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Packers Look More Dominant As They Enter Bye Week Unbeaten

Green Bay Packers' Aaron Jones (33) runs against Atlanta Falcons' Isaiah Oliver (26) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)

Green Bay Packers' Aaron Jones (33) runs against Atlanta Falcons' Isaiah Oliver (26) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)

Good health and good fortune helped the Green Bay Packers win the NFC North title and reach the conference championship game last season.

GREEN BAY, Wis.: Good health and good fortune helped the Green Bay Packers win the NFC North title and reach the conference championship game last season.

The Packers havent been as healthy so far this year. They havent needed to be as lucky.

Green Bay (4-0) heads into its bye week as one of the NFLs six remaining unbeaten teams after defeating the Atlanta Falcons 30-16 on Monday night. A team that relied on an uncanny knack for winning close games last year now is beating teams much more handily as it seeks to take the next step.

We still aint done, running back Jamaal Williams said Tuesday. Weve still got more goals that we want. We want to go to the Super Bowl, so (were) really just doing what we need to do to make sure we make the playoffs and make it from there, and make sure we go to the Super Bowl.

The Packers talked at the start of the season about how they felt as if they were flying under the radar as other teams garnered more attention.

Green Bays 14-4 final record last season included a 9-1 mark in games decided by eight points or fewer. Conventional wisdom suggested the Packers couldnt be that successful in close games for a second straight year.

The Packers have responded by applying more of a knockout punch this year. Green Bay came from behind in the second half to win 37-30 at New Orleans, but its other three victories have been decided by an average margin of 14.7 points.

The Packers are doing this at less than full strength.

Kenny Clark, the Packers top defensive lineman, has missed three straight games with a groin injury. Davante Adams, a three-time Pro Bowl receiver, has sat out the past two games with a hamstring injury. Linebacker Christian Kirksey (pectoral) and wide receiver Allen Lazard (core) went on injured reserve last week.

None of it has mattered so far.

Were off to a really strong start, cornerback Jaire Alexander said. We just have to continue it. Weve done a lot of close things. We also have things we need to work on. But its a promising start, and were just going to continue on this path of ascension.

WHATS WORKING

Green Bays offense has scored at least 30 points and hasnt committed any turnovers in each of its first four games this year. The only team with a longer streak of games with 30-plus points and no turnovers since the NFL started tracking turnovers in 1933 is the 2010 New England Patriots with seven, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

WHAT NEEDS WORK

Its quibbling, but the Packers could do a better job of forcing turnovers. The Packers have three takeaways all season and didnt have any against Atlanta. And missed tackles remain an issue.

STOCK UP

Aaron Rodgers has thrown 13 touchdown passes without an interception. The only other players to throw 13 touchdown passes without an interception through the first four games of a season were Peyton Manning in 2013 and Patrick Mahomes in 2018. Alexander helped prevent Atlantas Calvin Ridley from catching a single pass Monday. ZaDarius Smith had three sacks to improve his season total to five, matching Clevelands Myles Garrett for the NFL lead. Robert Tonyans three touchdown catches gave him five for the season, putting him in a tie for first place with Tampa Bays Mike Evans. Williams had eight catches for 95 yards to set career highs in both categories.

STOCK DOWN

Green Bays schedule doesnt look nearly as strong as it appeared before the season. The four teams the Packers have beaten Minnesota, Detroit, New Orleans and Atlanta have a combined record of 4-12.

INJURED

Rookie tight end Josiah Deguara was shaken up late in the game, and Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Tuesday the third-round picks injury looks to be a pretty bad one. Nickel back Chandon Sullivan left in the first half with a concussion. Cornerback Kevin King injured his quadriceps. Joining Adams, Clark, Lazard and Kirksey as inactive players for this game was outside linebacker Rashan Gary (ankle).

KEY NUMBER

152: The number of points the Packers have scored, their highest total for the first four games of a season since joining the NFL in 1921. The Packers are the first team in NFL history to score at least 150 points without committing a turnover through the first four games of a season.

NEXT STEPS

The Packers hope to spend the bye week getting healthy before visiting Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 18.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL


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