Packers pull away from Giants, will face Cowboys

Aaron Rodgers showed MVP form on Sunday, tossing four touchdown passes in a sublime performance to lead the Green Bay Packers to a 38-13 victory over the New York Giants in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Here’s what we learned:

1. New York’s star-studded defense dominated the first quarter and a half, smothering Rodgers’ receivers and sacking the quarterback four times while holding the Packers to negative yardage over the opening 18 minutes. Manufacturing a spark, Rodgers brought his offense to life just before halftime with a pair of brilliant throws to Davante Adams and a trademark Hail Mary touchdown to Randall Cobb, turning a 6-0 deficit into a 14-6 lead in less than three minutes. After Mike McCarthy’s fourth-down gamble backfired into a 41-yard Giants touchdown in the third quarter, Rodgers zipped three consecutive passes of 13, 20 and 30 yards for the answer. His third touchdown to Cobb sealed the game early in the fourth quarter, giving Green Bay a 31-13 lead. The hottest quarterback in football has 19 touchdowns without an interception over his last seven games, becoming the first to reach 30 points against the Giants this season.

2. The state of Rodgers’ receiving corps appeared bleak when go-to target Jordy Nelson was quickly ruled out for the game after taking the crown of Leon Hall‘s helmet to his ribcage in the second quarter. Cobb picked the right time to play hero, coming through with his best game in two years after missing the past two weeks with an ankle injury. Between Cobb, Adams (eight receptions, 125 yards and a touchdown) and secret weapon Jared Cook, Rodgers has enough firepower…