Here we go again.
The Green Bay Packers were rolling until Aaron Rodgers left the team’s Week 6 game against the Minnesota Vikings with what turned out to be a collarbone injury. Rodgers was placed on injured reserve and replaced by backup Brett Hundley, who has since kept the Packers afloat in the NFC playoff picture. So with three games remaining, Rodgers went to his Instagram to announce his imminent return:
A Rodgers return in December was always a possibility. One could argue that, based on history, there was a high probability the two-time NFL MVP would get back in the lineup before the season ended – especially if Hundley could play admirably in his absence. This is a scenario that is far too familiar for Bears fans, who saw Rodgers return late in the 2013 season after a broken left collarbone, only to watch him shred Chicago’s defense and sneak into the playoffs.
Green Bay was 3-4 in games started by Hundley, who threw more touchdowns (7) than interceptions (5) and posted an 83.8 passer rating in his seven starts. He was certainly aided by free-agent-to-be Davante Adams, who has averaged 6 catches and 70 yards in seven games since Hundley entered the starting lineup. I can’t imagine how much better he’ll fare when Rodgers is the one orchestrating the Packers offense.
The path to a backdoor entrance into the playoffs won’t be easy for Green Bay, which will face the Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, and Detroit Lions to wrap up the season. All three teams are in playoff chases of their own, so it’s fair to say Rodgers and his teammates will have their work cut out for them as the season winds down.
We don’t know how effective Rodgers will be upon his return. After all, the collarbone injury he suffered against the Vikings was one to his throwing arm. But Rodgers’ mere presence in the lineup gives Green Bay a fighting chance.
Buckle up. The NFC playoff race just got that much more interesting.