Pack still has faint pulse in NFC Central race


GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Brett Favre warmed up just in time.

Trailing late in the fourth quarter, Favre completed five passes
on a 79-yard touchdown drive to help the Green Bay Packers beat the
Minnesota Vikings 24-13 on Sunday and stay alive in the race for
the division title.

Favre completed 18 of 29 passes for 169 yards, struggling to
throw for much of a game that started in 19-degree cold, with a
wind chill of 5. He improved to 30-0 at home in temperatures of 34
or below.

"I knew the conditions would be tough," Favre said. "It was
difficult to throw, but they pay me a lot of money to handle these

Favre also threw a devastating block to clear the way for Donald
Driver on a 31-yard touchdown run that gave the Packers a 7-3 lead
in the second quarter.

Driver's 31 yards equaled those of running back Ahman Green, who
averaged just 1.9 yards on 16 carries.

Did the Packers prove today that they can win with defense too?
I don't think so -- I don't think the Packers played very well at all.

They were facing Spergon Wynn, the Vikings' third-team quarterback, and it looked like the Packers may have relaxed some. The D gave up some easy yards rushing. The Packers didn't come ready to play. They just played well enough to win.

The Packers will have to play much better than this (on defense and offense) if they want to get very far in the playoffs.

ESPN.com's Vinny Cerrato was director of player personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.


The Packers' victory prevented the Chicago Bears from wrapping
up the NFC Central title. The Packers (11-4) can still win the
division if they beat the New York Giants next week and the Bears
lose to Jacksonville.

Spergon Wynn, who had just one completion in the first half,
gave Minnesota a 13-10 lead in the fourth quarter on a 47-yard
scoring pass to tight end Byron Chamberlain on third-and-10.

"It kind of energized our team," Chamberlain said. "But
unfortunately they came back down and put it in the end zone.
That's what championship-caliber teams do. They answer a score with
a score."

Before that play, Wynn had just 16 yards passing. He finished
11-of-30 for 114 yards, with three interceptions.

Favre threw for 72 yards on the 79-yard drive, which was capped
by Green's 4-yard run to give Green Bay a 17-13 lead with 6:28

"I think they put together the best drive of the day," Vikings
coach Dennis Green said. "They hit some passes and made a lot of
plays and that's what Brett Favre does so extremely well. That was
probably our worst defensive series of the day. The guys played a
little too soft, weren't aggressive. But every pass Favre threw was
on the money."

Bill Schroeder had receptions of 12 and 14 yards and Antonio
Freeman caught passes of 7 and 19 yards. After a 3-yard run by
Green, tight end Bubba Franks pulled down a 20-yard pass inside the
5-yard line, setting up the touchdown.

Favre said the only thing he changed on the drive was his luck.

"The one to Free, I thought I was throwing the ball out of
bounds. It must have been a wonderful catch," Favre said. "The
one I threw to Bubba, they had a great pass rush. I was on my back
and didn't know he caught the ball."

Mike McKenzie sealed the victory when he stepped in front of
Cris Carter and returned an interception 38 yards for his first
career touchdown with 5:25 left.

Both offenses struggled in the cold on a clear day with winds of
15 mph.

Wynn's only completion in the first half was a 3-yarder to Randy
Moss just before the two-minute warning.

The Packers gained just 16 yards on their first four possessions
before putting together a seven-play, 70-yard touchdown drive aided
by three Minnesota penalties to take the 7-3 halftime lead.

Driver scored on a 31-yard reverse after Favre leveled safety
Orlando Thomas at the 25.

"That's the only way I know how to play," Favre said. "Give
it up for the team."

The Vikings (5-10) made seven lineup changes, including four on
defense, and they held Green to 31 yards rushing on 16 carries.

Michael Bennett ran 25 times for 104 yards for Minnesota, which
gained 199 yards on the ground.

"Let them do that all they want," Packers safety Bhawoh Jue
said. "Just keep Randy Moss out of the end zone. The more they
run, the fewer times Moss gets his hands on the ball."

The Vikings won the toss and started the game with 11 straight
hand-offs, something that apparently didn't sit well with Moss, who
said something on the sideline to Green, who brushed him off and
turned away.

Game notes
Moss and Carter combined for three catches for 21 yards.
... Green's long gain was 6 yards. ... Vikings CB Dale Carter left
in the first half after pulling a hamstring. Also, FB Jim
Kleinsasser (ankle) and wide receiver Chris Walsh (groin) got


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