Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been medically cleared in time for Week 15, as Rodgers himself indicated on Instagram. Green Bay hasn’t yet activated Rodgers for Sunday’s game against the Panthers, but that formal transaction will likely be made in the near future.
Nearly every report from Green Bay had indicated Rodgers was progressing extremely well in his recovery from a broken collarbone, but his clearance was not a foregone conclusion. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported earlier today, the Packers’ medical staff uses an abundance of caution with respect to injuries, so although Rodgers was pushing to play this weekend, the club wanted to ensure his long-term health.
Now that he has returned, Rodgers not only offers a boost to the Packers’ postseason chances, but reshapes the NFC playoff picture as a whole. Given the strength of the NFC, there’s no guarantee Green Bay will earn a postseason berth even if it wins out to finish with a 10-6 record. But two consecutive victories with backups signal-caller Brett Hundley under center have given the Packers a fighting chance, and Rodgers certainly has the All Pro ability to push Green Bay into the playoffs.
The Packers will face three NFC opponents — the Panthers, Vikings, and Lions — over the next three weeks, and they’ll likely need to win each of those contests in order to secure a playoff slot.
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