Aaron Rodgers plans to play in Week 18 vs. Lions despite Packers clinching No. 1 seed in NFC

The Green Bay Packers have wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a week to spare. Despite nothing to play for while dealing with a fractured pinkie toe, MVP frontrunner Aaron Rodgers doesn’t plan to sit out the entirety of the season finale.

Rodgers told reporters following Sunday night’s conference-clinching win over the Minnesota Vikings, he expects to play in Week 18 against the Detroit Lions. The QB added that the toe didn’t bother him Sunday, even on the cold night.

“This is the first game that my toe got through the game without any issues, no pregame painkiller shot, so I’m feeling good,” Rodgers said, via the team’s official transcript. “I’m happy about it. There was definitely a time a few weeks ago when we started to project and think if we could get the one seed, it could be two-plus weeks of rest, but I’m going to play next week and I expect Davante (Adams) to play and our guys to play, so we’re looking forward to finishing off the season on a high note and then getting the bye.”

The Packers could sit Rodgers and his toe next week. With the bye, the QB would be able to rest until either Jan. 22 or 23 in the Divisional Round.

For Rodgers, keeping the ball rolling toward the postseason is more important than getting rest. The QB noted he might even get multiple practices this week after sitting out most sessions due to the toe injury.

“I think we were trying to get to that six to eight-week window without any major setbacks. We had a couple (setbacks) along the way, but this was another good week for me and (I) felt good,” he said. “(I) thought about practicing Thursday, but just wasn’t quite 100 percent there mentally. (I) practiced Friday without any issues, no inhibitions, and felt really good — like I said, no pregame shot. I got through the game without getting stepped on or any issues, which was great, so I feel like there’s a legitimate chance I could practice two days this week, definitely practice Friday for sure, and maybe get in Thursday as well, which would be great. And then, without any issues in Detroit, I feel like we’re getting really close. We haven’t done an X-ray in about a week, but there’s definitely significant healing, and we’re getting close to being 100 percent, which I expect to be definitely with the bye week.”

With only one bye in each conference, the Packers have a decision to make that no other team in the NFL is debating: Does Green Bay play most of its starters in a meaningless finale and gamble it can avoid injury or sit them out multiple weeks and risk rust setting in?

“That does seem, for me right now speaking, like a long time,” coach Matt LaFleur said of a two-week break. “We’ll kinda play it by ear. We’ll have conversations tomorrow certainly with our staff, we’ll definitely have talks with our players, and we’ll make the best decision for us. But if you ask me right now, I’d say my gut is that these guys are going to play at least a little bit next week.”

How much “a little bit” is remains to be seen. But as of now, Rodgers won’t hand the reins to Jordan Love to play out the 2021 campaign.

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