Sunday’s premier clash in the NFC North could be a preview of what’s to come in January, or it could be nothing more than a formality. It all depends on whether Aaron Rodgers is on the field.
On that night, Rodgers was able to muster enough to overcome the knock and save the Packers with a legendary second-half performance, but the circumstances are different in Week 2.
For one, Rodgers no longer has the adrenaline from that night to help mask the pain. If anything, the swelling has likely only gotten worse and made the 34-year-old even more stationary.
Maybe more importantly, Green Bay are facing a terrifying defence that could inflict even more damage to Rodgers’ knee.
The Bears pass rush with Khalil Mack was terrifying enough in the opener, but the Packers managed to keep Rodgers clean in the second half by having him get the ball out quicker and running more hurry-up to tire out Chicago, despite him playing essentially on one leg.
The Vikings had three sacks in Week 1 against San Francisco and their defence as a whole is arguably the best in the league after leading the NFL in fewest yards (275.9) and points allowed (15.8) last year.
Rodgers has yet to practice this week, but Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy said that he could play even if he isn’t part of the team’s workouts before Sunday.
The back-up plan is to play DeShone Kizer, who has a career record of 0-15 as a starter, all of which came last season with the Cleveland Browns.
While Rodgers is more than capable of putting the team on his back, even on one leg, it may be more prudent of Green Bay to hold their star out. A win over Minnesota now could be critical in the final standings, but losing Rodgers for a lengthy period would all but end the Packers’ hopes for the year.
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