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Packers lose Aaron Rodgers, control of NFC North

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After losing quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a fractured collarbone in the first quarter, the Green Bay Packers fell to the Minnesota Vikings in a 23-10 one-sided affair. He's what we learned in the Week 6 NFC North showdown:

1. Sporting a fully healthy offensive line for the first time all season, the Packers' afternoon started with a tremendous sense of optimism. By the start of the fourth quarter, Rodgers' season was in jeopardy and the offensive line was missing both starting tackles as well as versatile guard Lane Taylor. Standing behind the depleted front line, backup quarterback Brett Hundley was pressured on over half of his dropbacks and failed to manufacture offense in the face of the Vikings' fearsome pass rush. A week ago, the Packers were riding high as NFC Super Bowl favorites coming off a thrilling come-from-behind victory at Dallas. Now they return home to lick their wounds in advance of a Week 7 clash with a white-hot Saints team before the Week 8 bye offers a welcomed respite.

2. The snakebit Packers will get little sympathy from a Vikings outfit lining up without starting quarterback Sam Bradford (knee), hotshot rookie tailback Dalvin Cook (torn ACL) and No. 1 receiver Stefon Diggs (groin). Whereas Hundley disappointed in his first shot at extended NFL action, Case Keenum has been a godsend in Minnesota. The trusty backup downshifted to game manager mode Sunday, protecting the ball and utilizing Jerick McKinnon (98 yards, two touchdowns) and Adam Thielen (nine catches, 97 yards) as chain movers. Although Teddy Bridgewater is headed for a key checkup and physical on Monday to gain clearance for a return to practice, it's foolish to assume he will immediately unseat Keenum for QB1 duties in Bradford's absence.

3. Rodgers' injury leaves the NFC North wide open for the remaining 10 games. Even with the bandaids to their offense, the Vikings have to be considered the new favorites due to a stingy defense led by Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith and the ferocious pass-rushing tandem of Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter. Smith had an extraordinary week, notching 1.5 sacks and a spectacular diving interception Sunday, six days after sealing the Monday night victory with an instinctual interception of Bears rookie Mitchell Trubisky.

4. Amid the rash of injuries, three Green Bay defenders are enjoying standout seasons. Rejuvenated veteran Clay Matthews returned a fumble to the Vikings' 22 yard-line, setting up the Packers' lone touchdown of the day. That fumble was caused by nose tackle Kenny Clark, who has consistently pushed interior offensive linemen back at the line of the scrimmage. Emerging as a top-tier run defender, second-year inside linebacker Blake Martinez also forced an interception with a pass deflection. Martinez, in particular, will merit Pro Bowl consideration if he plays at this level for the bulk of the season.

5. In a "half-way joking" manner, FOX broadcaster Troy Aikman suggested the Packers might attempt to coax Tony Romo out of the CBS booth to replace Rodgers. Colin Kaepernick's name was also bandied about throughout social media. Coach Mike McCarthy made it clear after the game, however, that the Packers will stay in-house at the position. "As far as the QB position, Brett Hundley is my quarterback," McCarthy told reporters. "Joe Callahan is the backup. That's the direction we're going."

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