It's never easy to project health more than a week out, but the chatter around the Green Bay Packers is that Aaron Rodgers will be in uniform when they take the field against Atlanta.
The suggestion of Rodgers' return began trickling in shortly after the Lions' drubbing of Green Bay Thanksgiving morning. Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel was one of the first to report it, writing, "[Mike] McCarthy wouldn't say for sure that Rodgers would be ready for the Falcons, but given the game will be played exactly five weeks after Rodgers suffered a cracked collarbone, its' a good bet he'll be out there."
Rodgers passed an important hurdle earlier this week when he practiced with the team for the first time since the injury. While it wasn't enough progress for the doctors to clear him for Detroit, Rodgers does indeed seem to be on track for a return against the Falcons.
The Packers have started three different quarterbacks over the past four games, with no one passer standing out in a positive way for more than a few quarters. Not coincidentally, Green Bay hasn't won a game over that span.
Rodgers' return should end the skid, but it might be too late. Many things need to break the Packers way in order to get back in the postseason race as winning out alone wouldn't guarantee the Packers a playoff berth. At 5-6-1, the Packers stand firmly behind the Lions (7-5) and Bears (6-5) in the NFC North. Similarly, five teams not currently leading their division sit ahead of Green Bay in the standings. They still have a shot, but the odds aren't with this team right now. At least the Packers get to face them with their starting quarterback, though.