The Green Bay Packers are headed toward a huge matchup against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in a matchup of two premier quarterbacks in the NFL. Or so we thought. On Wednesday came the news of Aaron Rodgers testing positive for COVID-19, which ruled out the reigning NFL MVP from Sunday’s matchup and also put his status for the Packers’ next game in jeopardy.
While the hope is Rodgers misses just one game, even one might be the difference in the quest for home-field advantage in the loaded NFC.
Aaron Rodgers’ vaccination status revealed once and for all
Over the summer, NFL players across the country addressed — or failed to address — their vaccination status. Rodgers seemed to sidestep the question time and time again but ultimately gave a four-word answer in August: “Yeah, I’ve been immunized.”
What exactly “immunized” means remains to be seen. However, this hasn’t exactly been a secret around the Packers organization, as Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported on The Pat McAfee Show.
“The Green Bay Packers have known for a very long time that Aaron Rodgers is not vaccinated. … Rodgers has been following the COVID-19 protocols for those that are unvaccinated.”Ian Rapoport on Aaron Rodgers’ vaccination status
That makes things a little less complicated, although Rodgers’ insistence on beating around the bush regarding his vaccination status is the thing to focus on.
For now, Rodgers is out for Sunday’s clash against the Chiefs, and he could miss the game against the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 14.
Rodgers’ decision could have massive consequences that tilt the scales in the favor of other NFC foes
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams, and Dallas Cowboys might have just caught a massive break. Heading into Week 9, the Packers and Arizona Cardinals have the two best records in the NFC. The Rams are also at 7-1, but they sit behind the Cardinals and are currently in the wild-card side of the bracket.
The Cowboys are 6-1 and should have Dak Prescott back, which is nothing but good news for America’s Team. Then the Buccaneers and Brady are 6-2 and right around the corner as well.
All in all, the NFC standings are as crowded as Times Square on New Year’s Eve, and even one or two losses could potentially send a team from home-field advantage to the Wild Card Round.
With Rodgers out for one week — and possibly more — the Packers could go tumbling down the standings if Jordan Love can’t shoulder the load. Given Rodgers’ unvaccinated status, he is now out a minimum of 10 days, putting his earliest return at Nov. 13, one day before the Week 10 matchup against the Seahawks.
It is officially Jordan Love time against the defending AFC champions
The Packers waited all offseason for Rodgers to come around and were prepared to start Jordan Love. Now is the time for Love to steer the ship with Rodgers out, even if it is just for one game.
Backup Kurt Benkert also tested positive for the virus, and the Packers wasted no time and decided to bring in Blake Bortles in anticipation of him joining the active roster.
Nonetheless, even given the hope around Love, the absence of Rodgers will be detrimental to this team. Rodgers had just willed the team to victory with three touchdown passes even without Davante Adams and Allen Lazard in a massive Thursday night matchup against the Cardinals.
The situation in Green Bay will be extremely fluid for the next couple of weeks — as if it hasn’t already been a massive headache given everything that has gone down over the past six months. But the story of Rodgers and his vaccination status is now the talking point of the NFL.