Is there more to the Rodgers injury situation than the Packers are leading us to believe? Probably. That seemed like the case today as Mike McCarthy spoke to the media this afternoon. McCarthy’s words were along the lines of, “it’s been a difficult morning discussing the clearance situation with Aaron and the doctors.” As you would expect, someone in the media asked a Rodgers-related question right after McCarthy had finished saying that he was done speaking about Aaron Rodgers. This really set McCarthy off and you could just tell it hadn’t been a good morning in the Packers’ organization.
As Rodgers said earlier in the week, he would probably need to take the majority of the practice snaps late in the week. This week during practice, Rodgers picked up the intensity and participated in some drills that he had not done the week before. Because I am not actually at any of the Packers practices, I follow the majority of Packer beat reporters to get live practice information. Bob McGinn (@BobMcGinn), a writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, noted that Rodgers didn’t do much during the media portion of today’s practice. When the Packers went to the two-minute drill, McGinn said that Rodgers did not participate and did not look very happy on the sideline. This raises a few questions. Last week, Rodgers was on board, agreeing that he was not ready to play based on the scans and the minor pain he experienced during practice. This week is a different story. Is the bone healed and the doctor advised Aaron not to play for some reason? That has to be the case considering McCarthy previously said if Aaron told him he wanted to play he wouldn’t say no. I’m all for our franchise quarterback getting adequate treatment and time to heal, but if the scan looks normal and Rodgers is pain-free, why is he not playing? Of all people, I trust Aaron Rodgers to know when he is ready to play.
Regardless of what I think, the reality is, Rodgers is out and the Packers’ playoff chances are in the hands of Matt Flynn for the third week in a row. They face a Dallas team that was dismantled by the Chicago Bears last week. This couldn’t be a bigger game for either team as both need to win to keep their NFC playoff hopes alive.
I expect Dallas to continue to feed DeMarco Murray after his nice performance against a terrible Bears run defense last week. The Packers run defense has been very inconsistent so it could be a good matchup for the Cowboys’ run game. Dallas has been one of the most inconsistent teams in the NFL for the past few years so I do not expect last week’s blowout loss to be an indicator of what to expect from them Sunday. For all we know Tony Romo could come out and throw for 400 yards and five touchdowns (Exaggerating a bit, but hey against the Packers defense you never know).
For the Packers, it is crucial for McCarthy to help get Matt Flynn in a rhythm early. He needs to be put in short second and third down situations. It looks like Eddie Lacy will play and has a great matchup this week. Dallas is 28th against the run and is missing important players on defense (Sean Lee). The Dallas defense in general has been awful for the majority of the year (a little more than 100 yards away from allowing the most yards in a season in NFL history) and therefore, I expect the Packers to be successful on offense. They come in with some momentum aftertheir first victory since Aaron Rodgers got hurt.
Prediction:Dallas will be ready to play after being embarassed by the Bears last week. I expect them to put up some points. I was a little off with my prediction of the Packers vs. Lions game to be a shootout. However, with two inconsistent defenses, I truly believe there will not be a lack of scoring. The Packers must win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Packers do not turn the ball over, and come out on top 35-31.