Rodgers Makes His Case For MVP As Packers Head Into Playoffs As Top Seed

Adams: 'Everything Is In Front Of Us, And We Control It All'

Aaron Rodgers throws a pass against the Chicago Bears
Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Chicago. Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo

The Green Bay Packers will enter the playoffs on a high note.

The Packers closed out the regular season with six straight wins to clinch the top playoff seed in the NFC — it comes with a bye week and homefield advantage throughout the postseason.

“Everything is in front of us, and we control it all, so we’re in a good spot,” wide receiver Davante Adams said.

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Last year, in Green Bay’s first season under head coach Matt LaFleur, the Packers reached the conference championship game. Expectations are even higher this time around, thanks largely to the MVP-caliber play of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who threw four touchdowns in Green Bay’s win Sunday over the Chicago Bears.

Lambeau Field hasn’t hosted an NFC Championship game during Rodgers’ tenure as starting quarterback, but this could be the year. The crowd might not have too much of an impact — Green Bay has yet to host paying fans this season due to the coronavirus pandemic. But Wisconsin’s harsh weather could play a role, Rodgers said. The Packers have more experience playing in snow and cold weather than most other playoff teams.

“We’ll definitely be hoping for some cold, frigid temperatures in a couple weeks,” he said.

Under the NFL’s new playoff format, only one team from each conference gets a bye this season. Rodgers said he’s not worried about rust, though the Packers suffered their worst loss of the year after their regular season bye back in October. The Packers will use this week to recharge, he said.

After Sunday’s game, Rodgers said, there was a lot of dancing and hugging in the locker room. But the job isn’t done yet, safety Adrian Amos said.

And success this postseason will depend on more than strong play, LaFleur said. It’s also important that players make the right decisions off the field during the pandemic.

“What we told our guys is we need everybody in that locker room to be their very best and the only way that can happen is if everybody is available,” he said.

‘It Was Maybe The Most Special Regular Season’

Rodgers and Adams have been all but unstoppable this year. The Packers are averaging more points per game than any other team, and despite playing just 14 games, Adams set a franchise record for most receptions in a single season. Adams is a special player, Rodgers said.

“I just have a ton of respect and appreciation for him and what he’s accomplished. It’s been an unbelievable year,” Rodgers said.

Rodgers missed the fans, but still this might be the most special regular season of his career, he said. He focused on feeling gratitude and keeping things in perspective amid the coronavirus pandemic, he said.

The 37-year-old quarterback is considered the favorite to win league MVP for the third time in his career. This regular season, he led the NFL in touchdown passes, completion percentage and quarterback rating. Adams thinks Rodgers is a sure bet, he said.

“MVP should be locked up. There’s nothing else to really talk about,” he said.

LaFleur said Rodgers and Adams are the top players in the league at their positions. He believes the same about left tackle David Bakhtiari, who will miss the rest of the season after suffering an injury last week, he said. Still, Green Bay’s offensive line didn’t seem to miss a beat Sunday.

Packers Could Welcome Front-Line Health Care Workers

The Packers hosted about 450 health care workers, first responders and their families at their last two regular season games at Lambeau Field. The gesture was meant “as a collective show of the community’s appreciation,” according to a news release from the team.

The stadium normally holds more than 80,000 fans, so the small number of attendees were able to adequately socially distance. Five-hundred people account for less than 1 percent of Lambeau Field’s capacity.

A limited number of fans at Lambeau Field watch a Green Bay Packers game
A limited number of fans at Lambeau Field watch during the first half of an NFL football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. Morry Gash/AP Photo

Green Bay could take a similar approach at home playoff games, according to a column from Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy. The team has yet to announce whether any paying fans could be present at upcoming playoff games. Previously, the team said it’s not looking at specific benchmarks as it decides whether to open games to the public but rather a variety of factors including hospital capacity and whether local schools are open.

The Super Bowl is set to take place in Tampa, Florida. Tickets will be limited with most going to the families of participating players and coaches. Vaccinated health care workers might also be invited to attend, Murphy said.

“I think it will send a strong message and hopefully encourage people across the country to get vaccinated,” he said.