Entering December two games behind the NFC North-leading Detroit Lions may appear an unfamiliar situation for the Green Bay Packers. Except it isn’t.
Rewind three years. The Lions carved open the Packers on Turkey Day to move two precious games above their rivals with only four to play. Nursing a broken collarbone, Aaron Rodgers could only sit and watch as his team’s playoff hopes seemingly dissolved in Detroit.
Needing just two wins from four to secure the NFC North crown, the Lions crumbled, lost all four and opened the door for a returning Rodgers to steal the division title in a thrilling season finale at Chicago.
Circumstances are different this year. The Lions are a better team. But their name is far from etched on the division title. Rodgers’ response to a humiliating defeat at Washington, the Packers’ fourth on the bounce, was that the team can run the table. The Packers are since undefeated.
A lot of football remains before the attention shifts to January and the race to Houston. The chill of December brings out the best, or worst, in a football team.
The Packers’s clearest path to the playoffs is by winning the NFC North, but a wild-card berth is still in play. Here’s five reasons why they will climb the mountain and return to the postseason.