The Packers have been putrid since Aaron Rodgers went down with a collarbone injury. Mike McCarthy has shown himself to be on tilt with press conference contradictions, Brett Hundley can’t complete the ball downfield, and to call the defense a sieve would be inaccurate because sieves actually stop something. I maintain that Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson should be on the hot seat.
Consequently, a wave of takes has emerged that the Packers should just tank the rest of the season. This idea has been expressed by many on social media, and written out in publication by the Washington Post.
While this premise is certainly tantalizing — the Packers need an elite pass rusher to complement Mike Daniels, and those are hard to come by — the season isn’t quite lost yet. I know it seems impossible that this group of players could beat any NFL team, but I think they’ll fare more respectably against teams that don’t have great quarterbacks who can repeatedly pick the defense apart on third and long.
If the Packers can beat the Bears in Chicago this week, they’ll be 5-4 with games against the meh Ravens and fetid Browns before Aaron Rodgers is eligible to return. They could still conceivably be 7-6 Week 15, with a shot at making the playoffs.
All seemed lost in 2013 when Rodgers went down with a collarbone injury. The Packers were 5-2 headed into that game, proceeded to lose against the Bears and drop their next two contests against the Eagles and Giants. They then tied the Vikings and lost to the Lions to bring their record to 5-6-1. It seemed beyond the realm of possibility that they would rebound. But then Matt Flynn beat the Falcons, and engineered a comeback from being down 29-10 and 26-24 for an improbable victory against the Cowboys.
Two weeks later, Aaron Rodgers hit Randall Cobb on 4th down for a long touchdown to win the NFC North and knock the Bears out of the playoffs.
I’m not saying that a similar scenario is likely to happen with these Packers — Lord knows it doesn’t look that way right now — but it’s in the realm of possibility. Aaron Rodgers is only signed for two more seasons after this one. It’s too early to throw away any opportunity he could have to lead the team to another Super Bowl.