Green Bay Packers: Week 16 MVP and other Awards

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - DECEMBER 23: Running back Aaron Jones #33 of the Green Bay Packers rushes for a touchdown in the third quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 23, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - DECEMBER 23: Running back Aaron Jones #33 of the Green Bay Packers rushes for a touchdown in the third quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 23, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers clinched the NFC North Division with a win against the Minnesota Vikings, keyed by a few huge contributions worthy of awards.

Co-Offensive MVPs – Davante Adams and Aaron Jones

Davante Adams and Aaron Jones were both simply too good on Monday night to leave out of this award.  Adams was very busy, getting 16 targets and catching 13 of them for 116 yards. He was the go-to guy for Rodgers all night any time he was in a jam. Seeing Adams playing at a high level against the Bears and Vikings after some lackluster weeks is a great sign for this Green Bay Packers offense.

FEED AARON JONES! When Jones gets touches, this is a dynamic offense. Jones got 25 touches, 23 of those in the form of rushing attempts and did not waste them. He had 160 scrimmage yards and two rushing touchdowns, including a 56-yarder in the fourth quarter.

Both stars did have a fumble in the first half, but bounced back to both deliver huge games and lead this Green Bay Packers’ offense to victory.

Defensive MVP – Za’Darius Smith

Could it be anyone else? Za’Darius Smith said all he wanted for Christmas was a hat and a t-shirt and he earned that division champion apparel on Monday night. The 27-year-old defensive captain had 3.5 sacks and a total of five quarterback hits. He was making Kirk Cousins uncomfortable in the pocket all night long from every spot on the defensive line.

He also threw in five tackles for loss in the running game just for good measure. He was living in the Minnesota backfield the entire game and wreaked havoc as he has all year. Being under contract for the next three years, the Green Bay Packers defense is in good hands having found their leader.

Peaking at the right time award – Entire Defense

If the Green Bay Packers’ defense plays like this for the rest of the season, they will win the Super Bowl. Every single member of the defense was fantastic the whole game.

The run defense, anchored by Kenny Clark, was phenomenal, albeit with Vikings’ star running back Dalvin Cook out with an injury. Even so, 3.6 yards per carry is a great number for a defense that has struggled stopping the run this season. I’ve been open in my criticisms of Dean Lowry for his inability to stuff runs into his gap early in the season, but he has really come on well late in the season. This was also his second week in a row jumping up to not let a pass through the line.

Somehow, the Packers’ rushing defense was eclipsed by their defense of the passing game. Aside from Stefon Diggs touchdown reception where he beat Jaire Alexander off the line, there was nothing to complain about all night. Diggs only had two other catches and star receiver opposite him, Adam Thielen didn’t have a single catch on four targets. The only Viking other that Diggs with more than 2 receptions was Ameer Abdullah. The pass rush was fantastic, totaling five sacks and countless pressures. The secondary shut down everything to help out the pass rush and Kevin King had a big interception in the second half to completely flip the momentum of the game.

Blocking Receivers Award – Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Allen Lazard had some nice catches and showed up nicely in the box score, but Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s contributions not as much, with only one catch for six yards. However, what does not show up in the box score is their crucial blocks on each of Aaron Jones’ touchdowns.

Lazard did a great job letting the defender pick a side and taking him where he wanted to go to give Jones just enough of a hole to burst through for his first score. Then, Valdes-Scantling sprung Jones free for 56 yards and a score by sealing the corner inside, opening a lane between him and the sideline. Having wide receivers that are this willing and capable to block is bigger than most might think for the run game. This is what turns 5 and 6 yard runs into 56 yard runs.

Celebration of the Game: Honorable Mention – Mocking Celebrations

The heel click was a genius celebration cooked up by the Green Bay Packers’ celebration masterminds. Everyone got in on it. It was done after sacks, tackles for loss, and even by Aaron Jones after his first touchdown run. The Vikings defensive line does this move after sacks and the Packers love imitation.

The second mocking celebration was done brilliantly by Preston Smith. On his way to the locker room following the win, he shouted, “YOU LIKE THAT?” reminiscent of Kirk Cousins four years ago when he was with the Redskins. Both of these were great ideas and executed well, but they just weren’t good enough to beat the best celebration this week.

Celebration of the Game – D-TRAIN

The D-Train is alive and well for the Green Bay Packers. After the Kevin King interception the Packers defense gathered in the end zone for what has become a regular occurring team celebration moment. This time they had something special.

Seeing a defense that has struggled for so long succeeding together and having fun doing it under a great leader in Za’Darius Smith is a beautiful sight. These kinds of celebration show the new type of energy that Matt LaFleur and the offseason acquisitions have brought to the locker room. All aboard the D-train, and they just might be able to ride it all the way to Miami.

Next. Packers' Defense has been Dominant the Last Month. dark

Below I have my updated celebration rankings from this season:

1. Aaron Jones wave goodbye

2. Aaron Rodgers Belt

3. Za’Darius Smith Ray Lewis impression

4. D-Train dance

5. Za’Darius Smith We Love Eileen

6. Team Snow Angels

7. Za’Darius Smith Pennywise dance

8. Mason Crosby Lambeau Leap

9. Allen Lazard flag point

10. Za’Darius Smith Grave Digger

11. Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang Beer Drinking