Packers Realize Advantages They Had

Surprising, the Green Bay Packers know they had a number of advantages Sunday and aren't about to let their win over the Vikings proclaim them the better team.

The Packers barely managed to win a game that they desperately had to have Sunday, 34-31 over the Minnesota Vikings. But the Packers weren't trying to attach any lasting significance to the victory because Randy Moss didn't play.

"We had home-field advantage and they didn't have Moss," fullback Nick Luchey said. "C'mon, it absolutely doesn't decide anything about who is the better team. The better team doesn't always win in the NFL.

"All this was was a win that we needed. We're tied for first in the division. Coming from where we were at and where Minnesota was at, that's just a blessing, really. We're grateful for it. But, man, it's only nine games. We still have seven games left."

The Packers, left for the dogs at 1-4 a month ago, once were looking up at the Vikings, who were 5-1. Today, they're both 5-4 with the Packers enjoying the tiebreaker edge.

When the teams meet again Dec. 24 at the Metrodome, the NFC North title might be at stake.

"We showed we're the better team today," linebacker Hannibal Navies said. "But we know we have a lot of games to play. It's far from over. We won a battle today, but we haven't won the war."


  • K Ryan Longwell won the game with a 33-yard field goal as time expired. Now he has a nickname. "Clutch Ryan," wide receiver Donald Driver said. "He'll make it anytime."

  • CB Al Harris covered Marcus Robinson wherever he went. The Vikings threw 10 balls to Robinson and completed two for 39 yards. "I think Al is playing as well as any corner we've had since I've been here," coach Mike Sherman said. "He's a talented guy. It's not just a try-hard guy who prepares hard. He's playing extremely confidently in our defense."

  • TE Ben Steele made the key play of the game by recovering Robert Ferguson's fumble on a kickoff return. That set up Ryan Longwell's winning field goal. "It was like an eternity under there," Steele said.

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