Few teams have been inundated with injuries the way the Green Bay Packers have been this season. But the Packers have found a way to survive injuries to players like Bryan Bulaga, Randall Cobb, and Jermichael Finley and remain one of the top teams in the NFC. They’ve been able to do so in large part because of the play of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. However, now that Rodgers has joined the list of injured players, and will miss roughly three weeks, is this one injury too many for the Packers? Can they survive three weeks without Rodgers?
At first glance, it would seem like Green Bay has a manageable schedule for the next three weeks, with home games against the Eagles and Vikings, and a road game against the Giants. However, without Rodgers that schedule may be harder to traverse than people think. While the Eagles have been maddeningly inconsistent this season, they’re also coming off a 49-point outburst last week, and if their offense performs close to that level against the Packers, the Green Bay offense could have a hard time keeping up with Rodgers and key skill position players on the sidelines. The Giants shouldn’t be considered an easy win either, as they’ve won their last two games and possess enough talent to give the Packers problems, especially with Green Bay being far from full strength. Minnesota may seem like an easy win as well, but without Rodgers nothing should be taken for granted.
With Rodgers, the Packers would have been considerable favorites to win all three of those games. But if they lose one or possibly two of those three games because Rodgers is injured, it could have a lasting effect on their season, even after Rodgers returns. Following Green Bay’s loss to the Bears on Monday night, the Packers are now in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC North along with Chicago and Detroit. It’s unlikely that that all three teams will be able to make the playoffs, which means that in the NFC North there could be a thin line between winning the division and missing the postseason altogether, and if the Packers trip up during Rodgers’ absence, it could make all the difference at the end of the season.
What makes Rodgers’ injury particularly worrisome is the fact that it’s on top of all the other injuries the Packers have been forced to endure this season. Backup Seneca Wallace would have a far easier time filling in for a few weeks if the rest of the Green Bay offense were at full strength. But while Rodgers has been able to get by a lackluster group of receivers, such a task won’t be so easy for Wallace, who was just 11 for 19 for 114 yards Monday night against a Chicago defense that’s average at best.
Against the Bears, Green Bay converted just one of their nine third-down opportunities, which is a concern for the Packers after Wallace did not look impressive throwing the ball down field. The Packers will try to establish the run more with Rodgers out, and that has a chance to work with the emergence of rookie Eddie Lacy, but even with close to 200 yards rushing and nearly seven yards per rush against the Bears, Green Bay was still unable to score more than 20 points without a reliable passing attack.
Being without Rodgers for three weeks doesn’t necessarily signal the inevitable collapse of the Packers, but it puts them in a difficult spot while being in the midst of a tight division race. Rodgers is the primary reason why Green Bay has been able to withstand all of the other injuries they’ve had to key players this season, and he was easily the player they could least afford to lose. Between their running game and their defense, the Packers may have enough to endure three weeks without Rodgers. But the margin for error is thin in the NFC North, and a few games without Rodgers could end up making a big difference.
2013 Fantasy Football Top Quarterbacks: Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Cam Newton and More
With fantasy football drafts just around the corner, it’s time to take a look at the top 10 quarterbacks for the 2013 season. The quarterback position is as deep as it has been in a long time and it’s not nearly as important as in years past to get a top tier quarterback in the first couple of rounds. When you look at the top ten quarterbacks there isn’t nearly as noticeable of a drop off from one to ten and there are even solid quarterbacks outside of the top ten.1. Aaron Rodgers GB | QB
You can certainly make an argument that Brees should be the No. 1 QB, but when you look at the rushing yards and lack of interceptions from Rodgers I think he is still numero uno. The Packers did lose Greg Jennings, but Rodgers will not have a hard time moving the ball with players like Cobb, Nelson, Finely and Jones. Quarterbacks will not go off the draft board nearly a quickly as in years past, so look for Rodgers to get drafted in the early second round in most drafts.
2. Drew Brees NO | QB
Brees had an amazing season last year and there is no reason to think that he can’t do it again. The Saints will get their coaching staff back and Brees has pretty much the same weapons as last year. When you look at all of the other quarterbacks in the top 10 he is one of the few that doesn’t add anything with his legs, but it’s hard to look past his league leading passing TDs and passing yards from 2012.3. Peyton Manning DEN | QB
There were so many question marks around Manning coming into last year, but he certainly silenced all of his critiques. His arm strength seems to be pretty much back to 100% and at this point I think it’s fine to say his neck injury is a non issue. Manning already had a decent amount of weapons on that offense and he now has Montee Ball and Wes Welker to help put points on the board. The Broncos are the favorite to win the Super Bowl this year and that offense should put a ton of fantasy points on the board.4. Cam Newton CAR | QB
Even though Newton didn’t do as well as some people were thinking, he still had a very productive year. He was second among quarterbacks with 741 rushing yards and he had 8 rushing touchdowns. His touchdown to interception ratio was worst than anyone else on this list, but he is still worth being ranked at No. 4 just because of what he can do with his legs. That offense didn’t really get any better during the offseason, but I expect him to at least match his numbers from a year ago.5. Tom Brady NE | QB
Brady had another solid year in 2012, but there are too many question marks on that offense for us to rank him any higher. He lost his favorite target in Wes Welker, Hernandez will likely be in jail, Gronkowski is banged up, and Woodhead is in San Diego There is no doubt in my mind that the Patriots will still find a way to put points on the board, but it’s not going to be as easy as it’s been in the past.6. Russell Wilson SEA | QB
Wilson is one of those guys that I have seen ranked all over the place this preseason. I have seen him as high as No. 4 and as low as No. 11, so this could make him a steal on draft day in my opinion. The Seattle offense only got better by adding Harvin and they should be a high powered offense in 2013. It was kind of a surprise last preseason when the Seahawks announced that Wilson was going to be their starter, but now we all know why they picked him to be their quarterback of the future.7. Robert Griffin III WAS | QB
It appears that the days of needing around a year to recover from ACL surgery are a thing of the past. Wes Welker did it a few years ago, Peterson did it last year, and I think RGIII will do it this year. I fully expect him to be ready for week 1 and he should be back to being a defenses worst nightmare. The Redskins might get him to try to limit how much he runs, but once the games start I don’t think RGIII will shy away from running if that gives the Skins the best chance to win.8. Colin Kaepernick SF | QB
The 49ers had a really tough decision to make last year when deciding what to do with Alex Smith when he came back from injury. Kaepernick is a special talent and it looks like the hers made the right call with keeping him as their starter. They do have some question marks at wide receiver, but Kaepernick is still a very appealing fantasy quarterback because of his running ability.9. Matt Ryan ATL | QB
Ryan continues to improve and he should have another solid year for the Falcons. He arguably has the best receiving corp in the league and he now has Steven Jackson as an option in the passing game. The only reason he isn’t higher on our rankings is because he doesn’t add much value with his legs, but he could eclipse 5,000 passing yards this year and the Falcons should be one of the top offenses in 2013.10. Tony Romo DAL | QB
After somewhat of a slow start last year with only 5 TDs in the first 4 games, Romo was able to end the year with a bang. He finished with just under 5,000 passing yards and he was able to rack up 28 TD passes. If his receivers Austin and Bryant can stay healthy this year then I see no reason why he can’t have another solid year. Romo is kind of a boring pick at this point in his career since we know what his ceiling is, but the Cowboys offense should be solid this year.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is officially the highest paid player in the NFL, thanks to a five year, $110 million contract extension he signed with the team Friday afternoon.
USA TODAY Sports reported Rodgers was slated to receive $40 million in the first year.
The quarterback’s new contract comes roughly three months after the Baltimore Ravens gave quarterback Joe Flacco a six year extension worth $120.6 million in March.
"An exciting day for our football program," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said in a statement. "Aaron is an excellent illustration of a Green Bay Packer. It is truly a blessing to witness his continued accomplishments, both on and off the field."
Rodgers' on-field accomplishments have helped Green Bay go 53-27 during his five years as the Packers starter, and included a Super Bowl title following the 2010 season.
Since taking over in 2008 following the departure of Brett Favre, Rodgers has thrown for 21,661 yards and 171 touchdowns. His quarterback rating of 122.5 in 2011 is an NFL record.
"Aaron is a true professional and a special player," general manger Ted Thompson said in a statement. "He works hard, is humble, and is focused on his actions, on and off the field. He is an excellent teammate and pushes himself and others to be the very best. We are happy to reach an agreement to extend his career with the Packers."
Eight years ago Rodgers dropped all the way down to the No. 24 pick in the NFL draft after many expected to hear his name called early in the first round.
Yesterday, Rodgers tweeted a message of support to West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, who will have to wait another day until his name gets called.
"Good things come to those who wait," Rodgers wrote to Smith.
Much like the last three seasons, a quarterback was the most dominate presence in this year's playoffs. While Jacoby Jones had a valid argument for Super Bowl MVP honors, Joe Flacco was the single most important player during the postseason. Peyton Manning won the Comeback Player of the Year award and finished second in the MVP voting. But neither Flacco nor Manning was the best quarterback in the league this year. For a second straight year Aaron Rodgers was the best signal caller. He is the best quarterback in the NFL.
The goal of a quarterback is simple. Throw a lot of touchdowns, complete a high percentage of passes, lead your team to victory and minimize mistakes. Rodgers is the epitome of that definition. No quarterback has won more regular season games than Rodgers the last two seasons. He leads the league in QB Rating during that span, is second in touchdowns thrown, has easily the fewest interceptions of any starter, and has completed the highest percentage of passes.
Rodgers was named NFL MVP in 2011 after receiving 48 of 50 first place votes. While leading the Packers to a 15-1 regular season, Rodgers passed for 45 touchdowns while being intercepted only six times. He was fifth in the league in total passing yards, but led the NFL in yards per attempt. His 122.5 QB Rating is the highest of all time.
This season Rodgers was not historically great. However, he was the best of a very good quarterback crop. Rodgers led the NFL in QB Rating again, had the best touchdown to interception rate in the league, and would have led his team to a bye and second round playoff home game had replacement referees not given the Seahawks a Green Bay victory during week three. He finished second in the league in touchdown passes, and did so playing for a team that struggled to run alerting every defense in the league to the fact that Rodgers would need to beat them with his arm, which in most cases he did.
It is hard to believe Rodgers continues to be overlooked. He receives great praise and is often counted among the best quarterbacks in the NFL. All statistical evidence indicates he is not among, but is in fact the top QB in the league. He was lightly recruited before attending Cal after a season at Butte Community College. He dropped in the NFL draft, selected 23 spots behind Alex Smith, and in back of Matt Jones, Mark Clayton, and Fabian Washington. Then he sat behind Brett Favre, a future Hall of Famer, who never produced the numbers Rodgers has accrued. Flacco was brilliant in the playoffs, and Manning had a great comeback season, but Rodgers is the best in the business.
This is a tough one.
A really tough one.
Both the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers give you a lot of reasons to believe they can win today, making it extremely difficult to determine who has the advantage. Let’s take a look.
The San Francisco 49ers have one of the most lethal running attacks in the league.
The Packers have the NFL’s deepest receiving corp.
The 49ers have some banged up receivers, however, they also still have Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, and a reduced but still-effective Randy Moss.
The Green Bay Packers have a recently re-energized defense, aided in great part by the return of Charles Woodson.
The 49ers have an elite defense that gives QBs nightmares, and even with an injured Justin Smith, they will likely give Rodgers fits all day. San Fran also boasts a very impressive secondary that may be able to stick with Green Bay receivers at times and will be aided by safety Dashon Goldson.
The Packers have their own pass rush that could give Colin Kaepernick trouble.
The 49ers are playing at home.
The Packers have Aaron Rodgers.
San Francisco’s recent QB change stretches the field and gives defenses more to worry about.
Neither team is perfect, but both are elite in several areas. And with home field advantage, San Francisco appears to have the edge. In my book, though, the Packers clearly have the edge with the 2011 NFL MVP. These teams can be compared right down the line, and while they are somewhat different, it would be hard to pick which is clearly better. Except in one regard.
I would go with Kaepernick over Alex Smith every time. Every. Single. Time. He can make a lot of throws that Smith would never have even attempted, but it is his legs that really allow him to be a game breaker. A team just needs to forget about him once and he’ll scamper down the field for a big play.
Again, it’s a no contest. If I had to pick between Kaepernick and Smith to lead my team, it’d be Kaepernick every time. But neither of them is Aaron Rodgers. With various factors canceling out others, the only apparent disparity is at the most important position in professional sports, and that is the tipping point for me. Kaepernick, for all his greatness, is a first-year starter and has never played in a playoff game. He’s never had to step out on the field and lead his team to victory against one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. He’s never been down in a playoff game and had to fight his way back into it. I think he is very capable of doing so and could end up being an elite quarterback down the line, but the lack of experience isn’t a minor issue.
Rodgers hasn’t just won a playoff game or two, he’s a Super Bowl champion. Past accomplishments mean nothing in the NFL playoffs; past experience means a whole lot.
Packers 24 Niners 17
Everybody loves Power Rankings. You don’t realize it, but even your grandmother loves Power Rankings. Right now she’s looking over a college football bowl game Power Rankings column instead of questioning whether or not every senior citizen actually should have Life Alert.
That’s just the way it is now – everything is “Power Ranked.” Movies, TV shows, music, teams, players, vacation destinations, women, People of the Year in Time Magazine (they did a top 5), Christmas gifts, your children. They all get put in a nice list, and we’re supposed to figure out what exactly the basis is for these rankings, what they’re supposed to mean and why we should care.
I have no answers for you. I don’t really know what a Power Ranking is. If the Patriots are at the top of a Power Ranking list, does that mean that they are predicted to win the Super Bowl or are playing better than anybody else at that particular moment? Or does it mean they’ve made the most progress since the start of the year? Beats the s**t out of me. But I still read them.
And so do you (and so does your grandmother, as we covered above). So without further ado, I present to you the playoff QB/relevant QB/all QB’s who are somehow tied to something that has happened in the past two weeks Power Rankings. We’ve had one week of NFL playoff games, the college national championship game and another week of NFL games on the horizon.
If you disagree, well, you’ve probably got a valid point.
19. Kirk Cousins
What was going through poor Kirk’s mind last week when RGIII was limping around the field like his leg was in need of amputation? Did Cousins go and stand by Mike Shanahan and keep loudly clearing his throat? The poor guy played well when he was called on in relief this season, yet couldn’t get a sniff in a playoff game even though the starting quarterback could barely stand and the offense was completely stagnant. I’m convinced that RGIII could have been wounded by a sniper in the crowd and Cousins still wouldn’t have been allowed in the game.
18. Robert Griffin III
RGIII tried to be a warrior, and I respect the hell out of him for that, but he physically couldn’t move. Then, with six minutes to play and the Redskins clearly not going to win the game, his foot got caught up in the turf-like substance that was covering FedEx field and he tore his ACL and LCL (whatever that is). I’m sure he’ll take some Adrian Peterson drugs to get himself back early next season, but that was kind of a tough way to end the year for him, no? He lost to fellow rookie Russell Wilson in his first playoff game, was ineffective, avoided Dr. James Andrews like he was Rob Parker and then tore a bunch of tendons in his knee.
17. Everett Golson
Poor Everett. He was put in a bad spot during Monday’s national championship game against Alabama. Tom Brady couldn’t have won that game for Notre Dame, and Everett Golson is no Tom Brady. Every time Golson started scrambling I began cringing because I expected some oversized, roided-out freak of an Alabama linebacker to come flying in with 4.3-40 speed and actually decapitate Golson. Thankfully, Golson’s head is still connected to his body.
16. Andy Dalton
Andy Dalton’s nickname is the “Red Rocket.” When a dog gets aroused and becomes erect, the nickname for its penis is the “Red Rocket.” Therefore, Andy Dalton’s new nickname should be “Dog Boner,” and I don’t think it should be up for debate. Dalton certainly played like a Dog Boner in the Bengals’ loss to Houston last week.
15. Christian Ponder
Maybe I’m just out of touch, but I didn’t even know Ponder was QUESTIONABLE for the playoff game against the Vikings until like three hours before kickoff. How does a guy go from having a minor injury that is barely reported on during the week to not playing a first-round playoff game against the Vikings? I realize that Ponder, in only his second year, is already on the short list for worst quarterbacks in NFL history, but Ponder sitting out pretty much took away any chance the Vikings had at winning. Hopefully Samantha Steele leaves him immediately.
14. Joe Webb
He might be even worse than Ponder, but at least he wasn’t mysteriously ruled out minutes before a playoff game. Long live Joe Webb.
13. Matt Flynn
Here’s a question – when Matt Flynn sees Russell Wilson succeeding and the Seahawks being in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, does he regret signing there or does he not really give a s**t because he’s being paid $30 million to never play a snap, ever. It’s not like he was playing before in Green Bay, so basically he just moved from one cold, depressing city to another cold, depressing city and got paid a bunch of money to do it. He’s probably lukewarm on the whole thing.
12. Alex Smith
See: Matt Flynn. Except Smith is probably better than Flynn, and a little more angry because he was benched while having one of the best seasons of any QB in the league. It must be his small, carny hands. Maybe he shouldn’t have waited until his seventh year in the league to become productive, you know?
11. Matt Schaub
You should be ashamed, Matt Schaub. The only reason you’re in the in the top 10 on this list is because your team is still alive in the playoffs. If you had lost to the Bengals, I would have dropped you off this list entirely just on principle. I have never seen a quarterback look more relieved – not happy – to win a game than Schaub after that Bengals game. It was like he had just tried to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge only to realize that he didn’t want to die halfway through the fall, and then wound up just breaking an arm.
That’s how bad you are, Matt Schaub.
10. Kirk Herbstreit
Everyone who watches college football knows that Kirk Herbstreit is actually very good on television and knows what he’s talking about, but his strange chuckling while Brent Musburger masturbated in the booth over A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend was a crime in itself. Herbstreit is guilty in the same way that the Seinfield characters were guilty in the last episode of the show. They saw something bad happening, yet did nothing. Herby, I like you pal, but we were all uncomfortable on Monday night.
9. Andrew Luck
Luck actually played okay against Baltimore over the weekend, and the stats reflect it (288 yards passing), but he couldn’t move his team at all once they got into Ravens’ territory. The result was a cool nine points and a playoff loss. He certainly deserved to lose that game because he steadfastly refuses to shave his neck beard or stop talking like he’s doing a Kermit The Frog impression, but he looked pretty good under pressure.
8. Colin Kaepernick
Much like Luck, it’s hard to enjoy Kaepernick’s work on the field if you ever hear him speak even a single word. He also sounds like he’s doing an imitation of somebody, although his imitation is less Kermit The Frog and more Lil Wayne, but it’s still terrible. Luckily, he doesn’t have small, carny hands like Alex Smith and he can run like a gazelle. The 49ers are much more likely to beat the Packers this weekend with Kaepernick playing then they would be if Smith was on the field, so that’s one feather in his cap.
7. Matt Ryan
Ryan is the leader of a team that is favored to go to the NFC Championship Game, so he must be doing something on the right. On the other hand, he’s never won a playoff game, his nickname (Matt Ice) comes across ironically like one of those enormous guys who go by “Tiny” and his team is only 2.5-point favorites over the Seahawks, a team that went 3-5 on the road this year. If he wins, he’ll go a long way towards establishing himself as one of the upper-echelon quarterbacks.
6. Joe Flacco
I’m borderline physically ill because I was forced to put Flacco this high up on the list, but what else could I do? The man has won five playoff games in the past five years, his team has a puncher’s chance this weekend in Denver and he only played mildly bad last week. Am I expecting him to throw a minimum of two interceptions returned for touchdowns this week? Yes. Am I expecting him to then definitely yell at the media about how he’s an elite quarterback and doesn’t get the credit he deserves? You bet.
I’m torn between rooting for the Ravens so the Patriots can potentially host the AFC Championship Game and rooting against the Ravens so I don’t have to listen to Flacco self-promote himself over the next week while John Harbaugh stares at every reporter in the room and proclaims that “Joe Flacco COMPETES!”
5. Russell Wilson
That said, Russell Wilson does COMPETE. He’s gone from being a slightly over-matched game manager who could do enough not to lose the game to becoming an actual weapon and the only rookie quarterback left standing in a season that was defined by the emergence of rookie quarterbacks. He throws well, he runs well, he doesn’t make mistakes and the team clearly plays hard for him.
Yet…all my friends this he’s a geek. Is Russell Wilson a nerd and I just never noticed it because I have an irrational man crush on him? It’s possible, and it’s going to break my heart if that’s true. Nerd or not, though, the man’s a winner, and he also rocks a pair of Levi’s better than any man this side of Brett Favre.
4. A.J. McCarron
Let’s see, how to best summarize McCarron’s situation…
Okay, I got it. He’s won the last two national championships playing for the most storied college football program ever, he’s coming back to school for his senior year at a school where he’s revered as a God and his team is the Vegas favorite to win another championship, his girlfriend is Miss Alabama and so hot that Brent Musburger nearly fainted while speaking about her during the national championship telecast and he’s going to end up in the NFL. A.J. McCarron is doing alright.
3. Aaron Rodgers
He didn’t play perfectly against the Vikings, but the defending MVP played well enough to show why he might be the best quarterback in the game. His team won, and he’s the biggest reason the 49ers are scared of losing this weekend. Rodgers is officially back to being the scariest player in the NFL, which is saying something considering these next two guys aren’t too bad.
2. Tom Brady
He’d be No. 1 on this list, but the Pats are the No. 2 seed and he just had a kid. There’s no way he’s sleeping through the night. Plus, he’s not going to win the MVP because of a couple mediocre performances in the middle of the season, and he’s still modeling Ugg boots. On the plus side, he’s been almost as good this season as any point during his career, and he should lead the Pats to the AFC Championship game for the seventh time in his 11 years as starter with a win over Houston on Sunday.
Do you realize how twisted that is? Brady on the verge of being in the AFC Championship Game 64-percent of the time during his career. If the Pats reach the Super Bowl, he’ll have made it that far in six of 11 seasons. That’s even more twisted.
1. Peyton Manning
He’s going to win the MVP (unless Adrian Peterson swoops in and steals it), and he deserves it. His team has won 11 straight games, he’s buying up Papa John’s franchises like he needs them to stay alive and the Broncos are the No. 1 seed in the NFL and the Vegas favorites to win the Super Bowl.
Not bad for a 36-year-old coming off a bunch of neck surgeries.