A Christmas Miracle: Rodgers is Back, Packers Poised for Magical Run

It was not quite the twelfth day of Christmas, but it was surely close. A day after Santa delivered gifts to the world, he delivered one more to an MVP quarterback, a historic franchise, and a rabidly hungry fanbase. All three received the news they had most eagerly hoped for: Aaron Rodgers is the Green Bay Packers starting quarterback this Sunday at Soldier Field, the battle that will decide the fate of the NFC North.

Today, December 26th, just after seven weeks since the same Chicago Bears knocked Rodgers out on November 7th, Rodgers  received word that he will have an opportunity for revenge and knock out the team that knocked him out. Sure, a broken collarbone must  hurt immensely, but one has to wonder whether getting knocked out of the playoffs would hurt more and be cause for Rodgers’ to forget completely the pain and frustration he’s endured. The Packers’ momentum is palpable while the collective Bears’ fanbase nervously murmurs their  impending doom.

What does Rodgers’ return mean to this team? Everything. A league Super Bowl MVP, a brilliant tactician within the red zone as he has only thrown three interceptions to 115 touchdowns there in his career, and the unquestioned team leader. Imagine what the tidal wave of confidence and psychological momentum the Packers’ locker room has experienced. This team believes it can do anything, and it can.

Throw in McCarthy’s optimistic words describing Cobb’s chances of playing, and the stars are aligning for the Packers to beat a haggard Bears team, coming off a trouncing by the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bears were gashed for 5.5 yards per carry and Dom Capers favorite quarterback, Jay Cutler, is starting. Cutler, in eight games against a Capers-led defense, has won just one. Take a look at the chart below to enjoy Cutler’s misery versus the Packers.

W/L

QB Rating

Yards

TD’s

INT

Sack

2009

L,L

47.2%;63.9%

277,209

1, 2

 4, 2

  2, 3

2010

W, L, L*

59.3, 53.8,

42.9

221, 168,

80

1,0,

0

 1,2,1

  3,6,2

2011

L, L*

56.8, Inj

302, Inj

 2, Inj

 2, Inj

  3, Inj

2012

L, L

40.7, 57.1

126, 135

 1,1

 4,1

  7,4

* Indicates an injury midgame or an injury preventing Cutler to play. Stats derived from nfl.com

Totals? 1-7 record, an abysmal 52.7 quarterback rating, averaged 189 yards passing, one touchdown a game, 2.1 interceptions a game, and 3.75 sacks a game. In a nutshell, Dom Capers and this Packers defense historically has owned Jay Cutler.

Couple Cutler’s history with the Packers and this current Bears’ defensive squad ranking 32nd is rushing yards allowed with 168.5 yards per game, 30th in total points allowed in 29.7 points per game, 29th in overall yardage allowed in 389.3 yards per game, and 14th in passing yards allowed with 227 yards per game, the Packers’ have to be feeling great about their chances to win.

For the Packers to be in the position they are in now, a chance to clinch the division, likely host their new rival 49ers for revenge after three crushing losses, is beyond comprehension. If Ravens kicker, Justin Tucker, misses a 61 yarder, if Matt Flynn does not rally the Packers to a tie  with the Vikings, if the Falcons rally and beat the Packers with a 50 yard field goal by kicker Matt Bryant, the Packers are done. Eliminated. But yet, remarkably, they are still very alive and very dangerous.

As the world learned in 2010, never, ever count out a McCarthy led Packers team. A McCarthy led team with Rodgers and Cobb  back in the fold? Anything is possible. Just have to win and then let the magic unfold.

Go Pack Go.

Thoughts? Comments? Converse with me at @GBTitletown or @packers360

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