Five days ago, Aaron Rodgers said he thinks “things are looking up” when asked about the Green Bay Packers’ 2022 season. And now he can say the same about his team’s playoff chances following the Packers’ 26-20 win over the Miami Dolphins on Christmas Day.
“Everything we needed to happen this weekend happened,” Rodgers said after the game.
The win pushed Green Bay’s postseason odds to 27%, according to FiveThirtyEight. It also gave the New York Jets and New England Patriots a better chance of making the playoffs with two weeks left in the season.
Tua Tagovailoa threw three straight fourth-quarter interceptions as the Packers rallied from a 20-13 halftime deficit to improve to 7-8.
Rodgers turned back the clock
It was a vintage game for Rodgers, who looked every bit the back-to-back MVP in this game despite a season of frustrations leading up to the matchup.
He completed 24 of 38 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown, but also threw one interception in the end zone. Rodgers completed huge passes to set up the Packers’ scoring drives, however, including a long pass to veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis (who caught the halftime touchdown).
Rodgers was particularly effective against the blitz. Miami blitzed Rodgers on 26 dropbacks, second ESPNwhich he answered with 192 yards and his only touchdown.
The Dolphins make a big splash in the first half
This was a story of two halves for Tagovailoa and the dolphins.
Miami looked poised for another big offensive outing after Tagovailoa went 9-of-12 for 229 yards and a touchdown that included huge passes to Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill in the first half. But defensive adjustments in the Packers’ second half held back Tagovailoa, who completed just seven passes for 81 yards and three picks. Hill, who caught three passes for 84 yards in the first half, caught just one more pass for 20 yards the rest of the game.
The Dolphins’ last five possessions of the game dating back to the second quarter were a fumble, a missed field goal, and then Tagovailoa’s three interceptions.
Green Bay’s chances of making the playoffs aren’t high, but not impossible after this win. If they win, the Packers have an 89% chance of reaching the postseason. They also need help from teams playing against the Washington Commanders, Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks.
However, the AFC’s playoff run got even more interesting with the Dolphins’ loss. The Jets and Patriots are still alive for a spot and both still play the Dolphins in the final two weeks of the season. Miami can still secure a postseason berth with a win over the Patriots next week coupled with a loss by the Jets. The Los Angeles Chargers can also clinch the playoffs with a win on Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts. Both the The Pittsburgh Steelers and Las Vegas Raiders are also still in the postseason hunt, although the odds are very high.
It’s going to be a crazy two weeks of the regular season.