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Vikings shut out Packers 16-0, keep eye on 1st-round bye

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Case Keenum stopped one last time before heading up the tunnel at Lambeau Field, clapping his hands above his head while Minnesota Vikings fans chanted “Skol! Skol!”

The Vikings’ defense felt right at home Saturday night in Titletown.

A 16-0 victory over the injury-depleted Green Bay Packers gave Minnesota its first shutout in nearly a quarter-century and kept the NFC North champions in the hunt for a first-round playoff bye.

Stefon Diggs caught a 4-yard pass from Case Keenum just inside the back line of the end zone in the first quarter for the only touchdown. The Vikings (12-3) have already clinched the NFC North and can secure a bye if Carolina loses or ties on Sunday against Tampa Bay.

“Defense played absolutely incredible today, and we did enough. It doesn’t matter how, it matters how many,” Keenum said.

The Vikings forced an incompletion into the end zone on fourth-and-4 from the 14 early in the fourth quarter to turn away the Packers’ last best effort to cross the goal line. Safety Harrison Smith ended another Green Bay drive with an interception at the Minnesota 5 late in the second quarter.

Minnesota left frigid Lambeau Field with its first shutout since a 13-0 win over Detroit on Dec. 5, 1993. It was the first shutout over the Packers (7-8) since Nov. 14, 1971.

The defense has “played pretty good all year long … Proof will be in the pudding here in a couple weeks,” said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, referring to the playoffs.

The Packers managed to hold a 239-236 edge in total yards. They were still shut out twice in a season for the first time since 2006.

“I never felt more defeated, more embarrassed by a performance. Yeah, we had opportunities, and we didn’t connect when we did,” receiver Randall Cobb said.

In its defense, the team fielded a lineup that often looked like one that coach Mike McCarthy would send out for a game late in the preseason. The Packers have already been eliminated from playoff contention.

Starting outside linebackers Clay Matthews (hamstring) and Nick Perry (ankle/shoulder) missed the game, along with cornerback Damarious Randall (hamstring).

Brett Hundley was 17 of 40 for 130 yards with two interceptions in taking over at quarterback again for Aaron Rodgers, who returned to injured reserve this week after missing seven games earlier in the year with a collarbone injury.

The Packers didn’t have leading receiver Davante Adams, who is in the concussion protocol, then lost wideout Jordy Nelson and tight end Richard Rodgers to shoulder injuries in the first half.

“Injuries are unfortunate. We had a lot of opportunities tonight. We didn’t make the plays,” coach Mike McCarthy said.

The hard turf at chilly Lambeau didn’t help either, with some players having trouble with footing early in the game. Unable to connect on medium-to-long range passes, the Packers’ best plays came when Hundley broke free for big gains on the run .

Not enough against the Vikings’ stingy defense.

FROZEN TUNDRA

Fans bundled up in parkas, huddled under blankets and sipped on free hot chocolate to stay warm. Purple-clad Minnesota backers celebrated in the stands on a night in which temperatures hovered in the single digits.

Diggs finished with five catches for 60 yards. Keenum was 14 of 25 for 139 yards.

“I’m not sure we played our best game tonight … We left some things out there offensively,” Zimmer said.

THE LAST TIME

The Packers were also shut out this season 23-0 by the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 19.

HOME DOESN’T HELP

Hundley finished the season having thrown no touchdowns and seven interceptions in six games at Lambeau, with the Packers going 2-4 in that span.

INJURY REPORT

Vikings: The team said that LG Nick Easton will have surgery after breaking his right ankle in the first quarter. … LS Kevin McDermott (shoulder) left late in the second quarter, with backup TE David Morgan taking over snapping duties.

Packers: RT Jason Spriggs was carted off the field with what appeared to be a left injury on the first play from scrimmage. Justin McCray, who was starting at right guard for Jahri Evans (knee), slid over to tackle with Lucas Patrick taking over at guard. … Besides Rodgers and Nelson, RB Aaron Jones (knee) also didn’t return after getting hurt in the first half.

“We battled … I hope everybody walks out of here with their heads held high,” Hundley said.

UP NEXT

Vikings: Finish regular season at home against the Chicago Bears on New Year’s Eve.

Packers: Wrap up year with a visit to the Detroit Lions, also on New Year’s Eve.

More AP NFL: https://pro32.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Packers stun Browns 27-21 in OT, set up Rodgers’ return

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CLEVELAND — Your turn, Aaron Rodgers.

The Green Bay Packers saved their season just in time for their star’s return.

Brett Hundley threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams in overtime as the Packers rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter for a 27-21 win on Sunday over the winless and luckless Cleveland Browns.

Hundley pulled out his third win – and second straight in OT – since replacing Rodgers, and now the Packers (7-6) will get back their quarterback after their season appeared doomed when he broke his collarbone in October.

“My No. 1 thought going into it was to keep our hopes alive to make the playoffs,” said Hundley, who had three touchdown passes. “At the end of the day, whatever happens, happens. Whenever I’m called upon, I’ll be ready. In the meantime, we’re still in this.”

Barely.

Road to Super Bowl LII: Stream, start time, highlights and more

On third-and-6 in overtime, Hundley threw a short pass to Adams , who spun out of Myles Garrett‘s arms and went in untouched with 5:05 left as the Packers set the stage for Rodgers’ return. He returned to practice this week, and as long as he’s cleared by Green Bay’s medical staff, Rodgers will be back on the field next Sunday when the Packers play Carolina.

“We kept the playoffs alive,” said safety Josh Jones, who intercepted rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer to set up the winning score. “We got the best quarterback in the league coming back, so we feel a lot better.”

It was another devastating loss for the Browns (0-13), who made several critical mistakes late in regulation before Kizer’s poor decision on his final throw.

Kizer was rolling to his left and tried to throw across his body to Rashard Higgins when his arm was hit by linebacker Clay Matthews. If not for the contact, Kizer felt the Browns would have won.

“I thought we had control of the game pretty much the majority of the game,” Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey said. “It’s definitely frustrating. Green Bay had the better team today. I don’t know why it keeps happening.”

Down 21-14 heading into the fourth period, the Packers, who beat Tampa Bay last week in overtime, rallied on Hundley’s 1-yard TD pass to Adams with 17 seconds left in regulation.

A 65-yard punt return by Trevor Davis set up Green Bay’s score, which came after Hundley was ruled down inside the 1 after an apparent 6-yard scoring run. Out of timeouts, coach Mike McCarthy elected not to risk a run and Hundley rifled his pass into the corner for Adams, who beat Jason McCourty on the play.

Hundley’s tight spiral was reminiscent of so many thrown by Rodgers, who stayed warm on the sideline inside a large green sideline jacket.

Hundley finished 35 of 46 with three touchdowns and made the big plays when he had to against the lowly Browns.

“He plays his best football when the game’s on the line,” McCarthy said of the young QB. “You can’t teach that. He’s a winner.”

Cleveland was in position to run out the clock before overtime but rookie tight end David Njoku dropped a key third-down pass. Cleveland’s punt team couldn’t bring down Davis, who weaved his way to the Browns 25.

Kizer threw three touchdown passes, one to Josh Gordon, and went 20 of 28 for 214 yards. But he’ll be haunted by the late pick.

“You can’t make that,” coach Hue Jackson said. “If it does not feel right, it probably is not right.”

Cleveland’s heartbreaking loss closed a turbulent week: The team fired Sashi Brown, its top front office executive, and owner Jimmy Haslam said Jackson will return next season.

Isaiah Crowell rushed for 121 yards on 19 carries. Gordon, playing his first home game since Dec. 14, 2014, had three catches for 69 yards and caught an 18-yard TD pass in the first quarter that he celebrated by putting on sunglasses.

GORDON SHINES

After missing some scoring opportunities last week in Los Angeles, Gordon was confident he and Kizer would connect against the Packers. They did just that on Cleveland’s first play, hooking up for 38 yards. Moments later, Kizer threaded a perfect pass over the middle to Gordon, who made a leaping catch in the end zone for his first TD since Dec. 15, 2013. When he returned to the sideline, Gordon pulled off his helmet and put on a pair of dark sunglasses, then strutted in celebration before hugging Jackson.

Gordon did not speak to reporters.

OPENING ACT

They had to fake a punt to keep their first offensive drive going, but the Packers scored their league-leading seventh touchdown on their opening possession.

HALFWAY HOME

Cleveland’s halftime lead was its second this season, and first on American soil. The Browns led the Vikings 13-12 at halftime of their Oct. 29 game in London before losing 33-16.

INJURIES

Packers: CB Davon House was carted off in the fourth quarter with a back injury. House’s feet got tangled and he fell hard to the turf. … TE Lance Kendricks returned after sustaining a jaw injury in the third quarter.

UP NEXT

Packers: At Carolina on Sunday

Browns: Host Baltimore in their final home game Sunday.

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Listen to Carrie Underwood’s new song, “Oh, Sunday Night” (VIDEO)

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Ready for Sunday Night? Carrie Underwood and friends are here to ensure you are.

Underwood, a seven-time Grammy winner, has a new song for Sunday Night Football, which returns for another season on Sept. 11 with the Patriots vs. the Cardinals. The song, “Oh, Sunday Night,” is set to “Somethin’ Bad,” a chart-topping duet from Underwood and Miranda Lambert which was released in 2014.

Among the 12 NFL players seen with Underwood during the open include: Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, Von Miller, Dez Bryant and Clay Matthews, among others.

Listen to the full song below. And remember, you can watch the song on NBC and NBCSports.com on Sept. 11.

The full release is below:

NEW NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL OPEN SONG – CARRIE UNDERWOOD’S “OH, SUNDAY NIGHT” – LISTEN NOW ON NBCSPORTS.COM

New Sunday Night Football Show Open Starring Carrie Underwood & 12 NFL Players Premieres on Sun., Sept. 11 Patriots-Cardinals SNF Opener

Super Bowl MVPs Von Miller & Eli Manning Take Part alongside Russell Wilson, Dez Bryant, Clay Matthews, Patrick Peterson, Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, Kam Chancellor, Tyrann Mathieu, Khalil Mack & Earl Thomas

STAMFORD, Conn. – August 29, 2016 – Seven-time Grammy Award-winner and multi-platinum recording artist Carrie Underwood’s new song “Oh, Sunday Night,” the new opening theme for primetime television’s No. 1 program, NBC’s Sunday Night Football, is now available to listen to in its entirety on NBCSports.com.

The open makes its television debut on Sunday, September 11, before the kickoff of New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Underwood is joined in the show open by 12 NFL players, who have accounted for 41 Pro Bowl selections, seven Super Bowl rings, and eight first-round draft picks. Following is the complete list of the players:

  • New York Giants WR Odell Beckham, Jr.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown
  • Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant
  • Seattle Seahawks S Kam Chancellor
  • Oakland Raiders LB Khalil Mack
  • New York Giants QB Eli Manning
  • Arizona Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu
  • Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews
  • Denver Broncos LB Von Miller
  • Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson
  • Seattle Seahawks S Earl Thomas
  • Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

“Oh, Sunday Night” is set to the music of “Somethin’ Bad,” a chart-topping duet from Underwood and Miranda Lambert which was released in 2014 and earned a Grammy nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance. Underwood worked with the songwriters of “Somethin’ Bad”– Chris DeStefano, Brett James, and Priscilla Renea – to rewrite the lyrics for Sunday Night Football. The result, “Oh, Sunday Night,” was produced by Mark Bright and Chris DeStefano.

SNF IS TV’S NO. 1 PRIMETIME PROGRAM FOR 5 YEARS RUNNING: For the historic fifth consecutive Sept.-May television season, NBC’s Sunday Night Football finished as television’s No. 1 primetime show in household rating (13.0) and viewership (22.5 million average), as well as the coveted Adult 18-49 demographic (8.0), based on live plus same day data from The Nielsen Company (September-May). Sunday Night Football is one of only four shows since 1950 to rank No. 1 in primetime for five consecutive TV seasons.

About Carrie Underwood:

Carrie Underwood emerged from the promise of her 2005 American Idol win to become a true multi-format, multi-media superstar, spanning achievements in music, television, and film.  A seven-time GRAMMY® Award winner, she has amassed over 100 major honors, sold 58 million records worldwide, and recorded 24 #1 singles, 13 of which she co-wrote, with a catalog of songs that have been streamed more than 1.9 billion times worldwide.  The first female artist to be twice named the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year, Underwood was recognized as Pollstar’s top female country touring artist for her headlining tours in 2008, 2010, and 2012.  Her first four studio albums, Some Hearts, Carnival Ride, Play On, and Blown Away – each certified multi-Platinum or Platinum, and each an American Music Awards winner as Country Album of the Year – tallied an incredible 38 weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart.  In 2013, Underwood starred as Maria von Trapp in NBC’s three-hour holiday blockbuster, the Emmy®-winning The Sound of Music Live!, whose airings attracted 44 million viewers.  In December of 2014, the Grand Ole Opry member released her first hits collection, Greatest Hits: Decade #1.Billboard’s best-selling hits album of 2015, the chart-topping package was certified Platinum in January of 2016, making Underwood the only country artist – and one of only six all-genre artists – to launch an album to Platinum success since the time of its release in December of 2014.  Celebrating her first 10 years of music, the collection’s 25 songs included two new #1 hits co-written by Underwood: the Platinum-certified, GRAMMY-winning “Something in the Water,” as well as the Gold-certified “Little Toy Guns.”  This year, she will begin her fourth season as the voice of primetime television’s #1 program, Sunday Night Football, and return for a ninth consecutive year as co-host of the CMA Awards. Underwood’s chart-topping, Gold-certified fifth studio album, Storyteller, has produced three #1 singles with “Smoke Break,” “Heartbeat” and “Church Bells.”

 

 

2016 NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

Thurs. Sept. 8 NFL Kickoff  Carolina Panthers at Denver Broncos
Sun. Sept. 11 Week 1   New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals
Sun. Sept. 18 Week 2   Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Sun. Sept. 25 Week 3   Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys
Sun. Oct. 2 Week 4 Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers
*Sun. Oct. 9 Week 5   New York Giants at Green Bay Packers
*Sun. Oct. 16 Week 6 Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
*Sun. Oct. 23 Week 7 Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
*Sun. Oct. 30 Week 8 Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
*Sun. Nov. 6 Week 9 Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders
*Sun. Nov. 13 Week 10 Seattle Seahawks at New England Patriots
*Sun. Nov. 20 Week 11  Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins
**Thurs. Nov. 24 Week 12 Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts
*Sun. Nov. 27 Week 12 New England Patriots at New York Jets
*Sun. Dec. 4 Week 13 Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks
*Sun. Dec. 11 Week 14 Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
*Sun. Dec. 18 Week 15 Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
Sun. Dec. 25 Week 16 Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
*Sun. Jan. 1 Week 17 TBD

*Flex Week

** Thanksgiving Night Game

–NBC Sports Group—