Green Bay Packers get benefit of late-season bye week

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Twelve weeks in a row the Green Bay Packers have played. That’s tough.

In all honesty, they needed their bye week about two months ago. Losing players to injury has been a common theme throughout the year for the Packers, but they have overcome it to enter their late-season bye with an 9-3 record.

That’s good for a comfortable lead in the NFC North, while they remain just behind the Arizona Cardinals for first place in the conference. Don’t forget the Packers also hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cardinals should it come down to that.

The Packers have been without David Bakhtiari, Za’Darius Smith, and Jaire Alexander for almost the entire season. Bakhtiari hasn’t played at all, Smith featured in only the season opener, while Alexander got injured in Week 4. That’s three of the team’s most important players.

All three could be back before the end of the season.

Aaron Rodgers is playing through a toe injury — he’s barely practiced in recent weeks. Rashan Gary, Aaron Jones, and Allen Lazard just returned from injuries that has limited them at practice.

This team is dealing with a lot of injuries. That’s no different for any other team in the NFL. But if there’s one team in need of a week of rest, it’s the Packers. The longest break they’ve had since September was 10 days after playing a Thursday night game.

Seven of the team’s 12 games have also been played away from Lambeau Field. Three of their remaining five will be at home.

This is a much-needed bye for Matt LaFleur’s team. It gives them a chance to rest and injured players to get more recovery time. For LaFleur and his coaching staff, it’s an opportunity to reflect and work on areas the team needs to improve.

It’s been a long wait for the bye, but now it’s worth it. And if the Packers can win most of their remaining five games, they could earn another week off in January before a playoff run.

Five important games remain on the schedule. But before then, the 9-3 Packers get a well-earned bye week.