Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers walks off the field after defeating the Chicago Bears 23-16 at Soldier Field on Nov. 12, 2017 in Chicago. Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers have the unenviable task of being the first team that has to try and stop Aaron Rodgers for the first time in two months. The quarterback makes his return Sunday afternoon when the Green Bay Packers visit Carolina, hoping to keep his team’s playoff hopes alive.

Once among the Super Bowl favorites, Green Bay struggled when Rodgers broke his collarbone against the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 15. The Packers fell out of the NFC North race with Brett Hundley under center, though two straight wins have the team in the wild-card hunt.

Carolina has a chance to reach the postseason as a division or wild-card winner. The Panthers are tied atop the NFC South with the New Orleans Saints, though Drew Brees and Co. own the tiebreaker. Carolina enters Week 15 as the NFC’s No.5 seed, and their 9-4 record puts them two games ahead of Green Bay in the standings.

Not only do the Packers need to win their next three games in order to have a chance of reaching the playoffs, but they’ll have to get some help from the teams that are playing wild-card contenders. Rodgers is well aware that the odds aren’t exactly in Green Bay’s favor.

“Hopefully it gives a lift to some of the guys, but I'm not coming back to save this team,” Rodgers said earlier this week, via espn.com. “I'm coming back to play quarterback the way I know how to play it. Hopefully, we all raise the level of our play collectively and find a way to win these three games.”

The Packers definitely have to raise their level of play if they want to win in Carolina. The Panthers’ only loss in the last six weeks came on the road against the Saints. Carolina is coming off a victory against Minnesota, who was the NFC’s No.1 seed at the start of Week 14.

The Panthers have a top-three defense in the conference. Only two NFL teams have allowed fewer rushing yards than Carolina. Rodgers won’t have much room for error in his return.

Just about everyone has been able to have at least some success against Green Bay’s defense. The team has surrendered at least 23 points in all but two games since Week 2, only keeping the Chicago Bears and their 31st ranked offense in check.

Look for Cam Newton to have one of his best games of 2017.

The bettings odds at OddsShark favor the Panthers by three points. The game’s over/under is 47.

Prediction: Carolina over Green Bay, 30-23