Aaron Rodgers has finger on way into playoffs: Wins, 'a little help'

MINNEAPOLIS -- Aaron Rodgers pledged one thing.

It wasn't that the Green Bay Packers would "run the table" -- his mantra in 2016 when they were 4-6 and won out all the way to the NFC Championship Game.

It pertained to himself after another missed opportunity Sunday night at Minnesota, where the Packers fell to 0-6 on the road and 4-6-1 overall with Sunday night's 24-17 loss at U.S. Bank Stadium.

"I know I've got to play better," he said. "But I will. And we'll put ourselves in position."

And that's how Rodgers ended his postgame news conference.

Before that, however, he acknowledged that even his best might not be enough to save this season. Yes, they have five winnable games considering their remaining schedule is tied with the Rams for the easiest in the NFL. But after losing the tiebreaker to the Vikings, they could still miss the playoffs at 9-6-1.

"You can crunch the numbers there," Rodgers said. "I can tell you 8-7-1 won't get in, though. I don't think.

"We are where we're at right now record-wise. We're going to need some help from some teams and then we've got to take care of our own business, you know? We're going to have to find a way to win a game on the road. We're 0-6 on the road. So we just got to go back home, get some rest, beat Arizona ... and then come back and beat Atlanta ... then go to Chicago, a place we've won a number of times, beat them ... go to New York around Christmas, beat them ...and then come home against Detroit, beat them. Get a little help."

Rodgers' play wasn't terrible. He just hasn't been as precise as in past seasons. After the game, he lamented overthrowing Davante Adams for what would have been a 20-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter and bouncing a pass at the feet of rookie Equanimeous St. Brown, a throw he blamed on his grip. A week earlier at Seattle, he bounced a key third-down pass at the feet of Marquez Valdes-Scantling on the final possession.

If the Packers miss the playoffs, it will be the first time they've done so in consecutive years since Rodgers became the starter in 2008. Last year, he missed half the season with a broken collarbone. This year, he has started every game despite a Week 1 knee injury that he says is no longer a factor.

"That's definitely frustrating," said Rodgers, whose lone Super Bowl came in the 2010 season. "Obviously, I've got a lot more gray in the beard than I did a few years ago. So I know that football mortality catches up to everybody, and you never want to lose a season -- especially when you felt great starting the season about our prospects. But we're going to battle the next five weeks and put ourselves in a position to be in the conversation. Then hopefully it'll be enough, and like I always say, you've just got to get in. So we've got to win these five and see what happens."

Rodgers referenced the 2016 season, when the playoffs seemed like a long shot for the 4-6 team.

The Packers are still looking for the "galvanizing moment" that Rodgers referenced 10 days earlier after the loss at Seattle.

"We'll see what we're made of the last five weeks," Rodgers said. "Are we going to stick together in these tough times, or are we going to start splintering? I'd like to think the leadership is in place that we can stick together through whatever happens, but these five weeks will show it."