It’s hard to imagine that anyone could look at Aaron Rodgers season so far and say that he is struggling. He’s thrown for over 3,000 yards with 27 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, while hitting 65 percent of this throws. But as the Packers were mired in a four-game slide that saw them go from 4-2 to 4-6, that’s exactly what people were saying. Then this past Monday night happened. Rodgers picked apart the Philadelphia Eagles, hitting 30-39 for 313 yards and two touchdowns, the Packers won 27-13 and at 5-6, are two games behind NFC North division-leading Detroit with five games to play.

While the biggest key to the game was the fast start the Packers got off to, scoring touchdowns on their first two drives, as is usually the case for Green Bay, it was the play of their future Hall of Fame signal caller that ultimately made the difference. Rodgers was at his best on third downs, hitting 9-10 throws, helping the Packers convert on 71 percent of their third down chances, the highest percentage they’ve converted since week eight of the 2013 season. This was a particularly remarkable feat because the Eagles came into the game only allowing opponents to convert on 31 percent of their third down opportunities.

Rodgers also carved up the Eagles defense when they sent a standard four-man rush. The Eagles had been holding opponents to just 57 percent completions when rushing four coming into the game, but Rodgers hit 25-31 passes. His 81 percent completion percentage against the four-man rush was the highest the Eagles had allowed in two years.

As impressive as these numbers are, there was one particular fourth quarter drive that showed why the Packers always have a chance to win as long as Rodgers is under center. The 8:21 drive included a 21-yard completion to Jordy Nelson on 4th and 5 that put the Packers in field goal range and ensured they wouldn’t lose for a fifth straight week.

Put it all together and the Packers are clearly back in the playoff hunt. Even though they are two games behind the Lions, they currently hold the tiebreaker thanks to 34-27 victory in week three and they will face the Lions again in week 17. Because of some rough early season losses, the Packers will have to run the table to have a shot at making the playoffs. Even though the ESPN Football Power Index only gives them a 30 percent chance of making the postseason, it does have them favored in each of their last five games.

It certainly won’t be an easy task with the Texans, Seahawks and Vikings coming to Lambeau and road trips to long-time rival Chicago and the season finale in Detroit, but if Rodgers can maintain the vintage form he showed Monday night, the Packers certainly can’t be counted out. As we saw last season, the Packers and Rodgers were at their best when everyone else had written them off, so the pressure will clearly be on the Lions to avoid a late-season fade that could open the door for Green Bay to not only earn a wild card, but possibly claim the NFC North title.

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