Aaron Rodgers Expected to Start for Packers in Week 18 Despite Clinching No. 1 Seed

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 7, 2022

Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers thorws during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
AP Photo/Morry Gash

The Green Bay Packers plan to start Aaron Rodgers in Week 18 against the Detroit Lions even though the team has locked up the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

"I don't think he needs to play. I think he wants to play and keep the momentum going," Packers coach Matt LaFleur told reporters Friday.

The decision to play seems to have been left up to Rodgers, who has been dealing with a toe injury for several weeks. The prevailing logic was he would take Week 18 and the Wild Card Round to rest up for the playoffs, but that appears to not be the case.

Rodgers is the favorite to win his second straight MVP after throwing for 3,977 yards and 35 touchdowns against four interceptions while leading the Packers to a 13-2 record in games he started. He missed one game after testing positive for COVID-19. 

After the positive test, Rodgers admitted he misled the public regarding his vaccination status and then publicly touted vaccine misinformation. His off-field behavior, including a trade demand in the offseason, has led one MVP voter to say he would not cast his ballot for him.

None of that has impacted his play on the field. He's led the Packers to five straight victories and has thrown for 18 touchdowns without an interception over his last six games. 

It appears Rodgers is determined to keep the hot streak going and be on the field Sunday, though it's unclear for how long.