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Packers clinch home-field advantage

Posted by Vic Ketchman, packers.com editor on December 25, 2011 – 10:30 pm

The Packers gave their fans a Christmas gift in the form of  home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, with a 35-21 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday night.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was the star of the game, throwing for five touchdowns before giving way to backup Matt Flynn in the fourth quarter. Rodgers has 45 touchdown passes this season and is five touchdown passes away from tying Tom Brady’s all-time single-season record of 50.

The win improved the Packers’ record to 14-1 with one regular-season game remaining, against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on New Year’s Day. The Packers will have a first-round playoff bye and then host a game in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs on either Jan. 14 or 15.

Chicago rushed for 199 yards and was led by running back Kahlil Bell’s 121 yards rushing. Quarterback Josh McCown was making his first start of the season and the Bears were successful in writing him out of the script until the Packers moved out to a 28-10 lead in the third quarter.

The Packers committed no turnovers and no penalties, and the Packers defense stiffened when the Bears moved into scoring territory, but 441 yards of offense by a Bears team that has been struggling to move the ball and score points since losing quarterback Jay Cutler, is a concern for a Packers defense that is ranked 31st in the league.

Jordy Nelson led the Packers with six catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns. James Jones also caught two touchdown passes; Jermichael Finley caught one.

Chicago dominated time of possession by more than 10 minutes, but the Packers made the big plays. It was a touchdown drive in the final two minutes of the first half that gave the Packers their first comfortable lead, 14-3 at halftime.

“Now we’re going to enjoy the rest of Christmas with our families,” Rodgers said after the game.

Stay tuned to packers.com as it updates its coverage of tonight’s game.

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