GREEN BAY, Wis — Now comes the hard part.
This time, Aaron Rodgers thinks he can handle the Green Bay Packers.
After beating the Los Angeles Rams 24-12 at Lambeau Field on Monday night, Rodgers and coach Matt LaFleur, who broke their five-game mid-season losing streak well behind and boosted their morale with two wins in a row, said a sense of faith began to develop. grow.
After falling to 4-8 in late November, a team that was almost completely out of it suddenly looks like a team that could win their last five games and sneak into the playoffs.
“Well, it’s three o’clock now,” Rodgers said on Monday. “There are two. There are two in the bag. I don’t know. Look, we knew we had a good-bye before and after Bears week, and those of us who look forward occasionally knew we had to get five and five wins. “We won two, and pretty much everything that was supposed to go went our way. Pretty much, right? So things are getting better.”
ESPN Analytics gives the Packers a 12.2% playoff chance. A Monday night loss would have reduced that to almost zero (0.8%).
It’s one thing to beat two teams (The Bears 3-11 and Rams 4-10) who currently hold a combined record of 7-21, but the Packers’ last three opponents are a combined 26-16 as of Sunday’s game. Miami Dolphins (8-6). But the Dolphins lost three times in a row, the Vikings’ defense was weak, and who knows if the Lions are real.
“I mean, they’re all good football teams,” Rodgers said. “Miami is playing for the playoffs. Minnesota is league champion and comes in with a big win. Detroit won, what, six out of seven, they’re playing really well. So it’s going to be three tough games. Two of them are home against dome teams. It’s going to be January for these two. They’ve been in these games over the years. “We have a reputation for being pretty good. So that’s really important because it’s on the way. They obviously have a really strong offense. We’ve had some ups and downs in the last few weeks. Maybe we’ll catch them in a good time. Let’s see.”
Rodgers declined to make any of his statements, such as “manage the table” or “RELAX,” but expressed a soft-spoken belief that they could win.
“I do, yes, I do, I do,” Rodgers repeated. “We’re going to play three better football teams now, but I’m playing. Absolutely.”
Perhaps this is what drives Rodgers’ belief: He eventually caught Romeo Doubs (five 55-yard catches) and Christian Watson (four 46-yard catches) healthy and together on the court. Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon teamed up for three touchdowns and a total of 197 yards from the offense. His defenses dismissed Baker Mayfield five times, two by Preston Smith, and Rasul Douglas dismissed him once. Plus kick-off player Keisean Nixon has become a gun with his third over 50-yard return in the last three games.
“That was step one,” Douglas said of beating the Rams. “We came first today and said, ‘Let’s dominate and win.’ Now we’re going to step two and this is Miami.”
And they’re heading into the South Florida sun from a 15 degree night in Green Bay.
“It’s going to have to be a really good effort to get out there and win,” Rodgers said. “It will be a nice change of weather. No one will be upset that it will be at least 40 or 50, maybe 50 or 60 more than now. We look forward to returning.” We’re hosting some cold weather and hopefully we’ll be 7-8.”
And that’s about as much as LaFleur is willing to argue. He didn’t want to be part of any conversation about winning.
“To be honest with you, I don’t even want to talk like that,” LaFleur said. “I think you need to focus on what’s in front of you. On the whole, all three teams are really good football teams, so I don’t want to go too far. We want to be the best we can be, ourselves and every day, every game, and that starts with Miami.”