Earning a perfect SAT score.
Catching a foul ball.
And the 2022 Green Bay Packers making the playoffs.
All of these have extremely long odds of happening. But the Packers kept their slim hopes alive Monday.
Green Bay got a pair of touchdown runs from A.J. Dillon, held the visiting Los Angeles Rams to 156 total yards and notched a 24-12 win. The Packers won consecutive games for the first time since Week 4, improved to 6-8 and kept their hopes for the postseason alive.
Green Bay maintained its hold on the No. 10 seed in the NFC, and according to ESPN analytics, now has a 12% chance to make the playoffs.
“You work year round to get into the dance to give yourself an opportunity,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “Because … everybody’s goal should be the same at the end of it, so I think we’ve got a long way to go and certainly you just take it one day at a time, one game at a time.”
Philadelphia (13-1), Minnesota (11-3) and San Francisco (10-4) have already clinched their divisions.
Someone has to win the NFC South (currently 6-8 Tampa Bay) and Dallas (10-4) seems locked into the No. 5 spot.
That leaves a handful of teams fighting for the final two playoff spots in the NFC.
The New York Giants (8-5-1) are currently the No. 6 seed, followed by Washington (7-6-1), Seattle (7-7) and Detroit (7-7).
Green Bay’s last three games are daunting — and it can’t afford another loss.
The Packers are at Miami (8-6) on Dec. 25, then host Minnesota (11-3) and Detroit (7-7). That trio has a 24-16 combined record (.600).
So while the odds of Green Bay experiencing postseason football remain long, there’s still a chance. And that’s all the Packers wanted when the night began.
“We’ve got a good opportunity in front of us, so just taking it one game at a time,” running back AJ Dillon said. “We all understand the urgency behind these games, so making sure we’re all dialed in, all on the same page, and I guess not conserving anything, just going all out as much as we can and playing together.”
Here’s the good, bad and ugly from Green Bay’s win over the Rams.
MR. DECEMBER: Packers coach Matt LaFleur has done a lot of good things since taking over in 2019. But LaFleur’s record in regular season games after November borders on mind-boggling.
Green Bay’s win Monday gave LaFleur a 16-1 record in regular season games played in December and January. Green Bay’s only loss in that time came in the 2021 regular season finale, when LaFleur sat many of his standouts during the second half of a 37-30 defeat at Detroit.
Aside from that, LaFleur went 5-0 in December and January regular season games in both 2019 and 2020, 4-1 last year and is 2-0 this season.
“I think anytime the weather gets cold and the field gets cold, naturally guys don’t move maybe at the same speed,” Rodgers said. “I feel like on our field, too, we have the advantage. We know where we’re going on a wet, cold field. That’s always been an advantage.
“Throwing the football has been an advantage for us in the weather as well. I can’t put a specific finger on it. Most of us are not from here, but we just get a little bit better used to being in the cold I think because we practice outside.”
A NOT SO PERFECT 10: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw his 10th interception of the season, the third-most of his career. Rodgers overthrew wideout Allen Lazard right into the waiting arms of safety Taylor Rapp late in the first quarter.
Rodgers threw 13 interceptions in 2008, his first year as a starter. He also threw 11 in 2010 when the Packers won the 45th Super Bowl.
Rodgers has had five seasons with five interceptions, or fewer, since he became the starter in 2008. He also had just nine interceptions combined the last two seasons (2020-2021), when he won back-to-back MVPs.
But Rodgers has been more careless than usual with the ball this year. And it’s resulted in his first double-digit interception season in 12 years.
DAVID BAKHTIARI: It’s certainly no fault of Bakhtiari’s that he suffered an appendectomy on Dec. 2. But it’s just the latest chapter in Bakhtiari’s bad luck story.
Bakhtiari tore his ACL and suffered meniscus damage on Dec. 31, 2020. Green Bay has played 34 games since then, and Bakhtiari has played in just nine of those (26.4%).
Bakhtiari signed a four-year, $105.5 million deal in Nov. 2020, that made him the NFL’s highest paid left tackle. Since then, though, he’s rarely been available.
Monday was just the latest roadblock.
“It is what it is,” Bakhtiari said. “I’m just rolling with the punches now at this point. I can’t really control these certain things. It’s unfortunate.”
Stay informed and stay connected with us for the latest headlines