Rodgers-Adams connection has Packers 1 win from Super Bowl

Mon Jan 13 8:03pm ET
By KEITH JENKINS
AP Sports Writer

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur celebrates a touchdown with Aaron Rodgers during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)


Green Bay Packers' Davante Adams celebrates his touchdown catch during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)


Green Bay Packers' Davante Adams runs to the endzone for his touchdown catch during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)


Seattle Seahawks' Tyler Lockett catcxhes a pass in front of Green Bay Packers' Kevin King during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)


Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers celebrates as he walks off the field after an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 28-23 to advance to the NFC Championship. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)


Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers celebrates as he walks off the field after an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 28-23 to advance to the NFC Championship. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)


Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers celebrates as he walks off the field after an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 28-23 to advance to the NFC Championship. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)


Green Bay Packers' Za'Darius Smith smiles as he takes a selfie after an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 28-23 to advance to the NFC Championship. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)


Green Bay Packers' Preston Smith reacts after sacking Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)


GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Aaron Rodgers has spoken on several occasions about the chemistry he had with former longtime teammate Jordy Nelson.

Rodgers says he didn't have to tell Nelson where to be or where he was going to put the ball. Nelson just knew.

Rodgers has developed that same connection with two-time Pro Bowler Davante Adams.

The two connected eight times (all for first downs) Sunday in a 28-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC divisional playoffs. Adams set a franchise postseason record with 160 yards receiving.

“Just one of those special nights," Rodgers said after the victory. “Tonight reminds me of the connection that Jordy and I had for so many years where there were some unspoken things that we could do without even communicating anything about it."

WHAT'S WORKING

The Rodgers-to-Adams connection. Rodgers and Adams had their best collective performances since Week 4, where Adams had 10 catches for 180 yards against the Eagles before suffering a turf toe injury. Adams missed the next four weeks.

Rodgers and Adams talked throughout the week leading up to Sunday, and two of those conversations led directly to touchdowns.

“We put the world on our shoulders,” Adams said. “It’s something that we came into this game knowing that it was going to have to be a 12-and-17-type game, one of those ones that we’ve done in the past.”

One conversation between the two led to Rodgers suggesting to head coach and play-caller Matt LaFleur that Adams and Geronimo Allison run fake rub routes to create space. LaFleur listened and the result was a 20-yard touchdown for Adams on third-and-7 on the opening series of the game.

Rodgers and Adams had another conversation at halftime. That one led to Adams' second score of the night. With Green Bay facing man coverage in its three-tight end set, the two drew up a play where Adams ran a post-corner route. It worked. Adams beat Seattle's Tre Flowers, stopped and turned upfield for a 40-yard touchdown to put Green Bay up 28-10 with 7:09 left in the third quarter.

LaFleur listened to his star quarterback and receiver on both plays.

“If it makes sense, why wouldn't you do it?” LaFleur said on Monday.

WHAT'S NOT WORKING

The Packers had to burn a timeout after confusion raced up and down the sideline following only the third play from scrimmage on Sunday. The Green Bay offense had just 10 men on the field and Allen Lazard raced on late. The wasted timeout, which came with 13:35 on the clock in the first quarter, did not prove to be costly. But it was a communication issue, something that plagued the Packers early in the season and in their first matchup against the 49ers in Week 12.

STOCK UP

Tyler Ervin. Green Bay claimed Ervin off waivers from the Jaguars early last month, and the running back and return specialist has proven to be a nice versatile option for LaFleur's offense.

Ervin had an 18-yard run on Sunday and continued to prove to be a major upgrade on both the kickoff and punt return.

“You watch him and watch his progression and see how easy he's picking things up and how fast he's learning the offense and you start expanding that role,” LaFleur said of the fourth-year veteran. “He's a unique talent because he has some of that same versatility that Aaron Jones has. So we'll continue to try to mix him in within our offensive scheme as well.”

STOCK DOWN

Robert Tonyan. This is less about Tonyan and more about Jimmy Graham. The 10th-year veteran tight end had three big grabs for 49 yards on Sunday. All three were third-down conversions.

“Aaron reached out to me and told me he needed me,” Graham said. “So I just made sure I was ready, and made sure that I brought the juice and brought energy.”

The Packers often use formations with three tight ends, but it looks as if Rodgers is going to try to lean more on Graham and less on Tonyan as Green Bay looks to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

INJURED

Lazard tweaked the same ankle that has been giving him problems, and Bryan Bulaga sat out Sunday with what LaFleur called a “24-hour bug" and not the flu that struck several Green Bay players. Both are expected to be at full strength for the NFC championship game. Fullback Danny Vitale, who did not play Sunday, said Monday that he's feeling better after his bout with the flu.

KEY NUMBER

2 - Za’Darius Smith (two sacks) and Preston Smith (two sacks) became just the second duo in team history on Sunday to have at least two sacks in the same postseason game (Mike Neal and Nick Perry accomplished the feat against Washington in the playoffs after the 2015 regular season).

NEXT STEPS

Green Bay now prepares for a rematch against the 49ers in San Francisco, where they got thumped 37-8 on Nov. 24 and then bounced back to win six straight.

“I gotta go back and watch that tape again to really try to grasp what happened and why it happened and how can we adjust and what are we going to do to make sure it doesn't happen. That'll happen over the next couple days," LaFleur said.

Player Notes
Green Bay Packers Jan 17 5:20pm ET

The Green Bay Packers Defense faces a tough task this weekend in the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers. In their regular-season meeting, the Packers gave up 37 points and only dropped Jimmy Garoppolo only three times. They also failed to generate any turnovers. Green Bay's defense may need to lend their offense a helping hand by creating a turnover or two to swing the field position game. If Za-Darius and Preston Smith can ramp up the pressure, the Packers will have a good chance of generating a turnover or two and winning the game. It certainly won't be easy, considering how formidable the 49ers offense has been this season.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Graham Jan 17 3:50pm ET

Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham gets a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. Graham has back-to-back 49-year receiving performances, but those games came against teams that struggle to defend the tight end position. The 49ers are not one of those teams. They allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends all season and were the league's stingiest pass defense. Maybe Graham makes a play in the red zone. Still, he's a cheaper DFS play but by no means a comfortable one.

From RotoBaller

Geronimo Allison Jan 17 2:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison (illness) is trending in the right direction to play in the NFC Championship game this weekend against the San Francisco 49ers. Even if available, Allison isn't an option in any fantasy format. The 25-year-old hasn't caught more than four passes in a game this season. It sure doesn't seem like he'll eclipse that mark against the league's best defense with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

From RotoBaller

Allen Lazard Jan 17 2:30pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard (ankle) is currently questionable for the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers. There's certainly a risk for injury, considering he re-aggravated the ankle in last week's playoff game. Still, it's hard to ignore the two-game stretch Lazard had to end the season, where he saw 17 targets. That alone makes him worth a gamble, particularly in a must-win game for a Packers team in desperate need of another threat at receiver. Just beware, the matchup isn't ideal. The 49ers allowed only 172 passing yards to the Vikings last week.

From RotoBaller

Davante Adams Jan 17 1:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams gets a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game this weekend. Adams produced only 43 receiving yards and a score against San Francisco in the regular season but still had 12 targets. The star receiver has seen double-digit targets in nine of 13 games played this year. There's not many receivers that you can virtually pencil in for double-digit targets- but Adams is one of them. If fellow receivers Geronimo Allison (illness) and Allen Lazard (ankle) suit up, they may be limited. Adams could be looking at more work than usual, even in a matchup this difficult.

From RotoBaller

San Francisco 49ers Jan 17 1:30pm ET

The San Francisco 49ers Defense enter Championship weekend as the highest-priced fantasy defense. The Niners face the Green Bay Packers, who they demolished 37-8 in Week 12. In that previous contest, the Niners relentlessly harassed future Hall of Famer quarterback Aaron Rodgers, dropping him five times and forcing a fumble. The Packers were a meager one for 15 on third down conversions. The 49ers will need to follow that blueprint again in the critical NFC Championship to emerge victorious. With a higher-intensity contest expected, it could be difficult to splurge on a defense in fantasy compared to other addressable positions.

From RotoBaller

Deebo Samuel Jan 17 1:00pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders both offer solid fantasy value in the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. Both players were limited to under 45 yards apiece in last weekends Divisional Round blowout but were featured early on when the game was still in question. The rookie Samuel has emerged as a consistent dual threat in the latter half of 2019 and is likelier the safer floor. Sanders, the savvy vet has proven himself as a reliable chain-mover with big-play potential. Against the Packers 10th-best pass defense by DVOA, either option seem primed to pop in Sundays winner-take-all battle.

From RotoBaller

Jamaal Williams Jan 17 1:00pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams will face off with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game this weekend. Williams has been playing second fiddle to Aaron Jones quite a lot recently, as he hasn't seen double-digit carries since Week 13 against the Giants. It's worth noting that Williams played a large role in the regular-season game against the 49ers, which saw him rack up 18 touches. Green Bay very well could utilize Williams in spurts to keep San Francisco guessing, though his recent downtrend in usage makes him hard to trust.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Garoppolo Jan 17 12:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is a reasonable DFS bet for Sundays NFC Championship matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Priced as the third-best quarterback, Jimmy G squares off against a strong Packers defensive line that ranked 12th-best in adjusted sack rate during the regular season. Garoppolo was not pressed into service in the Divisional Round blowout win, but will likely be tasked with a tougher test on Sunday. While the Niners have mostly ridden its dominant running game throughout the year, Garoppolo has answered the bell in multiple occasions with three four-touchdown games. With dangerous weapons surrounding him, Garoppolo shouldnt be ruled out in the biggest game of his career to-date.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Jones Jan 17 12:30pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones will take on the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game this weekend. The 49ers Defense held Jones to just 38 rushing yards in their regular-season meeting. However, the star back has been playing some seriously good football in his last five games, with 501 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns. He's also had 20-plus carries in three straight contests. Expect Green Bay to utilize Jones early and often in screens and runs to combat the 49ers mighty pass rush. Even if Jones doesn't pile up over 100 yards, his propensity to find the end zone and role in the passing game make him a safer play this weekend.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Rodgers Jan 17 12:10pm ET

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will take on the San Francisco 49ers this weekend with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. The 49ers Defense held Rodgers to just 104 passing yards and one touchdown in their regular-season meeting. However, there are a couple things that are different ahead of this matchup. First, tackle Bryan Bulaga will play in this game after being injured in the first quarter against the 49ers previously. Rodgers should have better protection than he had when these teams met. Secondly, Rodgers himself is playing better football than he was during the regular season before this matchup. He has 566 passing yards and four touchdowns in his last two contests. There is also the added motivation of denying a Super Bowl berth to the team that could have drafted him. Play Rodgers on Sunday, despite the tough matchup.

From RotoBaller

Kendrick Bourne Jan 17 12:00pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne is worth a gamble for Sundays NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. Bourne scored the only receiving touchdown for the Niners in the Divisional Round, adding to his 2019 resume as a legitimate red-zone threat. The third-year pro has just 33 catches this year, including the playoffs, but collected six scores. Despite his risks as a zero-floor fantasy option, Bourne has emerged as a trustworthy target in clutch situations.

From RotoBaller

Raheem Mostert Jan 17 11:40am ET

San Francisco 49ers running backs Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert are both bankable DFS options in Sundays NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. The two backs combined for 163 rushing yards in the Divisional Round, with Coleman riding a hot hand to two touchdowns. Considered a backup for the latter half of the regular season, Coleman played 46 percent of snaps last Sunday compared to Mosterts 34 percent. While the touch forecast for either back is cloudy, the Niners draw one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. The Packers ranked 23rd in rushing DVOA during the regular season with the second-worst defensive line in the league, yielding 4.96 adjusted yards per carry. With a likely floor of 10 touches for each Coleman and Mostert, both runners have great opportunities to make a splash.

From RotoBaller

George Kittle Jan 17 11:30am ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (ankle) was a full participant in Thursdays practice and should be fine for Sundays NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. Kittle scared Niner Nation with soreness on the left ankle he chipped earlier this year, but confirms he feels fabulous. Kittle factored more as a blocker in last Sundays Divisional Round blowout but the Niners passed just 19 times. The All-Pro is an integral piece in all facets of the offense so is worth his premium TE1 price in DFS on Sunday.

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Danny Amendola Jan 17 1:13am ET

Detroit Lions WR Danny Amendola is set to become an unrestricted free agent, but he's a 'prime candidate' to be re-signed, in the opinion of The Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett.

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Antonio Callaway Jan 16 6:33pm ET

Free-agent WR Antonio Callaway (Browns) signed with the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL Thursday, Jan. 16.

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LeSean McCoy Jan 16 5:43pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy (illness) remained out of practice Thursday, Jan. 16.

Fantasy Spin: McCoy played just one offensive snap in last week's Divisional Round game against the Houston Texans. He's clearly behind RB Damien Williams and is no longer worth starting.

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Morris Claiborne Jan 16 5:43pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Moore (illness) and DT Chris Jones (calf) didn't participate in practice Thursday, Jan. 16. DT Khalen Saunders (knee), CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder), CB Kendall Fuller (knee), DE Tanoh Kpassagnon (neck), C Austin Reiter (wrist) and G Andrew Wylie (ankle) practiced in full.

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Marcedes Lewis Jan 16 5:33pm ET

Green Bay Packers DL Kenny Clark (back), TE Marcedes Lewis (non-injury), LB Preston Smith (ankle), FB Danny Vitale (knee) and CB Tramon Williams (non-injury) were limited participants in practice Thursday, Jan. 16. S Adrian Amos (chest), OT Bryan Bulaga (non-injury), WR Ryan Grant (non-injury), LB Blake Martinez (hand) and OL Billy Turner (ankle) practiced in full.

From TheHuddle

Travis Kelce Jan 16 5:33pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (knee) remained limited at practice Thursday, Jan. 16.

Fantasy Spin: Kelce earned a light practice week while catching 10 of 12 targets for 134 yards and three touchdowns against the Houston Texans in the Divisional Round. He's the week's top tight end option once against this week so long as he takes the field.

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