By Ty Schadt, Sports Editor
“I feel like we can run the table, I really do,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky after a demoralizing 42-24 loss to the Washington Redskins on Nov. 11.
Rodgers has done that, plus some. At the time, his team was 4-6 and staring into the eyes of their first season without a playoff berth since 2008. The Packers were underperforming, despite Rodgers’ 22 passing touchdowns.
What would follow his statement would be one of the hottest streaks any quarterback has ever had in the NFL. Rodgers and the Packers proceeded to win their final six regular season games, clinch the NFC North and subsequently a playoff berth.
Over the course of his last eight games, Rodgers has been nearly flawless, throwing for 2,385 yards, 24 touchdowns and only one interception. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Rodgers’ interception in the divisional round was his first in 318 attempts, an incredible number.
The Packers blew out the New York Giants 38-13 in the Wild Card round, behind Rodgers’ 362 passing yards and four touchdowns. In the divisional round Rodgers was spectacular yet again, tossing for 356 yards, two touchdowns and one interception en route to a 34-31 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
The only question moving forward is if the Packers can bring home a Super Bowl title. Freshman Marcus McCleery believes so. “Rodgers is the best quarterback in the league,” McCleery said. “He comes up in big moments, and can dominate without some of his best offensive weapons.”
Running back Eddie Lacy has been out the majority of the season with an ankle injury, and leading receiver Jordy Nelson missed the divisional game with several broken ribs. Luckily for Rodgers and the Packer’s offense, Nelson is expected to be back for the NFC Championship, per Schefter.
This weekend the Packers will be squaring off with the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship. The winner will punch their ticket to Houston, Texas, where Super Bowl LI (51) will commence on Feb. 5.
The last Super Bowl appearance for the Packers came in 2010, when they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rodgers played exceptionally well, tossing for 304 yards and three touchdowns, leading his team to a 31-25 victory. Rodgers’ performance earned him the MVP award for the game and propelled his name into the conversation for the best quarterback in the league.
As they gear up for the Falcons, Green Bay’s run defense will be questioned. According to nfl.com, they allow 120 rushing yards per game, 20th best in the NFL. Ironically, the Falcons average 120 rushing yards a game, fifth best in the league. “If their defense can hold the line, I can see the Packers winning the Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers is impressive given his resiliency this season. His passes are very good, and he’s been the reason their offense is so reliable,” said senior Ionut Kuhls.
It’s been a storybook season for the Packers and one that only seems fitting if it ends with their star quarterback hoisting the Lombardi Trophy over his head, exclaiming, “I’m going to Disney World!”