Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers hit rock bottom after a 42-24 loss to the Washington Redskins on “Sunday Night Football” in Week 12.
Rodgers wasn’t playing his best football, and Green Bay’s playoff chances with a 4-6 record looked slim. The Packers basically had to win out to have a good chance at reaching the NFL playoffs, and thanks to Rodgers’ excellent play at quarterback, that’s exactly what they have done.
The Packers beat the rival Minnesota Vikings 38-25 on Saturday behind Rodgers’ 347 yards and four touchdowns against an elite defense. The victory sets up a winner-take-all Week 17 showdown for the NFC North title with the Detroit Lions. It also was Green Bay’s fifth straight victory, and Rodgers has been at the forefront of that success.
It’s launched him into the thick of the NFL MVP conversation as a result.
Rodgers has completed 141 of 202 passes for 1,718 yards with 14 touchdowns and zero interceptions over the last six games. The Packers have averaged 29.67 points per game during that stretch.
The veteran QB also has played well against quality defenses, including two wins against top-10 defensive units in the Seattle Seahawks and the Vikings.
Rodgers is one of two quarterbacks — Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons is the other — with more than 30 touchdown passes and less than 10 interceptions.
It’s also worth noting Rodgers has been forced to carry most of the offensive burden for the Packers while their running back depth has been a mess all season. Green Bay’s top two running backs, Eddie Lacy and James Starks, both have missed several games because of injuries, forcing RB/WR hybrid Ty Montgomery to be the feature back in recent weeks.
If the Packers get into the playoffs, especially if they beat the Lions and win the division, Rodgers will have an MVP case as strong as anybody’s. That includes New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.
The Packers would be looking forward to a top-five pick in the 2017 NFL Draft without Rodgers. He’s the only reason they have any sort of chance at playing in the postseason.
Thumbnail photo via Rick Wood /Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY NETWORK
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