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Packers clinch NFC North title with MNF win over Vikings

Aaron Jones dominated in Week 16 as the Packers beat the Vikings to clinch the NFC North. We break down the game and what it means.

Running back Aaron Jones of the Green Bay Packers rush for a touchdown in the third quarter against defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson of the Minnesota Vikings during the game at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 23, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones got off to a horrendous start Monday evening in a critical game against the Minnesota Vikings. He fumbled on the third snap of the game and the Vikings were in position to take a crucial early lead. The Packers defense clamped down and held the Vikings to a field goal, but Jones would turn things around in a big way.

Jones rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns, capping the game with a 56 yard score late in the fourth quarter. The Packers won 23-10 and clinched the NFC North division title. The Vikings drop to 10-5 with the loss and are settled in at the No. 6 seed regardless of Week 17.

This game was all about Jones and the Packers defense. Aaron Rodgers made some necessary plays, but it was a struggle for him much of the night. He finished the game 26 of 40 for 216 yards with one interception. Davante Adams was his big playmaker, finishing with 13 receptions for 116 yards.

Za’Darius Smith was the start of this game on defense. He secured 2.5 sacks of Kirk Cousins and finished with four tackles for a loss. Cousins found Stefon Diggs at one point for a touchdown, but otherwise struggled to get anything going as he dropped to 0-9 in Monday Night Football. Smith and the Packers defense never let the Vikings passing game get comfortable.

The Packers now have a shot at anything from the No. 1 to the No. 3 seed when they travel to face the Detroit Lions in Week 17. If they win or the Saints lose at the Carolina Panthers, they clinch a first round bye. If they win and the 49ers lose (or tie) to the Seahawks, the Packers get the No. 1 seed. If the Packers lose, they could drop to the No. 3 seed depending on what happens with the Saints against the Panthers.