GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Here's a look at the first half of the season for the Green Bay Packers and a preview of what to expect the second half:
First-half snapshot: The Packers were on cruise control at 4-1 with Aaron Rodgers playing some of the best football of his career when everything crumbled in Week 6 at Minnesota, where the quarterback broke his right clavicle. It became Brett Hundley's team from that moment on, but the third-year backup couldn't do what Rodgers had done, which was cover up a banged-up offensive line and another shaky defensive unit. Without an MVP-level quarterback, this team has major problems and little hope for the postseason. Grade: Bring on 2018
Midseason MVP: Rodgers was about to put himself into contention for a third NFL MVP until Anthony Barr wrapped him up and put him on the U.S. Bank Stadium turf. Rodgers had thrown 13 touchdowns and just three interceptions in five-plus games and had rallied the Packers to comeback wins against the Bengals in overtime and Cowboys with 11 seconds to play.
Best moment: It was on that final Packers play in Dallas where Rodgers hit Davante Adams for a 12-yard touchdown pass in a 35-31 win. It was Adams’ second touchdown of the game, and it came just 10 days after he was taken off Lambeau Field on a gurney following a hard hit from Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan. Adams spent that night in the hospital and came back as the hero in the next game with seven catches for 66 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Worst moment: An injury-filled season might have been survivable with Rodgers at quarterback. He may have been able to overcome all the changing parts on the offensive line and to make up for all the banged-up defensive backs. But when Rodgers went down at Minnesota, most of the hope for a Super Bowl season was lost. And little has changed in the weeks since Rodgers’ injury to make anyone believe it won’t be the defining moment of this season.
Second-half outlook: There’s hope Rodgers could come back late in the season like he did when he broke his left collarbone in 2013. That year, the Packers still had something to play for when Rodgers returned for the regular-season finale at Chicago, where he led them to a Week 17 win that gave them the NFC North title at 8-7-1. But that kind of record probably won’t be good enough to win the division this year unless the Vikings collapse like the Lions did in 2013. If the Packers don't win enough games to stay in contention, then Rodgers isn't coming off injured reserve for a late-season comeback.