Aaron Rodgers, Packers have ‘lots nonetheless to play for’ — together with playoffs?

Heading into Monday night time, FiveThirtyEight had the Inexperienced Bay Packers’ playoff possibilities at 6%. The Packers’ odds would have plummeted to 0.6% had they misplaced to the lowly Los Angeles Rams at frigid Lambeau Discipline. After successful 24-12, the likelihood shot as much as … 8%.

So, we’re telling you there’s an opportunity.

“A lot still to play for,” Aaron Rodgers stated after the win. “We’re a game and a half out of the playoffs. There will be a lot of excitement in the locker room. A lot of good energy this week, short week, but tough opponent in Miami who has a lot to play for, as well.”

The 39-year-old quarterback has stated he desires to proceed enjoying out this season, by means of damage if obligatory, so long as Inexperienced Bay is mathematically alive for the playoffs. He reiterated that time even on the tail finish of a skid wherein the Packers misplaced seven of eight video games halfway by means of the season. They’ve now received back-to-back video games for the primary time because the opening week of October.

“It’s fun to win games you’re supposed to win in December,” Rodgers stated.

With the Rams out of the best way, it doesn’t get simpler for Inexperienced Bay. All three of its remaining opponents (Miami, Minnesota and Detroit) are presently .500 or higher. And even when the Packers win all three video games, they don’t management their very own future. Their possibilities would solely be at 64%. They’d nonetheless want a whole lot of assist.

The assistance Inexperienced Bay wants is not unrealistic, nonetheless. There are myriad eventualities, even extremely inconceivable ones that contain Inexperienced Bay dropping once more. Probably the most lifelike one (with the Packers successful out, after all) is that this: 

  • The Commanders lose any two of their three remaining video games (at San Francisco, vs. Cleveland and Dallas). These two circumstances alone increase the Packers’ possibilities to about 90%.
  • The Lions lose one in every of their subsequent two video games (at Carolina, vs. Chicago).
  • The Panthers lose one in every of their closing three video games (at Kansas Metropolis, vs. Jets, Rams).

This is able to clinch a playoff berth for the Packers.

“Before the Bears week, we knew we had a bye afterwards and those of us who sometimes peek ahead knew that we had to win five and then have a lot of things go our way,” Rodgers stated. “We’ve won two, and just about everything we needed to have happen has gone our way. Just about, right?

“So … issues are trying up.”

Whereas encouraging, that’s nonetheless very a lot not a assure à la Rodgers’ “R-E-L-A-X” moment, especially with how the Packers are playing. Their defense seemed to take a step forward Monday night, registering five sacks on Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield, while making his life difficult overall in the bone-chilling 17-degree weather. Mayfield finished 12-of-21 for just 111 yards and a touchdown and interception. His passer rating was 67.8, and Los Angeles converted just four of 11 third downs.

Green Bay held the Rams to 72 yards on the ground and its leading receiver — running back Cam Akers — to three receptions for 35 yards.

The problem is, that type of excellence is going to have to be the norm for the Packers moving forward — and they don’t get to face the Rams’ offensive line again. It was an encouraging performance, but like Rodgers said afterward, they were supposed to win this one. It was expected.

Offensively, the Packers remained inconsistent but seemed to get into a groove by the end of the night. Rookie Romeo Doubs, who returned from a four-game absence because of injury, caught all five of his targets yet amassed just 55 yards. That led the Packers. Fellow rookie Christian Watson hauled in four of six targets for 46 yards and had only one target in the first half. He’d caught seven touchdowns in the previous four games. 

The Rams assigned Jalen Ramsey to Watson for much of the night, but the Packers surely wanted to get him the football more. Rodgers divulged after the game that Watson did a few things he wasn’t supposed to, resulting in a couple of those incompletions and perhaps lack of targets.

What Green Bay must figure out is how to make all of its offensive pieces work in tangent, rather than the piecemeal operation we’ve seen thus far. The Packers still don’t have an identity on offense. With the way Watson has come on and Doubs has contributed alongside veterans Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, the Packers have enough talent. But if they have any real hope of reaching the postseason, much less making a deep run, they’re going to need consistency out of those guys.

“Sure, I feel so,” Rodgers said, when asked if those four receivers are enough to keep this offense humming in January. “I actually do. As a result of they only have such completely different ability units. Christian clearly has unbelievable velocity. Romeo is an actual quick-twitch man. Cobby has the savvy to work within the slot and Allen [Lazard] does every little thing effectively. He’s a superb route runner, catching the ball in his arms, he’s an ideal blocker. So yeah, I feel that’s a very good set of men.”

Even Packers superfan Lil Wayne chimed in Monday and is behind this year’s team again, despite not being completely sold on the roster.

“I’m at all times believing. I’m going to at all times imagine, you ain’t gotta fear about that,” Wayne said on the Manningcast. “I positively imagine and I feel we’re going to get some assist, too. I feel we’re going to get some assist down the road.”

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Carmen Vitali covers the NFC North for FOX Sports. Carmen had previous stops with The Draft Network and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She spent six seasons with the Bucs, including 2020, which added the title of Super Bowl Champion (and boat-parade participant) to her résumé. You can follow Carmen on Twitter at @CarmieV.

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