Green Bay had no right winning the NFC North after former NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, considered the league’s best overall quarterback, went down with a broken collarbone in Week 9. That should have ended any chance of postseason play for the Pack. However, Rodgers’ return for the regular-season finale has changed the entire dynamic of how to bet on the Super Bowl.
Almost Fatal Blow
The Packers were finding their stride when Rodgers was hurt early in the first quarter of Green Bay’s home game November 4 against Chicago. Green Bay had won four straight and the team looked the best it had all year – it was the NFC’s second favorite on the Super Bowl betting odds. Then Rodgers was sacked by Bears defensive lineman Shea McClellin on the Packers’ first offensive drive.
The Packers lost that game and would drop three of the next four as well, the only non-defeat a 26-26 tie against Minnesota. Backup QB Matt Flynn led Green Bay to wins in Week 14 over Atlanta and Week 15 in Dallas. But when Green Bay lost 38-31 at home to Pittsburgh on December 22, the Packers’ season was in jeopardy at 7-7-1. Had Chicago won their game that night, Green Bay would have been eliminated from the NFC North race. The Bears were crushed in Philadelphia to set up a winner-take-all division game in Week 17.
Rodgers not only played against the Bears, he threw one of the most clutch TD passes in Green Bay history, a 48-yarder to Randall Cobb on fourth-and-8 with 38 seconds remaining for a 33-28 win. It gave the Packers their third division crown in a row. The previous two years, Green Bay didn’t make it past the divisional round despite being a Super Bowl online betting favorite.
Consider this for your Super Bowl betting tips: this season is shaping up like 2010. Back then Rodgers suffered a concussion in Week 14, a loss in Detroit. The Packers lost the next week in New England with Rodgers out. He returned for Week 16, a must-win against the Giants, and threw for 404 yards and four scores in the 45-17 victory.
Green Bay wouldn’t lose again. They beat the Bears in Week 17 to earn a wild card spot, then won at Philadelphia, Atlanta and Chicago in the playoffs to reach the Super Bowl. The Packers were 3-point favorites on the Super Bowl point spread in XLV against Pittsburgh and won 31-25. Rodgers was the MVP.
Green Bay is 12/1 on the Super Bowl odds heading into these playoffs. That’s fourth in the NFC behind Seattle (11/4), San Francisco (3/1) and Carolina (9/1). The Pack are 3-point dogs on the Super Bowl lines against the Niners for the postseason opener. That will likely be their only home playoff game, but Rodgers and Co. have proven they can win road playoff games. Rodgers also is the only QB among that favored quartet to have won a Super Bowl.
In addition, the 2013 Packers have what the 2010 version didn’t: a strong running game behind rookie Eddie Lacy. The Packers’ top exact Super Bowl matchup is against AFC favorite Denver at 12/1.