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Aaron Rodgers: 'I'm not coming back to save' Packers

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  • By Edward Lewis NFL.com
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The Packers' best player is coming back. Hopes to finish the season 3-0 and get a spot in the playoffs are now at an all-time high in Green Bay.

But Aaron Rodgers cautioned he's not taking the field Sunday for the first time since breaking his collarbone in Week 6 looking to be Superman.

"I'm not coming back to save this team," he said to reporters Wednesday. "I'm coming back to play quarterback the way I know how to play it and hopefully we all raise the level of our play collectively and find a way to win these three games."

Like it or not, though, the Packers need Rodgers to play like Rodgers in order to get through a gauntlet of tough teams (at Carolina, vs. Minnesota, at Detroit) and finish the season with a 10-6 record.

With Rodgers this year, the Pack are 4-1, averaging 27.4 points per game. Without Rodgers, who's been sidelined since getting driven into the turf in Minnesota on Oct. 15, Green Bay is just 3-5, averaging 18.5 points per game and needing overtime to beat the winless Browns and the 4-9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It's unclear just how much Rodgers' collarbone has healed over the past eight weeks. The quarterback declined to put a percentage on it, saying, "I'm not going to get into that. I'm cleared." For the QB, the bigger concern appears to be just what kind of rust he'll experience against a Carolina Panthers team that boasts one of the toughest defenses in the NFL.

"I feel confident I'll be able to go out there and play the way I've always played," Rodgers said. "But I've been off for seven games and out for a while. So, it's going to take getting out there, getting that first pass in, that first hit, then I'll probably settle down."

Rodgers insists his play won't change because of the injury. He said Green Bay's offense won't look different -- if anything, he plans to get Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb more involved. For the quarterback, he's cleared, and he's hopeful that'll be enough to give the Packers a shot to do the improbable and earn a playoff berth at the end of this upcoming three-game stretch.

"We did it last year," Rodgers said. "We were 4-6. A lot of people counted us out. I saw something that we have 750-to-1 odds to make the playoffs. But we've never shied away from those types of circumstances and we're not going to again."

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