NFC North Reporter
It was the 12th week. The Green Bay Packers were 4-8. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a rib injury on an already broken thumb on his throwing hand. Green Bay had a 3% chance in the postseason, and after losing 7 of their last 8 games, people (including this author) were calling for the Buckers to give their pre-first round pick, Jordan Love, a chance to get meaningful game reps. in order to evaluate the future.
But as long as Green Bay is mathematically in it, Rodgers will insist on starting, he said.
“As long as we’re alive mathematically, I want to be there,” Rogers said a few weeks ago.
You see, you can knock Rogers down, but you can never, ever count him out.
“I was confident,” Rodgers said Sunday after Minnesota beat the Vikings 41-17 and beat Green Bay 8-8. “Favorite [when we were] I think 4-6 . Sometimes you have to trick yourself a little and believe a little more. But I definitely had faith. I was definitely going to the scrapheap. But I believe in the power of manifestation. And I believe in energy. I’m a big believer in the power of the mind, and when you start believing strongly in something, miracles can happen.”
With one win at home against the Detroit Lions next weekend, the Packers will have accomplished something incredible: the postseason after all.
Say Rodgers’ approach to the game, we all try to put up numbers in as many ways as possible. There’s more than just the stat sheet that affects the bottom line. Has the experience that only a 39-year-old point guard can. There is some familiarity among the divisional rivals. When all these things come together, there is a bleaching process. Some might call it faith.
“Sometimes all it takes is one,” Rogers said. “It’s weird, but when we were 3-6 and I was looking at the next three, Tennessee was playing really well. Of course, the Cowboys were playing well. Philly was number one in the league. And I just felt like, if we get one of those will win its last five and move to 9-8.
“Now, I don’t say that because you don’t really want to say, ‘Hey, we’ll take one of the next three, we might make the playoffs,’ but in my head, that’s what I was thinking. Like, we’re going to beat the Bears.” Rams at home – good game for us. Miami was a win in my opinion, and then second at home is winnable. Although Minnesota obviously won. It’s been a great season. Bombers in the winter, and 12 and 1 “Our record is very good for me, as we have been playing for many years.”
Experience? Check. Familiar? Check. Faith? You better believe it. Check.
“Now the things you ignore: Keysian Nixon,” Rodgers continued. “He knew he had talent, but he probably didn’t see him as a game breaker.”
Nixon returned a kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown against the Vikings on Sunday. And it didn’t seem too surprising. The belief was widespread that Nixon would snap one after nearly as many in the last few games.
Christian Watson said Rogers. “At 3-6, he wasn’t involved much in the offense.”
In the last seven games, Watson has scored eight times and established himself as a legitimate threat. Even with just a handful of catches, as he did against Minnesota, his presence was still valuable enough to draw attention from defenses.
All these pleasant surprises reinforced the truth of what Rogers had told himself, and turned what had been a slight lie into truth. How can it be expressed?
“And finally love the game,” Rogers said. “That’s why we play this game for the great runs, the moments, the special things. Those moments when it’s all said and done, and you make people feel like I’m the last thing you think about and you can give them a little bit of hope. It’s really special to be a part of that momentum. “Regardless of what happens during the week, the fact that we’re coming back from 4-8 and putting ourselves in a position to make the playoffs is pretty special.”
You can knock Rodgers down, but you can never, ever count him out.
Everything outside of the Packers’ control went their own way to make things feel perhaps even more predetermined.
“I felt like we were going to win the whole game,” Rodgers said Sunday. “I feel like it’s our day and it’s been happening for us the last couple of weeks like it’s supposed to happen. That’s the mindset I’ve had with destiny all along. It’s just a matter of going out and making it happen.”
That includes the Cleveland Browns’ win over the Washington Commanders on Sunday. At this point, the Packers had all the outside help they needed. Even in Week 16, the Lions lost to the Carolina Panthers, the New York Giants to the Vikings, the Commanders to the San Francisco 49ers, and the Seattle Seahawks to the Kansas City Chiefs. It eliminated the messy NFC hunt and paved the way for the Packers.
“I don’t know a lot of people in that locker room, a lot of you, who didn’t believe we were going to be 8-8 in Week 18 and control our destiny,” Rodgers said with a smile from the stands Sunday. “We’ve all seen some commentary out there when we went from 4-8 to 5-8 to 6-8 and nobody cared about the Packers and blah blah blah blah blah. Now what are they going to say?”
That’s what they always say, Aaron.
They can knock you down, but they can never, ever count you out.
Carmen Vitali covers the NFC North for FOX Sports. Carmen previously visited The Draft Network and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He spent six seasons with the Bucks, including 2020, and added a Super Bowl champion (and parade floater) to his resume. You can follow Carmen on Twitter @CarmieV.
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