Packers fans received some excellent news last night. In an Instagram post, quarterback Aaron Rodgers announced that he was medically cleared to play football again this season. After seven weeks of rehab and sitting on the sidelines, Rodgers is ready to go. However, the road is not easy for these Packers, even with Rodgers.
Green Bay faces three teams in the thick of playoff contention. Carolina, Minnesota, and Detroit will all present a challenge. The Panthers and Lions are dynamic enough to test the Packer defense, while the Vikings will be a challenge on both sides of the ball. But, as many know, Rodgers will be the ultimate equalizer.
The offense still has its main pieces together. Rookie running backs Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones are playing extended amounts of snaps, and excelling when they need to. Wide receiver Davante Adams is also playing his best football. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb haven’t been as prevalent, but Rodgers will elevate their play.
As far as the roster as a whole, though, the Packers aren’t in the greatest shape. The injury to Rodgers isn’t the only injury that has hurt them. They don’t have right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who tore his ACL earlier in the year, and they are also thin in the secondary. Neither Kevin King nor Davon House will be available down the stretch. However, House may return for the playoffs should the Packers get there. The injury bug puts another damper on the return, but there is something we aren’t considering.
Rodgers has run the table before.
Last season, when the Packers sat at 4-6, Rodgers said he believed they could “run the table”, and he and the Packers followed through and did just that. They even reached the NFC Championship game, a feat that seemed impossible midway through the season.
So why not this season? The injuries and tough finish certainly aren’t a great situation, but when a player of Rodgers’ caliber steps back in, the things that can be measured fly off the table and things you can’t measure matter. Rodgers elevates this team, statistically and emotionally.
While the job will be difficult, the return of Rodgers puts the entire NFC on notice.