Tom Brady's Patriots beat Aaron Rodgers' Packers, who are in danger of missing playoffs

Is Aaron Rodgers better than Tom Brady? The argument can clearly be made, and we’ll debate that for a long, long time.

Here’s what can’t be debated: Brady is in a better situation. He has been for practically his entire career. We were reminded of that again on Sunday night.

The New England Patriots are a remarkable franchise. They didn’t have starting running back Sony Michel or all-world tight end Rob Gronkowski. It didn’t matter. Receiver/returner Cordarrelle Patterson again played the role of the Patriots’ lead tailback. A trick play pass from Julian Edelman to James White sparked a big fourth quarter. The Patriots ended up wearing down yet another opponent, finding creative ways to win, 31-17.

And the Green Bay Packers, with arguably the greatest, most talented quarterback who has ever played the game, are in danger of not even making the playoffs.

The Packers are in danger of missing the playoffs

The NFC Is pretty good this season. In the Packers’ division, the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears won on Sunday. The Carolina Panthers are already 6-2 and only in second place of the NFC South. Teams like the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles (or Washington Redskins) and Seattle Seahawks might be factors in the wild-card race too.

The Packers are 3-4-1. That’s not a death sentence. But the math gets pretty daunting.

If it’s going to take 10 wins to get a wild-card spot in the NFC, the Packers need to go 7-1 over their last eight games to get there. They’ll need to go 6-2 just to get to nine wins and a tie. It’s really hard to believe that an 8-7-1 team would be good enough to make the playoffs in the NFC.

Once upon a time, Rodgers predicted the Packers would “run the table” to make the playoffs, and then they did. They might have to come close to that this time. Even though Rodgers has been dealing with a knee injury this season and hasn’t been the same force of nature he has been in the past, it’s pretty startling the Packers are in this spot.

Couple key plays go Patriots’ way

The Packers certainly didn’t catch any breaks on Sunday night. They lost multiple key players to injury, like offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga and linebacker Blake Martinez. They were tied 17-17 going into the fourth quarter when Aaron Jones lost a fumble deep in Patriots territory. That set up Edelman’s trick pass to White and a go-ahead touchdown. Jones had 140 touches in his first 17 NFL games and had not fumbled once.

The Patriots hit another big play, from Brady to Josh Gordon for a 55-yard touchdown, to put the Packers away. It was a methodical win by the Patriots without their talented rookie running back and star tight end. We’ve seen that plenty of times before. The Patriots coaches always seem to figure it out. Even when they’re down to spare parts, they find a way.

The Packers have played pretty well the past two weeks and have nothing to show for it. They fought the Rams hard and led in the fourth quarter before the Rams took the lead and since-traded Ty Montgomery fumbled away Green Bay’s last chance. The Packers were tied into the fourth quarter Sunday, driving to take the lead before Jones’ first career fumble.

The Packers need real wins, not moral ones. At 3-4-1 they’re in danger of missing the playoffs. That’s not something we ever say about the Patriots with Brady, though that says more about the two organizations than the quarterbacks.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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