Following the Lions’ loss in New Orleans on Sunday night, the Green Bay Packers are the NFC North Division champions for 2011. That result, combined with the Packers’ 38-35 win over the New York Giants earlier in the day, clinched the 2011 championship crown for the first time since 2007.
Should the Packers win home field advantage throughout the playoffs, they would need to only win twice at Lambeau Field in the postseason to return to the Super Bowl. Last season, the Packers won three times on the road in the postseason en route to the Super Bowl XLV title.
The Packers currently rank number one in the NFL in scoring at 34.7 points per game. Their 382 points this season are the most in franchise history through 11 games and the fourth most by an NFL team through 11 contests since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. The Packers have scored at least 24 points in every game this season, the only team in the NFL to accomplish that feat in 2011 and the first defending Super Bowl champion to do so. It is the franchise record for most consecutive 24-point games in a single season, topping the previous mark of eight games in 1963.
The Spotlight shines on Donald Driver again
That was the message the veteran receiver sent in Sunday’s game. Driver enjoyed a two-touchdown game for the first time in six years in helping the Packers to their 38-35 victory.
Driver came into Sunday’s game with just two touchdowns on the season and no more than four catches in any given game, but he doubled his touchdown total to match the four he had last season. “I just had fun today,” said Driver, who scored on short TD passes in the second and fourth quarters.
On his first score, Driver was left all alone in the end zone when it appeared New York’s coverage was focused on Nelson. The throw was a little low, but he made sure to secure the 13-yard catch by tumbling to the ground.
His second score was vintage Driver, as the 13-year veteran stayed alive in the back of the end zone as quarterback Aaron Rodgers scrambled to his right. Rodgers fired to the sideline and Driver made a picture-perfect tip-toe catch for a key score that gave the Packers a 35-27 lead.
As a result of the win in New York on Sunday, the Packers will enjoy their first “Victory Monday” of the season, which means Monday will be an off day for them and they won’t return to practice until Wednesday. The Packers will host the Raiders at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
“I hope we’re in position to talk about it,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said of the team’s quest for an undefeated season. McCarthy said his team’s next immediate goal is to secure home field advantage for the playoffs. The Packers currently have a two-game lead over the San Francisco 49ers in the home field advantage race.