Aaron Rodgers is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history and there's no denying his credentials as a future Hall of Famer. But the two-time MVP hasn't been to a Super Bowl since 2011, when he led the Green Bay Packers to a victory. That drought has been painful, but Rodgers has a golden opportunity to return to the big game this year, as the NFC playoff picture has opened up nicely for his Packers.
The Packers will host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in what is an incredibly favorable matchup on paper. Green Bay has won the last eight times Seattle has visited Lambeau Field, and hasn't lost at home in the series since 1999. A win on Sunday would either keep the Packers at home against the Minnesota Vikings -- who they beat twice this year -- or send them to face the young, inexperienced San Francisco 49ers.
So if Rodgers can guide the Packers past the Seahawks this weekend, he would either get to face the Vikings at home or basically return home to California to face a young team that doesn't get much of a home-field advantage in its stadium. Yes, the Packers got smoked by the 49ers 37-8 in Week 12, but that seemed to wake them up. Green Bay has ripped off five straight wins since then and certainly won't take San Francisco lightly the second time around. Plus, we all know the postseason is a different animal.
Rodgers' path to a second Super Bowl appearance has never been this clear.
At 36, Rodgers isn't the same guy who tore up the NFL and set statistical records in the early 2010s. But he can still sling it when he needs to. The eight-time Pro Bowler was good this year. He struggled to find consistency with his receivers and in new head coach Matt LaFleur's offense, but still turned in good numbers.
Rodgers completed 62 percent of his passes for 4,002 yards, with 26 touchdowns and an NFL-low four interceptions. His passer rating of 95.4 and QBR of 50.4 weren't great, but the Packers featured a much better rushing attack this season. Green Bay finally has a legit top running back in Aaron Jones, who rushed for 1,084 yards and 16 touchdowns while averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
Obviously the Seahawks will present a tough task, even at home. Lambeau has been a house of horrors for Seattle, but it's tough to ever count out Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll. Meanwhile, the Vikings are playing well and the 49ers have dominated all season. But the Packers could easily beat all three teams they could face in the postseason and I'm not sure we've been able to say that in a long time.
Another Super Bowl appearance is there for the taking, Rodgers and company just need to reach out and grab it.