Aaron Rodgers is back.
This development is both good and bad news for the Philadelphia Eagles. Here’s why.
THE BAD NEWS
The Packers are currently 7-6 with three games left to play: at the Panthers, versus the Vikings, and at the Lions. It’s not a guarantee they win all three. And it’s not a guarantee they make the playoffs even if they do win all three. But it’s definitely not out of the question.
Rodgers being in the playoffs is a scary thought. When healthy, he’s usually the best player in football (outside of Carson Wentz). Rodgers helped the Packers get turned around after a bad start in 2016. Green Bay went on to defeat the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys, who earned the No. 1 seed, in the post-season. Having to face Rodgers in the playoffs would not be ideal for the Eagles. We all saw how Green Bay picked apart Philadelphia’s defense in 2016 with a quick-hitting passing attack.
THE GOOD NEWS
The upside to Rodgers being back is that it potentially makes it easier for the Eagles to clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture.
The Eagles can actually clinch the No. 1 seed as soon as this Sunday. Such a situation would require the Eagles beating the Giants AND the Vikings losing to the Bengals in Minnesota. Considering Cincy just got blown out at home to the Bears, it’s very hard to count on a Bengals win this weekend. So let’s say the Vikes win on Sunday.
The Eagles can then clinch the No. 1 seed in Week 16 by simply defeating the Raiders on Christmas. But it’s possible they won’t even need to do that. The Packers host the Vikings in Green Bay on Saturday, Dec. 23. If the Eagles beat the Giants this weekend AND Rodgers is able to to take down Minny, Philly would clinch the No. 1 seed before even playing on Monday, Dec. 25 in Week 16. That would mean the Eagles would have two meaningless games prior to getting a first-round bye in the 2018 NFL Playoffs. Good opportunity for the team to rest up in advance of making a post-season run.
(As a quick aside, the Packers winning also hurts the Cowboys’ playoff chances. Playing Dallas in Philly would be preferable for the Eagles, but the Cowboys missing the playoffs entirely is never a bad thing.)
THE IDEAL SITUATION
The best scenario for the Eagles here is that the Packers win their matchup against the Vikings but drop at least one — if not both —- games against the Panthers and Lions. Then the Eagles get help and the Packers still miss the playoffs. So root for that.