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.

See photos from Sunday night's game: 

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Sunday Night Football: Patriots host, beat Packers
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Sunday Night Football: Patriots host, beat Packers
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 04: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts during the first half against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 4: New England Patriots' Adrian Clayborn sacks Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers during the fourth quarter. The New England Patriots host the Green Bay Packers in a regular season NFL football game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA on Nov. 4, 2018. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 04: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers reacts as he holds his right wrist during the second half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 04: Antonio Morrison #44 of the Green Bay Packers tackles Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots during the second half at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 04: Kyle Van Noy #53 of the New England Patriots tackles Aaron Jones #33 of the Green Bay Packers during the second half at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 04: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots signals for a touchdown during the second half against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 04: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers throws a pass during the second half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 04: Adrian Clayborn #94 of the New England Patriots celebrates after sacking Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers (not pictured) during the second half at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 04: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers reacts during the second half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 04: Jaire Alexander #23 of the Green Bay Packers is assisted by training staff during the second half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 04: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots throws the ball during the second half against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 04: James White #28 of the New England Patriots runs with the ball during the second half against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 04: Bashaud Breeland #26 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates with teammates after breaking up a pass in the end zone during the second half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 4: New England Patriots' Cordarrelle Patterson sails into the end zone with a second quarter five yard rushing touchdown. The New England Patriots host the Green Bay Packers in a regular season NFL football game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA on Nov. 4, 2018. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 4: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) gets a hand from offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, right, as the clock was running down in the New England victory over the Packers. The New England Patriots host the Green Bay Packers in a regular season NFL football game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA on Nov. 4, 2018. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 4: New England Patriots' Julian Edelman cannot hold onto this pass with defensive pressure from the Packers' Jaire Alexander (23) and Blake Martinez during the first quarter. The New England Patriots host the Green Bay Packers in a regular season NFL football game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA on Nov. 4, 2018. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 04: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots high fives Brian Hoyer #2 and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels during the second half against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 04: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots talks with Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers after the Patriots defeated the Packers 31-17 at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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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 Schwabis a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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