With Rodgers out, the Packers had to find different ways to move the ball.
Brett Hundley played well enough at quarterback to keep the Packers afloat in the NFC playoff race while Aaron Rodgers was shelved for almost eight full games. Hundley had a ton of help from his offensive supporting cast �� the same one that will set up Rodgers to find a better groove in his return.
The 3-4 record in his absence is not great, but in the end, the Packers, now 7-6, fell to opponents above .500 and defeated the bottom-feeders they should have beat.
Facing the 9-4 Panthers on the road in Week 15 is a tough first matchup for Rodgers in his return. But the quarterback doesn’t need to shoulder as much of a load to get Green Bay a victory.
There were four important developments for the Packers’ offense as they adapted to survive without Rodgers.
Injuries: The Falcons have been banged up for weeks, but they had no players listed on their final injury report. LB Dannell Ellerbe and CB Sidney Jones are the only Eagles players listed as questionable, with both dealing with hamstring injuries.
Take it on the run baby: Current weather models suggest the East Coast will have emerged from Arctic conditions for the opener of the divisional round. Fortunately, Atlanta’s tailback tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman should thrive in any environment. The duo helped wear down the Rams and could tax even the Eagles’ rotating fleet of linemen. Freeman, who gives maximum effort on every play, is a joy to watch. The Eagles would surely prefer to rely on their trio of LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement, who aren’t as explosive as their Atlanta counterparts but can certainly milk a clock and occasionally tear off chunks of yardage if Foles can keep the Falcons defense honest.
What figures to be the best game of the divisional round, a redux of the Vikings’ 29-19 home victory in the season opener.
Both sides are balanced and have enough experience to handle the pressure. While the Saints have the Hall of Fame-level skills of Drew Brees at quarterback, Minnesota’s Case Keenum has been among the most pleasant surprises in the league.
Look for this one to come down to which defense asserts itself. Coach Mike Zimmer has built quite the unit in the Twin Cities.
Well, you want to have pass rushers, you want to have guys that can cover, he says. Without giving away all my secrets, I like a certain body type with guys. You can kind of look at most of them and tell what we’re trying to get. Athleticism, guys who can think quickly on their feet, safeties that have versatility, corners who can cover.