The Green Bay Packers' season was going about as well as everyone expected with Aaron Rodgers at the helm. They were 4-1 heading into their biggest challenge of the season, the Minnesota Vikings. That game they would lose, but their biggest loss was at quarterback. Rogers, while escaping the pocket to make a play, got rid of the football and then was taken down by Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr. The result of the jarring hit was a broken collarbone and Rogers was presumably out for the season to many. At that point, many presumed the season was over for the Packers, as Brett Hundley assumed the reigns. And after the first two starts he had, it definitely seemed like any playoff chances the Packers had were going to be gone. The Pack would lose two straight (three straight if you want to count the Packers' loss to the Vikings) and plenty were worried as to how this season would end up going. Instead of the Pack going down though, they began to fight and now they have won three games and lost two, including winning two straight games, albeit against the Browns and the Buccaneers. They have not played great, but they have hung around enough to at least set up a playoff run. And just when it's time for a playoff run, the Pack gets the best news they could get all season. Aaron Rodgers has been medically cleared and he will be suiting up for the Packers this Sunday at the Carolina Panthers. While that news is great, is it really the cure for the Packers to make a playoff run?
When it comes to the Packers offensively, they have not been the same without Rodgers. Sure, there have been plays made by Devante Adams and others, but the guy that has been missing in action has been Randall Cobb. The veteran wide receiver has had some moments, but he has not been as prevalent in the offense as he has been in the past. With the return of Rodgers, expect him to get more targets and chances, especially on quick, short passes and also gadgets plays. Along with his chances getting better to produce, expect the passing game as a hole to get better for the Pack. Hundley is a mobile quarterback and can make plays there, but he does not have the arm that Rodgers does. When on the run, Rodgers makes throws that not very many can even attempt to do. That kind of passing along with his mobility in the pocket will make the Pack even more dangerous heading into their last three games.
Rodgers' return is good news for the Packers, but there also has to be some concerns there. The one big concern is that he has to evade the rush yet again. Time after time, the Packers have failed to address the offensive line. Their thinking, or so it seems, is "Aaron will make it work even if we don't". That type of thinking may or may not have contributed to his injury the first time, but it really could contribute to an injury should it happen again in this three-game run. The Packers have to hope their offensive line has learned a few things blocking for Hundley because if they don't, then everyone in green and yellow could be holding their collective breaths with every hit Rodgers takes. Along with the Packers holding their breath about the next hit Rodgers takes, the Packers also have to look at their running game and hope that it produces. To win against teams like the Panthers and Vikings in two of their last three games, they cannot hope that Rodgers comes back and carries the entire offense. The combination of gadget plays from Cobb and the emergence of running back rookie Jamaal Williams have to work well in order to give some type of balance to the Green Bay offense.
Rodgers is coming back, but that truly is not enough for the Packers to win these last three games. The defense definitely has to step up and play well, but the offense is the headliner of this team and they have to lead the way. Rodgers needs help and his offensive line and running game need to step up and be that help. If they do, then could we see another magical run towards the playoffs for the Packers? Only time will tell. Let's see what happens when Rodgers steps on the field this Sunday.