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Did the Pack Exit the Playoff Picture with Aaron Rodgers Injury?

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In Week 9 against its division rival, the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down in the first quarter with a broken collarbone. Enter backup quarterback Seneca Wallace who was unable to lead his team to a win as the Bears got the 27-20 victory.

By the time the dust settled on Tuesday about Rodgers, everyone learned the player could be out for several weeks. Rumors swirled that former backup quarterback Matt Flynn would try out for the team (he’s on his way and was already scheduled by the team for a Monday visit) but on Sunday it was Wallace who took over again as the signal caller.

Well, at least for a New York Minute.

Wallace went down with a groin injury on the Packers’ first possession of the game versus the Philadelphia Eagles. He remained on the sidelines for the rest of the game and he status was questionable.

Enter third string quarterback Scott Tolzien. He was a member of the team’s practice squad and Sunday’s play represented his welcome to the NFL moment. For the day, Tolzien went 24 for 39, 280 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

But he was unable to lead the Packers to the win, losing 27-13.

In addition to Wallace’s exit, the Packers also lost cornerback Casey Hayward to a hamstring injury and center Evan Dietrich-Smith left the game with a knee injury as this team’s injury bug continues as well as its losses.

Prior to this Sunday’s games, the Packers entered with a three-way 5-3 tie with the Detroit Lions and the Bears. The Lions won the tiebreaker based on an in-conference winning percentage, reported SB Nation. The Carolina Panthers held the tiebreaker over the Bears and Packers for the last wild-card spot. The 4-4 Arizona Cardinals and the 4-5 Philadelphia Eagles were also in the mix.

The picture has now changed as the Lions defeated the Bears on Sunday, 21-19, taking sole possession of the NFC North race. The Packers sit at 5-4–one game behind the Lions and now face a lot of injuries defensively and offensively and a green quarterback.

Right now, it’s hard to see the Packers as a playoff team but stranger things could happen as Stafford appears to be the only 100 percent injury free NFC North quarterback. Should he go down, the team would be in good hands with Shaun Hill.

When looking at the remaining NFC North race for a change in position, the Packers will play the Lions on Thanksgiving and the Bears again in Chicago for Week 17. They will need to win both games for a shot at winning the division.

For the Bears and Lions, one team could lose to the Baltimore Ravens, the Minnesota Vikings or the Philadelphia Eagles. If each of these teams loses two of them and then loses to the Packers, who need to find a way to hit 10 wins, this would result in a tie with one of these divisional rivals at 10-6 while the other team will end at 9-7.

With Detroit’s win on Sunday, the Packers would have the tiebreaker advantage with a 2-0 “head-to-head record.” A Packers-Bears tie would then go to an additional tiebreaker.

But in the short-term as the Packers have now lost two games without Rodgers, they need to get their quarterback situation under control and injured players back on the field. And start winning again.

Next week, they’ll play the New York Giants who have won three consecutive games, then the Minnesota Vikings. Rodgers will not be back for these two games but will Wallace or Flynn?

 

 

Debbie Baratz

Deb has been writing about the NFL and NCAA football for the last few years. She is a full-time writer and an avid sports fan. Follow her on twitter @ldbar.

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