Packers roundtable: Will Green Bay run the table again?

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 06: Aaron Rodgers
GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 06: Aaron Rodgers /

Will the Green Bay Packers run the table? The Lombardi Ave staff weigh in with their thoughts.

Aaron Rodgers once told us to relax. Then he said the Packers could run the table. Both times he was right.

This year Rodgers’ actions could speak louder than his words. All signs are pointing to a Week 15 return for the two-time MVP, so long as the Packers can get past the winless Browns this week.

After escaping Lambeau Field with an overtime victory over the Bucs last week, Brett Hundley might need to lead his team to one more victory before the Packers get their superstar passer back on the field.

The Packers have made the playoffs in a season Rodgers missed time with a broken collarbone before. Can history repeat itself?

Will the Packers run the table?

Ralph Mancini: The Packers playoff hopes hang by a thread, as they not only need to win their four remaining games, but also require other postseason contenders to falter down the stretch in order to stake their claim on a wild-card spot.

Looking at the teams left on the schedule, I have no doubt in claiming that Green Bay can win against every one of their opponents, except for the Vikings.

That’s the game every fan should have circled on their respective calendars. It’ll be a pre-Christmas Saturday-night rivalry showdown and you can rest assured that the Purple People Eaters will relish nothing more than leaving their familiar foes on the outside looking in.

Aaron Rodgers can use the Panthers game as a tune-up in preparing for the Dec. 23 game, but he’s not the primary concern. It’s the rest of the team that should have Packer backers worried.

An inspired effort by Rodgers and the offense may help the Packers dictate the tempo of the game, but I just haven’t seen enough from the defense to confidently predict that the home team will be able to finish off Minnesota two weeks from now.

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However, there is still time for Dom Capers to make some adjustments to tighten up the run defense.

If the Packers’ defense can drop the hammer on the woeful Browns and their painfully inept rookie quarterback, that will go a long way in changing my mind.

If they can then follow that up by forcing Cam Newton to turn over the ball a few times and beat Carolina in Charlotte, that would make me extremely hopeful and enthusiastic heading into Week 16.

But as things currently stand, I can see our boys hitting a road block in late December.

Brad Miller: Will the Packers run the table? That is a loaded question. We know that it is possible given the events of last year and the imminent return of Aaron Rodgers to the starting lineup. So it could happen. But I don’t think it will.

First off, when and how effective Rodgers is a big question mark. Let’s say he does come back next week. Should we expect him to be at 100 percent? Is that reasonable? We know that he has the heart and the determination to play and be effective but will his body let him perform at the level he or we expect?

To win outright means that Brett Hundley has got to win at least another game for the Packers. The way his play has been I would not count on him to do that. He’s been so erratic that it has been a mystery on which Hundley shows up this week or the next.

Will it be the one that fought admirably against a tough Steelers team in Pittsburgh or the one who completed 13 passes for 88 yards against the Bucs at home?

I don’t believe that Hundley can effectively take the next step in his starting quarterback role this year or maybe ever. I like the guy but he isn’t figuring it out with all of those tools on offense for him.

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Green Bay’s defense has been on the field a lot this year. I believe that their gas tank maybe be close to empty for the year. They, too, are dealing with injuries and young players having to fill big roles. Clay Matthews, Morgan Burnett, Nick Perry, Kevin King and Kenny Clark have all missed time this year.

This group has done an unbelievable job this year just keeping the Packers in games. I was down on Capers, like most people, but I have to give credit where it is due. He has got the defense ready to play at an effective level in every game.

The last three games of the season are not simple games. This week’s game has upset alert written all over as well. The Packers could lose all four remaining games. I don’t think that will happen but I also don’t assume that they will win all four games either. Three of the four will be away from Lambeau Field.

The Panthers are playing well again. We’ll have to see how bad Lions QB Matthew Stafford’s hand injury is to see if the Lions will be ready to fight for the playoffs. Who is playing better than the Vikings right now?

There are too many unknowns for the Packers to win out even. Unfortunately, there will be no room for error for the team. A 9-7 record will not be making the playoffs in the NFC this year. They will have to win out to keep their playoff streak alive.

Freddie Boston: I’m going to disagree with both Ralph and Brad. I just have a sneaky feeling this team is going to do what it does every year. How often do the Packers start the year fast, fall apart around midseason then turn it on just in time to make the playoffs?

We’ve survived the 2013 Rodgers broken collarbone year. Remember how awful the offense was in 2015? The Packers still turned it on when it counted most. Rewind to this time last year and Green Bay sat at 6-6 needing to run the table. Sound familiar? You know how that ended.

Once again the Packers have faced an injury crisis, a run of losses and a real possibility of not making the playoffs. Maybe this year is different. But maybe it isn’t. Get past Cleveland this week and the Packers could have Rodgers back for the final three games.

It’s a miracle they are even still in the playoff mix. Get him back and there’s no reason why they can’t run through three talented NFC teams and grab the sixth seed. Sure, it’ll likely lead to a heartbreaking defeat at some point in the playoffs, but that’s nothing we’re not used to anyway.

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Earlier this week I wrote an article listing three reasons why the Packers will make the playoffs. I’m all in. Buckle up and enjoy the ride. The Brett Hundley Experience comes to an end this week, and Rodgers’ return opens the door for “Run the Table 2.0”.