Following their recent win over the Los Angeles Rams, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are in a strong position heading into the season’s final few weeks. They currently own the No. 2 seed in the NFC, only one game behind the 10-2 Arizona Cardinals.
With such a small gap between the two teams, there’s a half-decent chance the Packers can overtake the Cardinals by the season’s end. However, it won’t be without serious struggle, seeing as Green Bay just lost a key starter to injury.
Packers WR Randall Cobb suffered a significant core muscle injury
While Rodgers and the Packers ultimately cruised to 36 points worth of offense against the Rams’ star-studded defense in Week 12, they didn’t leave the game without injury. Starting slot receiver suffered a core injury and could not finish the NFC showdown. The injury is reportedly going to sideline him for several weeks.
Packers receiver Randall Cobb caught four passes for 95 yards in the first half of Green Bay’s Week 12 victory over the Rams. But Cobb wasn’t able to finish that game as an injury kept him out of the second half.
Now even after the bye, it sounds like Cobb is going to be out for multiple weeks.
Head coach Matt LaFleur said on Thursday that Cobb is going to be out for a while.
“He had a pretty significant injury,” LaFleur said, via Wes Hodkiewicz of the Packers website. “That’s unfortunate because he’s done such an amazing job when given the opportunity.”Myles Simmons, Pro Football Talk
When the injury was first announced, the hope was that the Packers’ bye week would be enough time for Cobb to get healthy. However, that didn’t happen. Cobb is set to miss multiple games moving forward, which will significantly impact Rodgers and the Packers’ overall offensive scheme.
Aaron Rodgers will be without his favorite slot WR
Davante Adams is clearly Rodgers’ favorite person to throw to within the Packers’ offense. However, Cobb has long acted as a security blanket for the future Hall of Famer.
In fact, Rodgers likes throwing to Cobb so much that he aggressively pushed the Green Bay front office to trade for the veteran receiver this past offseason despite the drafting of rookie slot WR Amari Rodgers. The Packers’ front office obliged, sending a draft pick over to the Houston Texans in exchange for an aging Randall Cobb.
Since returning to Green Bay, Cobb has caught 28 passes for 375 yards and five touchdowns. He’s played a big part in the Packers’ offensive success this year.
However, with Cobb set to miss several weeks of action, Rodgers will have to find other faces to rely on when targeting the slot. A combination of Amari Rodgers, Allen Lazard, and Equanimeous St. Brown will likely be used.
Aaron Rodgers needs to carry the Packers if they want the No. 1 seed
At this point in the season, Rodgers and the Packers may not be able to afford another loss if they want to surpass the Cardinals for the top spot in the NFC.
The Packers have games against the Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, and Detroit Lions to round out their schedule. At least three of those are extremely winnable, even if Cobb were to miss them.
However, against the Ravens and Browns, Rodgers will likely have to do some serious carrying if the Packers are to walk away victorious. By the season’s end, anything less could see the Packers resigned to the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the NFC.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.