Packers XLV

On the 12th Day of Christmas...

Posted December 26th, 2013 @ 08:12pm

Thursday was a very good day for Packer fans. He may not be returning soon enough to save your fantasy season, but Aaron Rodgers has been cleared to return to the field just in time for the playoff game to determine the NFC North champion. A very good day indeed.

After making the big announcement, Mike McCarthy went on to say he expects Eddie Lacy to be good to go and he said he felt better about Randall Cobb's chances than he did at the beginning of the day. Suddenly, the  thought of the Packers defense giving up big yardage and points seems a little less daunting.

I was wrong on this one. Despite the fact that he's been practicing and lobbying hard, Rodgers' return felt just out of reach. The team's conservative nature had me convinced they refused to risk his future health for a possible short-term payoff. But team doctor Pat McKenzie clearly saw enough healing to give him the green light and suddenly the matchup takes on a whole new look.

Rodgers returns against the team that derailed his season, a team he's beaten the last three times he's played them on their home field, including the 2010 NFC title game and he faces off against Jay Cutler, he of the 1-8 career record vs. the Pack.

As Trent Tucker reminded me this morning when we did a bonus "In the Zone" on KFAN from 9-noon, when a transcendent player returns from injury, it affects everyone. He recalls how he and all his Bulls teammates played a little bit harder when Michael Jordan returned from missing action. The same will be true for the Packers on Sunday. They'll be energized, focused and primed to seize this opportunity. One that seemingly had escaped their grasp when the clock ran out on Matt Flynn last Sunday.

It will still likely be a bit of a grind. Dom Capers has owned Cutler and the Bears, but he won't have playmakers like Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson or Nick Collins this time around. Mike Neal, Mike Daniels, Andy Mulumba: these are the guys that will need to step up and force Cutler into those timely mistakes we've grown to know and love.

If Josh McCown were starting I'd be a lot more nervous. He seemed to bring a steady hand to the offense, but Coach Mark Trestman went back to Cutler two weeks ago, to mixed results, and maintains he's the guy to lead his team. We'll see how long a leash he has if Cutler struggles early.

I'll write up a game blog tomorrow, for now let's bask in the post-Christmas glow that has the NFL's best quarterback returning for the game of the season against our most hated rivals. Sunday can't come fast enough.

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Comments (5):

All I'm going to say on this is does it get any better than this? I'm diggin' the drama...are you?

on December 26th, 2013 at 03:26pm

Let's hope he returns looking sharp. I'd say he has 'something to prove' and when Rodgers has a chip on his shoulder, well, we know what that means; trouble for da Bears! The game is still in Chicago and Forte, Jeffrey, and Marshall make for some nice offensive weapons. But golly, I can't wait top see Jordy and James back with Aaron throwing the ball and that Chicago defense trying to decide where to line up that 8th defender. GO PACK!

on December 26th, 2013 at 04:12pm

Yes.. Yes..yeah Yes !! Go Pack Go !!

on December 26th, 2013 at 08:12pm

The news about Lacy being probable to go was almost as equally good as the Rodgers' clearance. The Packers will probably need about a 200 yd. team rushing game to win on Sunday by keeping the Chicago offense on the sidelines for long stretches. As for ARod, he hits the field at the start of every year in midseason form and has been staying with the team and practicing so the long layoff shouldn't affect him too much. Maybe a little off on some of the touch and timing with the receivers that he would normally have at this stage of the season but he can get in his groove as the game moves on. If Cobb can go the Packers will use him on kickoff returns, adding a missing dimension to their special teams for this one and the playoffs.

on December 27th, 2013 at 06:15am

God! It feels good sometimes to be wrong doesn't it Davey, we both thought 12 was done for the year. this game is so simple, FORTE, if we stop him we win. case closed. look at the last game , swing passes and no packer in sight. and still ran at will also. marshal and jeffery will both get around 100 yds, but you have to stop 22 to beat the bears. Packerlifer, I will be shocked if 18 returns kickoffs. no way, after his leg was just broke. he will get a few bubble screens and i think that may be it. if 12 is rusty early and and we can stay close we will win it in 2nd half, 38- 34, stay healthy please lacey, he is not even close to 100 %, let 44 carry the ball he will do just fine. just Digging the Drama!

on December 27th, 2013 at 12:21pm

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