Somehow, someway, the Green Bay Packers still have a chance to make the playoffs.
Before last week, all the Packers needed to do was beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Bears and the NFC North was theirs. Unfortunately, the Packers lost to the Steelers in a tight game last Sunday. With that loss, they needed the Philadelphia Eagles to beat the Bears to force a winner-take-all Packers versus Bears game in week 17.
The scary news was that no matter how the Eagles did last Sunday night, they would play the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC East in the final week of the season. But even though the Eagles had nothing to play for, they still throttled the Bears and all Packers fans were able to breathe easy for one more week.
This season has been injury plagued for the Packers. For the last seven weeks, quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been sidelined with a broken collarbone, and he might or might not return for the season finale against the Bears. With Rodgers out, the Packers have had to play a game of musical chairs at the quarterback position. Seneca Wallace played most of the first Bears game, but injured his groin the following week against the Eagles. Wallace’s injury forced an unknown named Scott Tolzien to start the following two games, only to be replaced by Matt Flynn, who has started the last four games.
Quarterback is not the only position the Packers have been hurting at this year. Wide receiver Randall Cobb broke his leg against the Baltimore Ravens in week 6 and has not played since. Along with Cobb, James Jones also missed time due to an injury, which forced undrafted second year man Jarrett Boykin to step into the lineup.
Aside from Rodgers, the most devastating injury to the Packers had to be when Jermichael Finley suffered a neck injury against the Cleveland Browns in week 7. Finley might not be able to play football ever again, and he was a huge target for the Packers in the red zone.
Star outside linebacker Clay Matthews broke his thumb in the Packers’ first meeting against the Detroit Lions and was forced to miss four weeks. Matthews broke that same right thumb last week against the Steelers and might be forced to miss the rest of the season. Along with Matthews, cornerback Casey Hayward also missed time due to a lingering hamstring injury, an injury which put Hayward on injured reserve.
If someone would have told me that the Packers would have lost three of their biggest offensive weapons and two of their top defensive playmakers and still have a possibility of making the playoffs, I would have asked that person to take a mental test. But the Packers are in that exact spot. They travel to Chicago on Sunday with the division title on the line.
Somehow, even with all the setbacks, they still have a chance.
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