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Packers try to continue dominance vs. division foes

Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews (52) and offensive guard Adam Pankey (77) participate in drills during practice Wednesday at Clarke Hinkle Field. (Jim Matthews/Wisconsin via USA TODAY NETWORK)

Rob Reischel

The Sports Xchange

GREEN BAY — Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has dominated the NFC North division since arriving in Green Bay in 2006, going 51-17-1 in the division (.746).

McCarthy is 16-6-1 against Minnesota in that time, a .717 winning percentage. McCarthy is also 18-4 against Detroit (.818) and 17-7 against Chicago (.708).

McCarthy’s dominance against divisional foes is a huge reason Green Bay has won the NFC North five of the last six years and six times during his tenure. The one year Green Bay didn’t win the division (2015), the Vikings did.

“We play a lot of football against these guys. You play ‘em twice a year,” McCarthy said of Minnesota. “They do a heck of a job. So they’ll have things that are different for us come Sunday and that’s what we’re working towards.”

Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer, a defensive guru who still calls the Vikings’ plays, has given McCarthy and the Packers some trouble.

Zimmer was hired in 2014, and McCarthy won their first three head-to-head matchups. But Zimmer and the Vikings have won two of the last three times the teams have met.

Minnesota defeated Green Bay, 20-13, in the 2015 regular-season finale at Lambeau Field. That win gave the Vikings the divisional title and snapped the Packers’ four-year run as champions of the NFC North.

Minnesota then defeated the Packers, 17-14, in Week 2 of 2016. Green Bay answered with a 38-25 win in Week 16 last year, a victory that helped it recapture the divisional title.

“They run a number of different coverages and pressures from the same look, so there’s some guessing involved especially when you play on the road there,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodger said. “You just know that’s what happens when you go against a Mike Zimmer-coached defense. There’s going to be some looks you haven’t seen. There’s going to be some stuff that looks exactly like something they ran in previous games, but they’re going to run something different. That’s the genius of him and the innovation that he’s brought to the league with that style of defense.”