied with the Tennessee Titans for the most in the NFL this season. 

Aaron Rodgers insists he will not drag out any decision on whether to remain at the Green Bay Packers for another season.

Rodgers' future with the Packers had been in significant doubt ahead of the current NFL season following reports he had told some within the organisation that he did not wish to return to Green Bay.

The subsequent staring contest between the two parties cast a shadow over the Packers' offseason.

However, Rodgers and the Packers finally found common ground, and the 38-year-old has enjoyed a fine season so far.

At 110.8, his passer rating is five points ahead of anyone else in the league among qualified passers.

He is tied for fourth in the league with 33 TD passes, despite missing one game, and his four total interceptions are the fewest.

He also surpassed Packers legend Brett Favre for passing touchdowns in the Christmas Day win against the Cleveland Browns.

Rodgers reached 445 career touchdown passes by the end of the 24-22 victory, beating Favre's haul of 442 for Green Bay.

It appears Rodgers has yet to make up his mind on what next season holds for him, but he said on Wednesday that any decision will be made swiftly.

"It won't be something where I'll drag it out for months and months," he told a media conference.

"I'm not going to hold the team back from anything. And once I commit – and if it's committing to move forward here – it will be a quick decision.

"This has been one of my favourite years of football. I think that I'm just enjoying this season for this season and I think playing next year will definitely be in the thought process.

"One of the things that obviously [I want is] to not be a bum on the way out and to still be able to play. That's important to me.

"If this year has taught me anything, it's that I still can play, I still have a love for the game, I'm still super competitive and still enjoy the process of the week."

Aaron Rodgers said he was grateful for being able to learn from Brett Favre after surpassing the Green Bay Packers legend for passing touchdowns in the Christmas Day win against the Cleveland Browns.

Rodgers reached 445 career touchdown passes by the end of the 24-22 victory, beating Favre's haul of 442 for Green Bay.

After the milestone was passed with an 11-yard-throw to Allen Lazard in the first quarter, a video message from Favre was played at Lambeau Field to a cheering home crowd.

"Hey 12, congratulations, man, on passing my touchdown record. I have one request: Go get us another Super Bowl. Congrats," Favre said in a pre-recorded message played on the jumbotron.

After sealing the win that takes the Packers to 12-3, sitting comfortably atop the NFC, Rodgers paid tribute to Favre's influence on his career, telling FOX Sports: "I'm very fortunate to have played with the guys I've played with, to be coached by the men I was coached by over the years. So much respect and gratitude for this game.

"Appreciate Brett with the shout-out. I got to sit behind a legend for three years, and see what greatness looked like first-hand. That's an experience that changed my life forever."

The 38-year-old expanded on how he felt after breaking the record in a post-game media conference, saying to reporters "After 443 went up on the scoreboard and the video played... the emotions just kind of hit me, and gratitude for such a long career and to be part of history like that for this franchise is something that I'm really proud of."

Rodgers sits in fifth place in all-time touchdown passes in NFL history, and third in passing touchdowns thrown with one team, behind only Tom Brady (New England Patriots) and Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints).

It was not the only record of the night as Rodgers combined for two touchdowns with Davante Adams, taking their partnership total to 67 TDs to overtake Rodgers' own partnership with Jordy Nelson, and the Green Bay quarterback claimed that the Packers number 17 was the best he has ever played with.

"He's such a fantastic player. I've played with some great ones over the years. Obviously Brett Favre, incredible player, all-time great, Charles Woodson the same, the way he could dominate on the field from a defensive back position was incredible.

"Jordy Nelson, him and I always had such a great connection, but when you start stacking up the numbers for Davante, it's mind-blowing.

"I really feel like he's the best player I've played with."

Aaron Rodgers made franchise history as he led the Green Bay Packers to a Christmas Day victory against the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field.

Rodgers overtook Packers legend Brett Favre for the most passing touchdowns in Green Bay history after finding Allen Lazard from 11 yards in the first quarter.

The 38-year-old threw for 202 yards and three touchdowns in the 24-22 win as the Packers extended their lead at the top of the NFC, moving to a 12-3 record.

Rodgers reached 445 career touchdown passes by the end of the game, beating Favre's haul of 442 for Green Bay.

Wide receiver Davante Adams made 10 catches for a total of 114 yards, scoring two TDs, the fourth time he has made 10 or more catches in a game this season.

Rodgers and Adams also became the Packers' most productive partnership in franchise history after combining for a TD for the 66th time, surpassing Rodgers and Jordy Nelson.

Baker Mayfield, meanwhile, struggled in his first game back since being activated from the Browns' COVID-19 list, being sacked five times and throwing four interceptions in Wisconsin.

Cleveland, now on a record of 7-8 for the season, gave themselves late hope with an Anthony Schwartz TD in the fourth quarter, but were unable to add further.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals lost a third game in a row after a 22-16 home loss against the Indianapolis Colts at State Farm Stadium.

Despite being sacked twice, Carson Wentz threw two TDs, one in the first quarter to T.Y. Hilton to give the Colts the lead, and then a 14-yard effort to Dezmon Patmon in the fourth to take the game away from the hosts.

Jonathan Taylor made over 100 rushing yards (108) for the Colts for the ninth time this season, and has now done so in six of his last seven outings.

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray saw plenty of the ball, making 43 throws in the game, but could only complete 27 of them, finding the endzone only once as he combined with Antoine Wesley as Arizona nudged ahead at the start of the second half.

Wentz and the Colts were able to wrestle control though, and move on to 9-6, while the Cardinals now sit at 10-5, dropping to fifth in the NFC.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has been activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list meaning he could play in Saturday's game against the Green Bay Packers.

The Browns QB has been on the COVID-19 list since December, missing Monday's 16-14 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Mayfield is eligible to play on Saturday due to the 10-day rule without clearing testing protocols.

The 26-year-old has completed 216 of 344 passes this season with a completion rate 62.8 percent for 2,603 yards and 13 touchdowns with seven interceptions.

Nick Mullens deputized in Mayfield's absence against the Raiders but only managed one touchdown pass in the loss.

The Browns are currently 7-7 and fourth in the wide-open AFC North, while the Packers have clinched the NFC North divisional title with a 10-3 record.

Aaron Rodgers says the Green Bay Packers need to savour the moment after clinching the NFC North division and a playoff berth with Sunday's 31-30 win over the Baltimore Ravens.

The Packers secured the NFC North title for the third straight season with the victory as Rodgers threw three touchdown passes to equal Brett Favre's franchise record.

The win improved the Packers' record to 11-3, well clear of the Minnesota Vikings (6-7) in the NFC North. Green Bay also remain in pole position for top seeding in the NFC ahead of the Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals who all have 10-4 records.

"You have to savour these a little bit," Rodgers said at the post-game news conference. "These are special.

"It's just the first step in our goals, but a lot of times the coach-speak - I'm not saying that [Packers head coach] Matt [LaFleur] did this - but a lot of times there might be coach-speak that takes over and says, 'Hey, you know this is just one goal and we have bigger goals and stuff,'.

"I think it's important to keep that perspective on how special accomplishing this is three years in a row and so just to enjoy it, to savour it, savour these moments. These are special moments."

Rodgers completed 23 of 31 attempts for 268 yards, with his third touchdown pass for Marquez Valdes-Scantling bringing him level with Favre with 442 career TD passes for the Packers.

The Packers QB will look to break the record when they host the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field on Christmas Day.

"[Tying the record] means a lot," Rodgers added. "It’s been a special run for me to follow up a legend. Hopefully, I can break that record at home on Christmas next week."

The divisional title is also LaFleur's third having taken over as Packers head coach in 2019.

"We're certainly happy about winning the North again," LaFleur said. "But also understand that there's three very tough games in front of us and we're going to have to continue to work every day to improve in order for us to get to where we want to go.

"We'll always celebrate victories. That was our first goal that we accomplished but I think this team has higher aspirations."

For the second time in three weeks, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh opted to try for a two-point conversion and the win in the final minute of regulation rather than kicking the extra point and hoping to prevail in overtime. 

Just as they had against the Pittsburgh Steelers a fortnight earlier, the Ravens failed to convert Sunday and fell in heart-breaking fashion, 31-30 to the Green Bay Packers. 

Green Bay led 31-17 before Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley, starting in place of the injured Lamar Jackson, ran for a pair of touchdowns in the final five minutes. 

After the second of those, with 45 seconds remaining, Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh opted to go for a two-point conversion that would have put the Ravens (8-6) on top, but Huntley could not connect on his pass attempt to Mark Andrews. 

Harbaugh had told Huntley before the first of those touchdown drives that he planned to go for the win in regulation again if the Ravens found themselves in a similar position to the one they were in against the Steelers, and the coach did not second-guess himself afterward. 

"We were just trying to get the win right there," Harbaugh told reporters. "I think our chances of winning right there were a little bit higher than in overtime, maybe, if you calculate it out. I felt good about it. I thought we had a good play. Again, they made a really good play."

Had the Ravens decided to kick the extra point and tie the game at 31-31, there were no guarantees they would even have made it to overtime, considering Aaron Rodgers would have had some time to work his magic before time ran out. 

That made it a slightly different call than the one Harbaugh made against the Steelers, when the Ravens scored with just 12 seconds to play in the game. 

Either way, Harbaugh said those two failures in quick succession – not to mention a failed two-point try earlier in the fourth quarter in a two-point loss to the Cleveland Browns last week – would not affect his process going forward. 

"It’s situation to situation," Harbaugh said. "To me, in both of those cases, that gave us the best chance to win. Because we didn’t win doesn’t make it not true. It’s still true now, just as true as it was then. So, it doesn’t always work out."

Harbaugh's players backed his decision, with Andrews saying the move fit Baltimore's persona. 

"I think people that second-guessed that are wrong," he said. "I think that was the right thing to do. We’re an aggressive team.”

Aaron Rodgers hit another career milestone as the Green Bay Packers held off a fourth-quarter charge by the Baltimore Ravens to clinch the NFC North with a 31-30 victory Sunday. 

Division champions for the third consecutive year, the Packers became the first NFL team to lock up a playoff berth. 

Green Bay led 31-17 before Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley, making his second career start, ran for a pair of touchdowns in the final five minutes. 

After the second of those, with 45 seconds remaining, Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh opted to go for a two-point conversion that would have put the Ravens (8-6) on top, but Huntley could not connect on his pass attempt to Mark Andrews. 

That last defensive stand allowed Rodgers and the Packers (11-3) to escape with a win that gave them the division crown as the veteran quarterback completed 23 of 31 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns.

The last of those, an 11-yard strike to Marquez Valdes-Scantling early in the fourth quarter, was the 442nd touchdown pass of the quarterback's career, tying him with Brett Favre for the most in Packers history. 

His opposite number Sunday, the 23-year-old Huntley, was starting with Ravens star Lamar Jackson sidelined by ankle injury. 

Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2020, Huntley had a brilliant game, rushing for 73 yards and two scores while completing 28 of 40 passes for 215 yards and two more scores. 

Andrews was his top target all day, catching 10 passes for 136 yards and both of those TDs, but the tight end could not get his hands on the critical conversion try at the end. 

 

Bengals edge Broncos after Bridgewater injury

Joe Burrow hit Tyler Boyd for a 56-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter that proved the difference as the Cincinnati Bengals picked up a key road win with a 15-10 defeat of the Denver Broncos. 

The lone Bengals TD of the afternoon came about five minutes after the Broncos (7-7) lost quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a head injury. 

Bridgewater collided with Bengals linebacker Joe Bachie in a scramble out of the backfield and both players went down. Bridgewater had to be carted off the field and was transported to a Denver hospital as a precaution. 

His replacement, Drew Lock, finished the drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Tim Patrick but Denver did not score again. 

Burrow completed 15 of 22 passes for 157 yards for the Bengals (8-6), who are tied with the Ravens atop the AFC North. 

 

Garoppolo, 49ers keep up winning ways

The San Francisco 49ers rolled to their fifth victory in six games, downing the Atlanta Falcons 31-13. 

Jimmy Garoppolo completed 18 of 23 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown and Jeff Wilson Jr. rushed for 110 yards and a score for San Francisco (8-6). 

The victory coupled with division leader Arizona's stunning loss in Detroit earlier Sunday kept the 49ers firmly in playoff contention as they sit third in the NFC West behind the Cardinals (10-4) and Los Angeles Rams (9-4). 

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur has no doubt Aaron Rodgers will be "ready to go" for Sunday's clash with the Baltimore Ravens.

Rodgers went through the week with any work in practice as the NFC North-leading Packers prepare to visit AFC North leaders the Ravens in Baltimore.

Reigning NFL MVP Rodgers has been dealing with a fractured left pinky toe, but the Packers are not concerned about his availability.

"He did not do anything today other than our walk-through prior to practice," LaFleur told reporters on Friday, with a win against the Ravens locking up the NFC North title.

"But as far as him playing in the game, we don't have any concerns. Certainly, yeah, you'd love to have him get those live reps just for the timing purposes.

"But again, is it what it is. We'll make the best of it, and there's no doubt in my mind he'll be ready to go."

Rodgers threw four touchdowns and no interceptions against the Chicago Bears last week – it was his 28th career game with at least four TD passes and zero interception, tied with Tom Brady for the most such games in NFL history (including playoffs).

The Packers dropped 45 points on the Bears at Lambeau Field, their highest scoring output since 2014 against the Philadelphia Eagles (53-20 win). The Packers are averaging 30.7 points per game at home but 20.6 points on the road, the third-largest differential in the NFL, according to Stats Perform.

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