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Green Bay Packers beat Los Angeles Rams to move into NFC Championship game

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Aaron Rodgers is expected to be named the NFL's Most Valuable Player this season after MVPs in 2011 and 2014
Aaron Rodgers is expected to be named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player this season after MVPs in 2011 and 2014

The Green Bay Packers moved into the NFC Championship game for the second successive season as they beat the Los Angeles Rams 32-18.

Davante Adams scored his 19th touchdown of the season from Aaron Rodgers’ pass, before Rodgers ran in from a yard out.

Van Jefferson’s diving catch gave the Rams hope, but Aaron Jones bundled over for the Packers in the second half.

Cam Akers scored for the Rams before Rodgers connected with Allen Lazard for a 58-yard touchdown to seal the win.

The Packers will play either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the New Orleans Saints, who meet on Sunday (23:40 GMT).

Last season, the Packers lost 37-20 to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game and have not reached a Super Bowl since they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV 10 years ago.

Fans return to Lambeau Field

For the first time this season, there was a crowd of up to 9,000 fans at Lambeau Field, including 6,500 season ticket holders, while the rest were a mix of invited guests such as first responders, healthcare workers, members of the military and family of Packers staff.

“It was special and there’s nothing like it,” said Rodgers. “We have really missed that part of this experience so to run out of the tunnel with fans is unbelievable and it’s hard to explain how it feels to have the energy from them.

“It [the margin] could’ve been more and I’m so proud of our guys. Our defence came up with a couple of big stops and this feels really good.

“I was barely touched all night so we did a good job of shutting them down and that made my game easier.”

Lambeau Field
Lambeau Field will host the NFC Championship game on 24 January

The home fans nearly had an early touchdown to celebrate as the Packers piled on the pressure in their opening drive, but had to settle for Mason Crosby’s 24-yard field goal, before the Rams’ Matt Gay made it 3-3 with a 37-yard field goal.

But Packers quarterback Rodgers, expected to be named NFL’s Most Valuable Player for the third time in his career, connected with Adams for a one-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Rodgers then got a rushing touchdown himself as he faked to throw and managed to scramble in the corner to extend the Packers’ advantage. However, in the final minute of the first half, a nine-play Rams drive ended with Jefferson diving to catch Jared Goff’s four-yard pass.

There was still time for one last Packers score but passes to Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling were incomplete, before Crosby’s 39-yard field goal gave the Packers a 19-10 lead at half-time.

The Rams, who lost to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl three years ago, fell 25-10 behind shortly after the restart after a 60-yard sprint from Jones took the Packers into a great position and Jones then bundled his way over from close range.

Akers kept the Rams in it with a touchdown and then the two-point conversion attempt at the end of the third quarter.

However, Rodgers, who has now made 50 touchdown passes for the season, found Lazard, who sprinted home for a 58-yard touchdown to keep the Packers’ Super Bowl hopes alive.

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