Bad news, NFC’s fringe playoff teams: Aaron Rodgers is back, and eight weeks of Brett Hundley at quarterback hasn’t quite knocked the Green Bay Packers out of the race for the postseason.
Rodgers broke his collarbone on a controversial hit from Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr in Week 6. Now he’s recovered and met the eight-week threshold required for players to return from the injured reserve.
Green Bay lost that tilt after Hundley checked in, then went 3-4 in Rodgers’ absence.
At 7-6, they still have a decent chance of reaching the playoffs. Here’s their likeliest path to the postseason.
First, they’d almost definitely need to win their remaining three games, which won’t be an easy feat: they’re visiting the Carolina Panthers in Week 15, hosting the Vikings a week after that, then travel to play the Detroit Lions. Carolina and Minnesota both sit in playoff position, and Detroit is two slots ahead of Green Bay in the standings.
(There’s a chance Green Bay could lose once and still squeak in, but that’d require the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to beat the Atlanta Falcons and the Arizona Cardinals to beat the Seattle Seahawks—take it from a one-time Jameis Winston fantasy owner: that’s not happening.)
Beyond winning out, Green Bay would need a little help: Seattle needs to lose at least once, playing the Los Angeles Rams in Week 15, the Dallas Cowboys (with a returned Ezekiel Elliott) a week later, and the Cardinals in the season finale; and the Packers would then need the New Orleans Saints to beat the Atlanta Falcons in Week 16, or a less likely Falcons loss to Tampa Bay the week prior.
Sounds pretty improbable, right? But Aaron Rodgers is back, and, thankfully for Green Bay fans, pulling off the unlikely is sorta his thing.