Just when it looked like things were going so well for the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers and the offense were cruising and the team was coming off one of its biggest wins of the season. Then Thursday happened. The Packers were dealt some devastating news and Rodgers said he’s still in “the grieving process.”
The Packers have eyes on the Super Bowl
The Green Bay Packers (12-3) have won five straight games and seven of their last eight. They are in the driver’s seat for the right to have home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. A win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday would do it. The Packers could also clinch the top seed even if they lost to the Bears, as long as the San Francisco 49ers defeat the Seattle Seahawks.
Aaron Rodgers has been on a roll for the Packers. The two-time MVP is a prime candidate to win his third this season. Rodgers has thrown at least three touchdown passes in five of his last six games. He’s completed better than 70% of his passes this year.
Rodgers leads the league with 44 touchdown passes. He’s thrown just five interceptions. A week ago, they cruised past the Tennessee Titans 40-14 in a game where Rodgers completed 84% of his passes and threw four touchdowns. Green Bay would be tough to beat while playing at Lambeau Field in January.
Green Bay gets some devastating news on David Bakhtiari
During Thursday’s practice in preparation for Sunday’s key game against the rival Chicago Bears, the Green Bay Packers got some tough news. David Bakhtiari, the Packers’ left tackle and arguably the NFL’s best, went down with a knee injury. On Friday, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur confirmed Bakhtiari will miss the rest of the season with an ACL injury.
According to ESPN, more tests will be needed to determine the extent of the damage, but sources have told the network it’s likely a torn ACL. LaFleur said it happened during Thursday’s practice and Bakhtiari went down during a non-contact drill. LaFleur called it a “freaky deal.”
The injury comes six weeks after Bakhtiari signed a record-setting contract extension with the club. The Packers inked the left tackle to a four-year, $103.5 million extension. The deal could be worth $105.5 million with incentives. Bakhtiari not only is the highest-paid lineman in the NFL, but he is also the highest-paid lineman in the history of the game.
Aaron Rodgers still ‘grieving’ after the Bakhtiari news
Not only is David Bakhtiari a teammate of Aaron Rodgers, but the two are also close friends. Bakhtiari is Rodgers’ protector on the field and the Green Bay quarterback was struggling when he heard the news that Bakhtiari was lost for the season. Rodgers was hoping for a best-case scenario after Thursday’s practice.
“I got a call from him yesterday, late in the afternoon,” Rodgers said Friday, according to ESPN. “I was hoping for some good news. Didn’t get it. You gotta move on, but right now it’s still a little raw. We’re still sad and hurting for Dave, just because it’s our brother and it’s our left tackle, our teammate. It’s been a tough time for us and times that by infinity is probably where he’s at right now.” Rodgers said he was “in the grieving process.”
The Packers will have to find a way to push through without Bakhtiari. A win Sunday will give them a bye and an additional week off to figure some things out. Beating the Chicago Bears won’t bring Bakhtiari back, but it will give the Packers home field throughout the NFC playoffs and help soften the blow a bit.