In the final game of Week 16 of the 2019 NFL season, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Minnesota Vikings 23 - 10 and have clinched the NFC North at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Packers, Aaron Jones ran for a 56 yard touchdown in the 4th quarter to put the game away as he and Davante Adams were the two main weapons on offense. Aaron Rodgers played mediocre against a stingy Vikings defense as he went 26 - 40 for 216 yards and an interception. Vikings, Kirk Cousins struggled immensely as he got sacked 4 times and now holds a record of 0 - 9 on Monday Night Football. The Packers now sit as the 2nd seed in the NFC with a 12 - 3 record and the Vikings stay in 6th place with a 10 - 5 record.
The game began with Aaron Jones fumbling the ball on a 3rd & 5 that was recovered by Eric Kendricks who took it for 24 yards. Cousins and the rest of the Vikings offense were just 10 yards away from scoring a touchdown to take a quick 7 - 0 lead but the Packers defense stood strong as Alex Boone ran for a 5 yard gain and Cousins threw two incompletions. That led to a Dan Bailey field goal which made it 3 - 0 Vikings. As the Packers went back out, Rodgers would throw to receivers, Allen Lazard and Davante Adams which wasn’t enough as they had no choice but to punt. The Packers defense was playing as solid as a rock holding Cousins to minimal yards and Boone couldn’t get anything going on the ground. On the Packers next drive, an important catch by Lazard for 15 yards and then Adams for 11 yards set up a Mason Crosby field goal to tie the game up at 3. After a quick three-and-out by the Vikings, the Packers got the ball back and on the first play of the 2nd quarter Rodgers threw one of the worst interceptions of his career that went right into the hands of Anthony Harris.
It sure looked like Rodgers was checking out one day early before the holiday. Cousins would throw a 21 yard dime to Stefon Diggs for a touchdown for a 10-3 Vikings lead. The Packers would chew time off the clock with a drive of over six and a half minutes ending in a 33 yard field goal made by Crosby. On the Vikings next drive, Za'darius Smith would pick up his first sack of the game as he dumped Cousins for a 13 yard loss. On the Packers second play of the next drive, Adams fumbled the ball caused by Harrison Smith knocking the ball out of his hands and Kendricks recovered his second of the game. Unfortunately for Kendricks, he would suffer a quad injury that would sideline him for the rest of the game. After the fumble, the Vikings had a 4th & 2 at the Packers 42 yard line, many would think the Vikings would have Britton Colquitt punt to pin the Packers deep instead coach, Mike Zimmer had other plans in mind. Cousins pass intended for Adam Thielen fell incomplete, the defense bailed out the offense once more as the Packers only got a yard on their next drive. The Packers would get the ball for the last time before the half and they would go down the field and kick a 19 yard field goal by Crosby to make it 10 - 9 Vikings.
First drive of the second half began with the Vikings going three-and-out but that would not be the worst thing for them this quarter. On the next Vikings possession, Cousins threw an interception to Kevin King who returned it for 39 yards bringing the Packers close to midfield. The drive would end with a 12 yard touchdown by Jones to give the Packers their first lead in the game, also a successful 2 point conversion as Rodgers completed a pass to Geronimo Allison for a 17 - 10 lead. The next three drives ended in punts as this game became one of the most uneventful games this season between 2 playoff teams, however during the punt fest Kenny Clark got his only sack against Cousins. Midway through the 4th quarter, Jones with a burst of speed broke through several Vikings tacklers running down the sideline for an explosive 56 yard touchdown that clinched the Packers the NFC North title. It looked as if the Vikings were going to come back as Cousins threw a laser of a touchdown to Olabisi Johnson only to get it called back for a holding penalty on Riley Reiff. Smith would pick up two more sacks for the Packers as the Vikings could not convert on a 4th down with under two minutes to go as the Packers won 23 - 10.
As a Vikings fan, it does not appear their team and their quarterback could enter the postseason with much confidence. Cousins is 0 - 1 in playoff games as a Washington Redskin and his record is dismal in prime time games. With a strong Vikings defense and a healthy Dalvin Cook returning to the lineup, the Vikings have a good shot to get past the wild-card game. Since there's a good possibly they will remain as the 6th seed, they will have a tough time facing the New Orleans Saints defense, Marshon Lattimore, Janoris Jenkins and Cam Jordan. Cousins would have to throw more than 122 yards like he did in this game. As for the Packers, as long as they can outlast the Detroit Lions, they should be raring to go after their bye week to face their next opponent in the divisional round.