Packers can clinch a first-round bye with a victory over the Vikings
The Green Bay Packers would clinch a first-round playoff bye with a victory at Minnesota next Sunday. The Packers locked up the NFC's No. 3 playoff seed with a 55-7 thrashing of Tennessee Sunday at Lambeau Field.
Sunday night, the Packers moved a half-game ahead of San Francisco for the No. 2 seed after the 49ers got crushed at Seattle 42-13.
The Packers' victory was the ninth in their last 10 games. They improved to 11-4.
The only negative for Green Bay was the ankle injury suffered by receiver Randall Cobb while returning a punt in the third quarter. Coach Mike McCarthy could not say how serious the injury was, but he's hoping it's not bad.
Cobb caught one of Aaron Rodgers' three touchdown passes before he left. Rodgers had 342 passing yards and ran for 11 yards and a score before being relieved by Graham Harrell for much of the fourth quarter.
Green Bay racked up 50-plus points for only the second time since 1983. They were just two short of the team record of 57 set in 1945.
Cobb breaks yardage record
Cobb broke the Packers' all-time single season yardage record, with 2,342 receiving, rushing and return yards. Ahman Green had the previous mark of 2,250.
Ryan Grant ran for 80 yards and two touchdowns and Mason Crosby made both his field goal attempts of 48 and 26 yards.
The Packer defense sacked Titans' rookie quarterback Jake Locker seven times and forced two interceptions, while Green Bay had a clean game with no turnovers and just one 10-yard penalty.
The Packers blew the shutout late in the fourth quarter, when Locker threw a two-yard scoring strike to Kenny Britt with 1:39 left. Locker threw for 140 yards.
Chris Johnson had 11 carries for 28 yards, and Damian Williams caught three passes for 39 yards as the Titans dropped to 5-10.
James Jones had seven catches for 100 yards and a score for the Packers.
A.J. Hawk had two of the seven sacks on Locker. Green Bay had 460 total yards to Tennessee's 180. The Packers held the ball about nine minutes longer. They have won four straight.
Game time moved
Next Sunday's Packer game at Minnesota has been moved to the late afternoon slot, with a 3:25 kickoff. It was supposed to begin at noon, but the NFL and Fox decided Sunday night to show it to a larger national audience, because of its post-season implications.
A win by the Packers would give them the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs. Also, the Vikings remain in the hunt for a Wild Card spot at 9-6.
Cobb will continue to return punts and kickoffs
Packers coach Mike McCarthy says he will not take receiver Randall Cobb off the punt and kickoff return teams out of fear of what happened yesterday.
Cobb hurt an ankle while returning a punt in the third quarter of the Packers' home victory over Tennessee. In his regular Monday news conference, McCarthy had no new information on Cobb's injury. He said Cobb himself did not seem very concerned, and he's such a positive individual.
The coach said he understood the risk of having Cobb on both special teams and the Packers' offense. But McCarthy said, "I don't understand how you play scared ... You can't sit here and say special teams (are) important if you don't put a guy like Randall Cobb out for a return."
He said Cobb's returns often give the Packers great field position, and it's an even bigger factor in playoff games.
McCarthy said the coaches would hang around today. The players are off until Wednesday, except for optional weight training or treatments.
They start practicing Wednesday for next Sunday's regular season finale at Minnesota.
Also, cornerback Davon House is having tests Monday on a shoulder he injured Sunday. It's the same shoulder that kept bothered the second-year House earlier in the season.
No apologies for pounding
That 55-7 Packer pounding yesterday was no accident. Coach Mike McCarthy told his players on Saturday night that he wanted them to crush the Tennessee Titans in front of the Packers' home crowd.
McCarthy offered no apologies afterward, saying, "It is important for us to go out and dominate opponents late in the year ... We wanted to take the next step as a football team, and I felt we accomplished that."
Unlike a year ago, McCarthy says he wants the Packers building steam late in the regular season and into the playoffs. That means you'll see more starters play in Week 17 than a year ago when the Pack takes on the Vikings in Minneapolis next Sunday.
A Packer win would give them a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs. A Vikings' victory would guarantee Minnesota the final NFC Wild Card spot.
The Packer offense took advantage of numerous defensive lapses by the Titans, while the Green Bay defense went after quarterback Jake Locker mercilessly. The rookie was sacked seven times and pressured 12 others, as Tennessee racked up just 180 total yards to the Pack's 460.