GREEN BAY - With Aaron Rodgers back from a concussion, the Green Bay Packers stayed on track for the playoffs - and made sure the New York Giants' nightmare continued for another week.
Rodgers threw for 404 yards and four touchdowns as the Packers beat the struggling Giants, 45-17, at Lambeau Field yesterday.
The loss leaves the Giants (9-6) clinging to fading playoff hopes and wondering if there was a hangover effect from the previous week's collapse against the Eagles. New York's turnover issues continued yesterday, as the Giants lost two fumbles and Eli Manning threw four interceptions.
With the Giants' loss, the Eagles clinch the NFC East title.
John Kuhn ran for two touchdowns and caught a pass for a score for the Packers (9-6), who came into yesterday's game needing to win their final two games to make the playoffs. The Packers host division-rival Chicago in their final regular-season game next Sunday.
Rodgers sat out last Sunday's loss at New England with his second concussion of the season. Greg Jennings caught seven passes for 142 yards for Green Bay.
Manning threw for 301 yards with two touchdowns and the four interceptions, a week after the Giants allowed the Eagles to score 28 points in the final 7 1/2 minutes to win, 38-31, on DeSean Jackson's 65-yard punt return on the final play.
And as if yesterday's game wasn't frustrating enough for the Giants, they are expected to be stuck in Wisconsin for an extra night because of a heavy snowstorm on the East Coast.
It was a rematch of the Giants' overtime victory in the NFC title game in below-zero conditions at Lambeau nearly 3 years ago. Yesterday's conditions weren't nearly as challenging, with 25-degree temperatures and little wind at kickoff.
Rodgers certainly was hot, while the Giants had trouble holding on to the ball.
Already trailing 21-14, the Giants began the second half with yet another major mistake. On a third-down play in Packers territory, Charles Woodson stripped the ball from Ahmad Bradshaw and the Packers recovered at the 50. The Packers drove but had to settle for a field goal, taking a 24-14 lead.
The Giants answered with a drive for a field goal, but Rodgers was at his absolute best on the Packers' next possession. Taking over at the Green Bay 30, Rodgers threw for big gains on back-to-back plays - Donald Driver for 33 yards and Jennings for 36 - then threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Donald Lee two plays later to give the Packers a 31-17 lead with 4:44 left in the third quarter.
Hakeem Nicks appeared to fumble on the ensuing kickoff, but Giants coach Tom Coughlin challenged the play and New York kept the ball. Brandon Jacobs then broke free for a long run - but Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews punched the ball, it popped into the air and the Packers recovered.