Green Bay Packers playoff aspirations in trouble


Green Bay Packers fans are hoping for plenty to cheer about in the coming weeks.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

If you watch any NFL Network or ESPN, you have seen the Green Bay Packers bandwagon get a whole lot lighter over the past two days.

Analysts are jumping off left and right in the wake of Aaron Rodgers‘ shoulder injury. At first glance, the small fracture looked like it would only keep Rodgers sidelined for about three weeks. That number has increased to 4-6 weeks. Packers fans are collectively holding their breath that this number stays put.

The good news is that it doesn’t look like Rodgers will need surgery to repair that left fractured collarbone. The bad news is, there is no real therapy that can be done to accelerate the healing process. It’s bone, and it has to heal slowly and naturally.

More bad news for the Packers is that this has now become a very important stretch of games … and without Rodgers, playoff chances are definitely in question.

With the loss to the Bears Monday night, the NFC North division just got a whole lot more complicated. The Lions, Packers and Bears are all sitting at the top of the division with a little less than half the season to be played. It is still possible that a wild card can come out of the North, but we need to make sure the Packers are still primed to be in position to claim one of those spots.

With the loss of Rodgers for multiple weeks, it just got a lot more difficult to do that.

The Bears and Lions each have an easier remaining slate of games than the Packers.

The Bears and Lions are clicking on all cylinders, as of late.

The Packers are still ravaged with injuries and it doesn’t look like we’re getting completely healthy any time soon. So, what do we do to keep our playoff hopes alive?

We have to count on Seneca Wallace to win at least half of the games he is required to start. Of the next three games, two are played at home. We play the Eagles at home this Sunday, travel to the Giants and then host the Minnesota Vikings. Once upon a time, these games seemed like sure wins.

Now … anything goes.

In order to keep our heads above water in the playoff race, we need the Lions and Bears to start tanking and the Packers to stay afloat. Realistically, we need Aaron Rodgers back by Thanksgiving Day when the Packers travel to Detroit. But that is only 3.5 weeks since his injury and it might not be enough time to heal. If Rodgers can’t go, the team needs to come into that game having won 2 of the last 3; no small task for Wallace.

Dec. 8 is a big game against the Dallas Cowboys. This will give Rodgers five weeks of healing time. This is a good target date to expect him back, and they will need him back … if Tony Romo’s shootout with Peyton Manning earlier in the season is any indication.

Atlanta is not the threat they were last year, but they are still a dangerous team. Week 17 against the Bears will be a big deal. If we can come into week 17 having won 4 of the past 6 – Rodgers should be healthy and able to guide the Packers past the Bears for a 2010-like finish.

Can the Packers sustain a slate of 4-6 games without Rodgers?

I really don’t know. But I do know that the run to the playoffs starts now.

Come on, Seneca … let’s see what you got.