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Packers have been in a tailspin since the London trip

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin — The Green Bay Packers finished first in the NFC North when they traveled to London last month as an 8 1/2 point favorite over the New York Giants.

Since then they have not been the same.

Green Bay gambled away a 14-point lead that day, losing 27-22 in a game that ended with Aaron Rodgers injuring his right thumb in a thwarted Hail Mary attempt. That started a seven-game streak that saw the Packers go 1-6 and put their playoff hopes in jeopardy.

The Packers (4-7) didn’t get a week off after the London trip of their own accord because they wanted the rest later in the season. Packers coach Matt LaFleur is now wondering if that was the right decision.

“Yes, absolutely, I’ve wrestled with that, and all you can do is move forward and learn from every experience, both good and bad,” LaFleur said Friday, a day after a 27- 17 loss to the Tennessee Titans. “It’s a tough lesson, I would say, given where we are. But it was the decision I made at the time that I felt was best for our team and it’s hard to say if that was the right decision.”

LaFleur has learned many hard lessons this year — in contrast to his first three regular seasons as Green Bay coach, all of which ended with 13 wins and the NFC North title.

Barring a historic collapse from Minnesota (8-1), the division is out of reach this year. A place in the wildcard playoffs is still possible. The Packers believe they can turn their season around, but they recognize they’re running out of time to do so.

“We have our backs to the wall,” wide receiver Randall Cobb said Thursday night. “You have to win games now. If you lose another one, you might as well say we’re probably out.”

That’s bad news for a team with three games left against the league leaders. The Packers visit Philadelphia (8-1) on November 27, play Miami (7-3) on Christmas Day and host Minnesota on New Year’s Day.

“Every team has the same goal for the season,” said LaFleur. “I think for some it’s more realistic than others and I think we were one of those teams that definitely believed in it. And I’m not saying it can’t happen, but we need to play a heck of a lot better and we need to coach a heck of a lot better and just take it game at a time.

“But I think you’re always fighting for something. Every one of these guys, myself, all the coaches, you guys are always fighting for your job. Always. Every time you go out there. And that’s just the reality of the league we live and work in. So that will always be the mindset. Whether you are in the running or not, to me you are always fighting for your job.”

WHAT WORKS

A running defense that struggled for much of the season limited two-time NFL rushing champion Derrick Henry to 87 yards on 28 carries. Henry’s longest rush was 9 yards, though he caught a short pass and turned it into a 42-yard gain. … Receiver Christian Watson scored twice Thursday and had five touchdowns in his last two games. … Green Bay got a spark from his punt return unit after releasing former returnee Amari Rodgers. Keisean Nixon had 37 yards on two returns.

WHAT NEEDS TO WORK

Pass defense was crazed all night as Ryan Tannehill went 22 of 27 for 333 yards. … The offensive couldn’t get anything on track. The Packers rushed for 45 yards in 20 games in the fourth quarter. … Four nights after they combined for 203 yards in a 31-28 overtime triumph against the Dallas Cowboys, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon combined for 53 yards on 18 carries.

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