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Aaron Rodgers, Packers Clinch 2019 NFL Playoff Berth After Falcons Beat 49ers

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IIIDecember 16, 2019

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 01:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates a touchdown in the first quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on December 01, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers are a playoff team for the first time since the 2016 season after the Atlanta Falcons' last-second victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.  

Earlier Sunday, the Packers beat the Bears 21-13 in an NFC North clash to move to 11-3 on the year.

While Green Bay is only in its first year under head coach Matt LaFleur, the clock is ticking on two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers. The 36-year-old quarterback acknowledged on Dec. 4 that he's "seeing the 18th hole coming up, realizing I can't play forever and the opportunities don't come along all the time." 

Rodgers has led the Packers offense with 3,463 yards, 24 touchdowns and two interceptions. However, he has been aided by a strong running game—something that has largely been absent in Green Bay during Rodgers' career. 

Running back Aaron Jones is the team's leading rusher with 830 yards and 14 touchdowns, while Jamaal Williams has complemented him with 427 yards and a touchdown of his own. Their production in the backfield helped Green Bay wade through Weeks 5 through 8 without top receiver Davante Adams (turf toe). Williams leads all Packers receivers with five receiving touchdowns.

Rodgers' description of this year's squad speaks to that: 

"I think the identity is 'embracing your role.' I really do. I've talked about Marcedes (Lewis), or Jimmy (Graham), or Kyler Fackrell, or Blake Martinez, or Jamaal Williams, or Geronimo Allison, there's been a lot of guys who've really had to embrace a specific role this year, and I think the beauty in seeing the chemistry of the team and the personality of the team has been the response of those guys."

If Rodgers and the Packers plan on winning their first championship since 2010, they'll have to traverse through a stacked NFC. That was made evident by the 11-3 San Francisco 49ers' 37-8 trampling of the Packers in Week 12.

Next, the Packers will set their sights on locking up the NFC North, with the Vikings sitting behind them at 10-4 and a matchup looming in Week 16.