Aaron Rodgers has made a Hall of Fame career by happily leading his team to victory with his right-hand man.
Characterized by the slow power, accuracy, and decision-making that made the Green and Gold No. 12 one of the best quarterbacks of his generation, Rodgers breathed a sigh of relief when Green Bay’s defense and special teams faltered. It gave me the leeway. What the Packers lack in the other two phases.
Ahead of Sunday night’s tilt against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field, which the Packers must win to make the playoffs, they’re aiming for a five-game winning streak that will rob them of one of the league’s perhaps unfamiliar but advantageous I find myself in a situation. Biggest disappointment for the NFC’s No. 7 playoff seed.
The last time the Packers turned the table like this was in 2016, when they finished 10-6 in their final six games to outsmart the NFC North after starting 4-6. In that six-game span, Rodgers averaged 277.8 passing yards per game for a total of 15 passing touchdowns and no interceptions. From Weeks 12 to 17 that year, no quarterback threw as many TDs his passes as Rodgers. According to TruMedia, he was also the only qualifying quarterback not to throw a pick during that period, and ranked second in expected points per dropback (EPA) behind Atlanta’s Matt Ryan. (The Falcons eventually defeated the Packers in the NFC Championship Game, and Ryan won the NFL MVP award.)
During the Packers’ four straight wins this season, Rodgers averaged 202 passing yards per game with four passing touchdowns and two interceptions. From Weeks 13 through 17, including Green Bay’s Week 14 bye, Rodgers was tied for 20th in touchdown passes. His nine quarterbacks who qualified threw fewer picks. Rogers ranked 14th in EPA per dropback.
Don’t twist it: Rodgers still has great ability, as he did on Christmas Day against the Dolphins with a pinpoint throw to tight end Marcedes Ruiz to gain 31 yards down the left flank. Quarterback coach Tom Clements said — or his patented pump fake and touchdown scramble against the Vikings to give the Packers a 40-3 lead last Sunday.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) December 25, 2022
Rodgers’ level of play this season suggests he may not be able to play Heroball in a full game. Because the Packers don’t need him.
“Yeah, I mean, I want to,” Rodgers said of carrying the team on his back. “I want to be 15 (touchdown passes) and 0 (intercepts). It was a fun run. But those are different teams. Different players, different mindsets, different schemes. If I am efficient, manage the football as well as I can and make the right checks, I can have a positive impact on the game and I take a lot of pride in that and the preparation and the performance. I want to throw more touchdowns and score more points.”
Regardless of how you feel about the state of back-to-back NFL MVP games, a four-game win streak isn’t the only encouraging sign for the team’s playoff prospects if the Packers beat the Lions on Sunday night. . not only, how they did it
With wins over the Bears, Rams, Dolphins and Vikings, the Packers allowed 17 points per game. This is because he ranked 8th in the NFL after Week 13, but from Weeks 1 through 12 he was ranked 22nd in that category (he was ranked 22nd in each game). is allowed 23.58 points). In the past five weeks, only one team has forced more turnovers than the Packers’ 12, and no team has intercepted more passes (the Packers have nine picks). . From Week 1 through his Week 12, the Packers intercepted passes only eight times, forcing 12 turnovers.
The running game remained solid throughout the season, with the Packers ranked 7th in Offensive EPA per Rush from Weeks 1-12 and 7th from Weeks 13-17.
On special teams, kicker Mason Crosby attempted all nine field goals in the team’s four-game winning streak (and 13 straight from Week 10). Keisean Nixon has also established himself as the returner of the NFL’s best kicks and dangerous punts. Since Week 13, Nixon has averaged 41.5 yards per kick his return, putting him more than 10 yards ahead of any other player in the league. He is the only player to return a touchdown kickoff in that time.
Keisean Nixon hasn’t practiced all week.
On Sunday morning, he texted Rich Bisatcha.
“I feel like a Ferrari.”
After Nixon’s 105-yard kick return TD, the Packers could use some more magic from him to make the playoffs against the Lions on Sunday night: https://t.co/wlCoz0Npv3
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) January 3, 2023
At this point, having Rodgers play hero ball would be a bonus given how well other aspects of the team have been performing lately. Even if his numbers didn’t explode from box-scoring like he did in NBA and countless games over the past 15 years, I still find immense value in what Rodgers has accomplished.
“I don’t know Heroball. I don’t use that kind of terminology,” said LaFleur. “But I think everybody goes out there and does their job. I think he’s made an incredible number of throws in the last four games, but the way he manipulates and guides him to play properly. This is very important for all teams…if you can make a good play, your odds of making that play are exponentially higher than if you make a bad play. functionally higher.”
It’s been six years since his first table run, and Rodgers thinks this year’s team is better, if not by typical statistical standards at least.
what’s that? Is the team he was 4-8 five weeks ago better than the one that made the NFC title game?
“I think we’re going to line it up in terms of personnel, but overall I think we’re a slightly more talented team than that one,” Rodgers said. “Now there are some guys on that team who have won some really big football games. I think there is definitely in the back end the way our players play on this defense is probably a little bit better on that side of the ball offense is probably pretty similar and Cayson “There’s Nixon.”
With that balance, the Packers will need to rely less on Rogers and rely on complementary football if they want to do more damage than just beat the Lions and make it to the playoffs.
Given the way they did last month, this might really be a team no one wants to see in the postseason. This is especially true if the will start doing so again with lethal ability.
(Photo by Aaron Rodgers: Stacey Revere/Getty Images)