Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Dec 2013

Aaron Rodgers to Return Sunday

Merry Christmas, Packers fans. The team announced today that Aaron Rodgers will return to the field for this week's de facto playoff game against Chicago. Replacing Matt Flynn with Rodgers changes the odds on this game to roughly 50-50, but not more than that. Remember, the Packers defense has been lousy all season and will be without Clay Matthews this weekend.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 26 Dec 2013

14 comments, Last at 21 Jan 2014, 10:00pm by cheap Kansas City Chiefs Jerseys


by tuluse :: Thu, 12/26/2013 - 4:54pm

There's a lot of interesting story lines for this game. Rodgers returning to try to lead the Packers to the playoffs. The NFL's oldest rivalry fighting for a playoff spot on week 17. Possibly Jay Cutler's last game as a Bear.

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 12/26/2013 - 5:37pm

Not to mention Rodgers was injured because of that last Bears game earlier this year.

by Steve in WI :: Thu, 12/26/2013 - 10:15pm

And yet, NBC thinks Kyle Orton vs. the Eagles is the more compelling matchup. (I can certainly understand the argument that consecutive weeks featuring the same teams on Sunday night are bad, if not for the fact that either way a team from last week's game would be featured).

I have mixed feelings about this game deciding the division, but I think I'm glad that no matter what, the Lions are out of it. If the Packers win, they're the better team.

Though I am a little bitter that when their star QB goes down and their backup QB is terrible, their former backup who is terrible everywhere but Green Bay is magically available and helps carry them through to a week 17 win-and-you're-in scenario. Wish I could have said the same for the Bears in 2011.

Also, if this turns out to be Cutler's last game as a Bear, then I want Phil Emery fired.

by tuluse :: Thu, 12/26/2013 - 11:33pm

I think NBC picked the matchup before they knew Romo was hurt.

It doesn't really bother me. Both games are pretty compelling.

by TomC :: Thu, 12/26/2013 - 7:26pm

I can't wait for the reverse trash-talking this game is going to inspire among Bears & Packers fans (at least in the FO universe). In fact, I'll start it off: in the game in Lambeau, the Bears run D was so bad that if Green Bay makes two or three plays in the passing game, they win. Seneca Wallace made approximately zero plays in the passing game, so they lost. I boldly predict that Rodgers will be a little better than that.

by tuluse :: Thu, 12/26/2013 - 8:14pm

Here's a fun stat. The Packers have the 30th worst rushing defense, approximately 5%. The Bears have the 32nd worst, over twice as bad* at 11.4%!

*I'm not actually sure DVOA can be compared this way.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Fri, 12/27/2013 - 7:24am

32nd worst? Are you saying they're the best?

by Cythammer (not verified) :: Thu, 12/26/2013 - 7:59pm

Eddie Lacy is also going to play. That's obviously not as important as Rodger's return, but considering how bad the Bears' run defense is, it's significant. I can't really see how this game is still a 50-50 proposition. If the Packers pull it out and the Eagles win as expected, the NFC playoffs are going to be absolutely stacked. I could see any of those teams winning the Super Bowl, although Green Bay would probably need a superhuman effort from Rodgers.

by Anonymess (not verified) :: Fri, 12/27/2013 - 12:48am

Would it really need to be superhuman? The Packers are 5-2 with Rodgers playing this season, with close losses to solid 49ers and Bengals squads. It's not hard to argue that the Pack with Rodgers is better than any NFC team west of Seattle.

by Hurt Bones :: Fri, 12/27/2013 - 8:09am

better than any NFC team west of Seattle.

Yes, but when but when the Bucs relocate to Honolulu you may have to eat those words.

by bucko (not verified) :: Sat, 12/28/2013 - 5:23am

The Packers defense and special teams have pretty much collapsed. Mathews re-injured his thumb and is likely gone for all remaining games. Johnny Jolly is out until next season and he was the only consistent run defender. Ryan Pickett has a bad ankle and can't anchor or move. BJ Raji has been horrible all year. Nick Perry has a bad foot and is easily blocked. The safety play is dreadful. The special teams coverage units are a train wreck.

I can imagine GB beating chicago on Sunday.

I cannot see GB beating more complete teams. Just far too many holes.

by justanothersteve :: Sat, 12/28/2013 - 6:22pm
by Flounder :: Sat, 12/28/2013 - 9:46pm

Cobb was put on the active roster, so presumably he's playing tomorrow. He's officially listed as questionable.

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