On Tuesday night, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers took to Instagram to announce that he has been medically cleared to return to action following an eight-week absence while he was recovering from a broken collarbone. Rodgers is eligible to return from injured reserve this week, just in time to take on the 9-4 Panthers if he’s able to suit up. It’s unclear whether Rodgers will return this week but even if he doesn’t, Rodgers return has just changed the landscape of the NFC playoff race.
The Packers currently sit a 7-6, on the outside looking in of the playoff picture. When Rodgers went down October 15 the season looked grim for the Packers. Brett Hundley came in and struggled in Rodgers absence but back to back overtime wins the last two weeks have put The Pack back in the hunt and if Rodgers is even at 50% the rest of the NFC needs to be on alert.
Rodgers and the Packers currently sit behind the Panthers, Falcons, Seahawks, and Lions in the Wild Card standings but with a game against the Panthers this week, the Lions this week and the division-leading Vikings in Week 17, The Pack have a real shot at making a run at a Wild Card spot barring a few other pesky tiebreakers.
If Rodgers is able to lead his team into the playoffs, the NFC is wide-open following the Carson Wentz injury and although the Vikings look like a powerhouse, Rodgers has had their number for the better part of his career.
The road will be difficult for The Pack but it’s not impossible and we’ve seen crazier things happen in the NFL. Remember back to 2010 when Rodgers took the Wild Card Packers on a Super Bowl run of the ages. He took down the Michael Vick led Eagles, the number one seed Falcons and went into Soldier Field in January and took out the rival Bears. Not to mention he tore apart arguably the number one defense in the league in the Steelers in the Super Bowl. If Rodgers is able to recreate the magic from 2010 the NFL won’t have an answer for the future Hall of Famer.