The Green Bay Packers were 4-1 heading into Week 6 of the 2017 NFL season and appeared to be serious Super Bowl contenders once again. Unfortunately, the Packers suffered two major losses on Sunday afternoon. Not only did the Packers lose to the Minnesota Vikings, but they also saw Aaron Rodgers go down with a broken collarbone that could cost him the remainder of the season.
At this point in time, it has not been confirmed that Rodgers is done for the season. There is a slight chance that he could return late in the season, although that possibility is not very likely.
Even without Rodgers, the Packers strongly believe in the “next man up” mentality. That means that backup quarterback Brett Hundley will be Mike McCarthy’s starter moving forward. Joe Callahan will be the primary backup after being called up from the practice squad.
Following Rodgers’ injury, Hundley did not play very well against the Vikings. He ended up completing 54.5 percent of his passes for 157 yards, a touchdown, and three interceptions. Those numbers are a bit concerning, but Hundley had not taken reps with the first team and was certainly not prepared to be thrown into action so suddenly.
All of that being said, what five reasons can be given to support the statement that the Green Bay Packers will still end up making the NFL playoffs?
Brett Hundley’s Talent Will Continue to Develop
It would be easy to take Hundley’s first game last week and lose complete confidence in him. Fortunately, that is not what the Packers’ coaching staff will do. McCarthy couldn’t be more confident in his starting quarterback and there is no denying the talent that Hundley has, which will continue to develop as he gets more practice reps and game action.
Aaron Jones and the Ground Game
McCarthy will also have a much-improved ground game to rely on. Aaron Jones has emerged as the most dangerous running back on the Packers’ roster, while Ty Montgomery is still a capable runner as well. Green Bay will rely on the running backs to help take pressure off of Hundley.
Improved All-Around Defense
Over the past couple of seasons, Green Bay has feared having their defense on the field. There are still quite a few issues for the Packers defensively, but they have improved a lot this year. Green Bay’s defense is capable of making plays in the secondary, getting to the quarterback, and coming away with key stops.
Experience in Dealing with Adversity
There are very few teams that have had the horrible injury luck that the Packers have had. Just a few years back, Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone, but Matt Flynn kept them in contention and the Packers made the playoffs. Green Bay’s coaching staff has dealt with this before and they know how to survive through this kind of adversity.
Toughest Part of Schedule Is Completed
Green Bay has already won games against the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys. They have also lost to the Atlanta Falcons. Looking ahead at the remaining schedule, the Packers will face the Saints, Lions twice, Bears, Ravens, Steelers, Buccaneers, Browns, and Panthers, which gives them quite a few games that they should come away with a win.
Expect to see the Green Bay Packers continue competing even with their star quarterback on the sideline. Hundley may not be an attractive starting quarterback option, but the Packers should still be considered a playoff contender.
Do you think the Packers will end up making the playoffs this season? What do you think their record will end up being? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Bruce Kluckhohn/AP Images]