Should the Packers Play Aaron Rodgers In Their Last Two Games?
An Atlanta Falcons victory on Monday Night Football officially knocked the Packers out of playoff contention. With two games remaining on their 2017 slate, the Packers have nothing left to play for this season, and Aaron Rodgers is still recovering from his broken collarbone.
The Packers could choose to play Rodgers these next two weeks or shut him down to avoid further injury. What should they do? Jon and Gary take up the question below.
Jon says no, because he’s not fully healthy.
The Packers have kept Aaron Rodgers on the sideline before in a regular season game that didn’t matter. In Week 17 of the 2011 season, a healthy Rodgers watched Matt Flynn duel Matthew Stafford in a 45-41 Packers victory.
That year, Rodgers was fully healthy, but the Packers had nothing to gain from playing him. Thus, he sat.
This year, Rodgers is definitely not fully healthy. Some reports indicate his collarbone may have only been about 80% healed heading into last week’s game, and it doesn’t take a medical expert to conclude he wasn’t playing like his normal self on Sunday.
Like 2011, the Packers have nothing to gain from putting Rodgers in harm’s way this week. They should keep him on the sideline.
Gary says no, losing the next two weeks helps Green Bay in 2018.
After the Packers’ playoff hopes were dashed Monday night on a last-second field goal that drifted wide right, the season’s final two games now hold a different significance.
Games against the Vikings and Lions will determine where the Packers will select in the 2018 NFL Draft and who they’ll play in two games next season.
Last year, teams who finished with a record of 7-9 selected between pick 10 and pick 14, 8-8 teams selected between 15 and 17, and 9-7 teams selected between pick 18 and 21.
Additionally, Green Bay will play an opponent from both the NFC South and NFC East next season based on where they finished in the divisional standings. Wins in Week 16 and 17 would likely vault the Packers from third in the division to second, and that would adjust next year’s schedule.
Finishing 7-9 would mean Green Bay would likely play a home game against the Atlanta Falcons and an away game against the Washington Redskins. Another win or two means the Packers would likely play a home game against the Carolina Panthers and an away game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Two additional weeks of misery puts the Packers in the top 15 of the NFL Draft for the first time since 2009 and an easier schedule next season. With Joe Callahan re-joining the 53-man roster, it looks like Green Bay may be coming to that same conclusion.