Aaron Rodgers is back and it's just in the nick of time for Green Bay. Packers coach Mike McCarthy announced on Thursday that Rodgers will be the team's starting quarterback for Sunday's winner-take-all regular season finale at Chicago.
A win over the Bears would send the Packers to the postseason for the fifth straight time. A loss to Chicago would drop Green Bay to 7-8-1, giving the Packers only their second losing season since Rodgers took over as the team's full-time starting quarterback in 2008.
"We've done our due diligence. We feel it's time for Aaron to play," McCarthy said. "He's throwing the ball very well. He's been working his feet and he's been working his conditioning. He's been getting ready for this moment and that moment's here."
McCarthy said the decision to start Rodgers was made on Christmas Eve, however, he didn't inform the team until Thursday morning.
Rodgers hasn't played since fracturing his collarbone on Nov. 4 against the Bears. With Rodgers out, the Packers went 2-4-1, but those two wins were just enough to keep Green Bay in the NFC North race.
The Bears also helped the Packers stay in the division race by losing to Philadelphia on Sunday. If Chicago had beaten the Eagles, the Bears would have clinched the NFC North and this week's game would have meant nothing to the Packers.
In the seven games before Rodgers was injured, the Packers went 5-2 and averaged 30.2 points per game. In seven games without Rodgers, Green Bay went 2-4-1 and the team's scoring average dropped to 21.7 points per game.
McCarthy also announced that running back Eddie Lacy would likely play against the Bears. Lacy injured his ankle in the second half against the Steelers last week and never returned to the game.