Aaron Rodgers looks 'very good' at practice, could play this weekend
The key for Rodgers - as has been the case for a while - will now be getting cleared to play. If Rodgers takes a shot to his collarbone before it fully heals, he will risk a displacement, and the Packers understand that risking missing the playoffs in one season is better than risking your franchise quarterback's long-term health. Rodgers will undergo a CT scan on Friday, and the results will determine whether he is behind center on Sunday or if Matt Flynn will get another shot as the starter.
While he has not yet been cleared to take contact, Rodgers has been able to do plenty of individual work over the past few weeks, so he should not be all that rusty when he returns to action. If he is able to play, it will be great news for the Packers, who are facing the Pittsburgh Steelers this week. The Steelers already knocked off one of the Packers' division rivals - the Detroit Lions - earlier in the season, but with Rodgers on the field, the Packers will be the favorites to win that game.
Green Bay is currently half a game behind the Chicago Bears for the lead of the NFC North, so Rodgers' return may come right in time for the Packers to make a late push for the playoffs. The Bears will head to Philadelphia to face the Eagles this weekend, and the combination of the Eagles' league-best run game and the Bears' league-worst run defense has me thinking that the Bears are slated for a loss. With Rodgers behind center, the Packers could very well be back in first place on Monday morning.
Finally, we have Rodgers' fantasy owners who held on to their elite quarterback through his devastating injury. If you own Rodgers and somehow managed to still make it to your fantasy championship (hopefully you picked up Nick Foles), Rodgers can be considered an elite option if active and you should insert him back into your lineup.
Rodgers is far from a lock to play this week, but the optimism coming from Packers practice is vastly exceeding any other traces of optimism that we have heard since the injury. Keep your ears open on Friday, because the Packers will make a huge announcement regarding Rodgers' availability, and it could go either way.