A Heavyweight Title Fight: Aaron Rodgers versus Peyton Manning

Aaron and Peyton

There is no doubt that the marquee game of Week 8 in the NFL will be the Sunday night game, which has the 6-0 Green Bay Packers going up against the 6-0 Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field.

Besides having two undefeated teams playing each other in November, the game also has the distinction of having two of the very best quarterbacks who have ever played the game facing each other.

Yes, it will be Aaron Rodgers versus Peyton Manning.

Rodgers is considered the top quarterback in the NFL right now, although some will say that praise should go to Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.

Manning is considered by many to be the best quarterback in the history of the league, although some will defer to Brady here as well.

Rodgers also has a chance to be considered for that prominent honor, depending on what he does the rest of his career.

In the game against the Broncos, Rodgers will face perhaps his most difficult task of the season.

Denver is ranked first in the NFL in total defense. That includes being first in passing defense and fourth in rushing defense.

The Broncos also lead the league in sacks with 26, plus have created 17 turnovers and have also scored four touchdowns.

Denver has also held opposing quarterbacks to a 69.6 passer rating, having allowed only five touchdown passes in six games, while picking off nine passes.

So far in 2015, No. 12 has thrown a league-leading 15 touchdown passes versus just two picks for 1,491 yards. That adds up to a 115.9 passer rating.

It also appears that Rodgers will be getting wide receiver Davante Adams back this week, as No. 17 has been hampered by a sprained ankle for most of the season.

That will be a big plus, as Randall Cobb will not be double-teamed as much with the addition of Adams, plus Rodgers can also utilize savvy veteran James Jones, who has six receiving touchdowns already this year.

Manning, on the other hand, has definitely had a subpar season by his standards.

So far this season, No. 18 has thrown seven touchdown passes versus 10 picks for 1,524 yards. That adds up to a very mediocre 72.5 passer rating.

Manning should expect some pass pressure from the Packers, who are second in the NFL in sacks with 23.

The key to making Manning uncomfortable is moving him off his spot in the pocket. Unlike Rodgers, Manning does not throw very well on the move.

In addition to that, Manning’s passes this year seem to be fluttering without much zip far too often.

Bottom line, The game between the Packers and Broncos should be a classic. The fact that it will be Rodgers versus Manning in this contest, makes it even more of a must-see event.

Let’s now take a look at how Rodgers and Manning compare to one another in the tale of the tape between these two heavyweights:

Aaron Rodgers

Career Quarterback Rating: 106.5

Career Touchdown Passes: 241

Career Interceptions: 59

Career TD Pass to Interception Ratio: 4.08

Career Regular Season Record: 76-33

NFL MVP: 2-Time Winner

Super Bowls: 1

Super Bowl Wins: 1

Super Bowl MVP: 1

Postseason Record: 6-5

Postseason Passer Rating: 101.0

Peyton Manning

Career Quarterback Rating: 96.9

Career Touchdown Passes: 537

Career Interceptions: 244

Career TD Pass to Interception Ratio: 2.20

Career Regular Season Record: 185-77

NFL MVP: 5-Time Winner

Super Bowls: 3

Super Bowl Wins: 1

Super Bowl MVP: 1

Postseason Record: 11-13

Postseason Passer Rating: 88.5

Green Bay Packers: The Game Record Following a Bye Week Has Been Very Good Under Mike McCarthy

Since Mike McCarthy became the head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 2006, the team’s record in the game following a bye week has been fabulous.

In nine seasons, the Packers are 8-1 in those games. The only loss occurred in 2008, as the Packers lost to the Tennessee Titans in Nashville 19-16 in overtime.

Other than that, the Packers have won each of the games following the bye week.

Let’s take a look at the wins:

2006: Defeated the Miami Dolphins 34-24 at Lambeau Field.

2007: Defeated the Denver Broncos 19-13 in overtime at Invesco Field.

2009: Defeated the Detroit Lions 26-0 at Lambeau Field.

2010: Defeated the Minnesota Vikings 31-3 at the Metrodome.

2011: Defeated the San Diego Chargers 45-38 at Qualcomm Stadium.

2012: Defeated the Detroit Lions 24-20 at Ford Field.

2013: Defeated the Detroit Lions 22-9 at Lambeau Field.

2014: Defeated the Chicago Bears 55-14 at Lambeau Field.

One of the reasons that the Packers have been so successful under McCarthy the game following the bye week is the performance of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

No. 12 has been under center in seven of the nine games played in that scenario. The Packers are 6-1 in those games.

In those seven games, Rodgers has thrown 20 touchdown passes versus just three interceptions for 2,045 yards. That adds up to a composite passer rating of 119.5.

This year the 6-0 Packers will be traveling again to Denver to take on the also 6-0 Broncos.

The bye week is coming at a great time for the Packers, as a number of players are nicked up with injuries and need some time to heal up.

The list includes Eddie Lacy (ankle), Randall Cobb (shoulder), Davante Adams (ankle), Ty Montgomery (ankle), Bryan Bulaga (knee), T.J. Lang (knee), B.J. Raji (groin), Nick Perry (shoulder) and Morgan Burnett (calf).

As history has proven, McCarthy and his coaching staff have put together some nice game plans for their opponents in the game following the bye week.

The unbeaten Broncos will be a difficult test, especially when going up against their defense. Denver is ranked second in the NFL in total defense. That includes being third in passing defense and fifth in rushing defense.

The Broncos also lead the league in sacks with 26, plus have created 17 turnovers and have also scored four touchdowns.

Denver has also held opposing quarterbacks to a 69.6 passer rating, having allowed only five touchdown passes in six games, while picking off nine passes.

That defense versus Rodgers should be a classic matchup. No. 12 has thrown a league-leading 15 touchdown passes versus just two picks for 1,491 yards. That adds up to a 115.9 passer rating.

Rodgers will certainly be helped in the game if the Packers can have their full compliment of playmakers available on offense.

One of the more shocking details about the Broncos has been the performance of their offense. Denver is ranked just 29th in total offense.

One of the big reasons for that situation is the play of Peyton Manning.

It looks like Father Time has caught up with No. 18, as a number of his passes seem to be fluttering far too often. If opposing defenses can force Manning off his spot in the pocket, his lack of mobility and arm strength will usually mean either an incomplete pass or an interception.

For the 2015 season, Manning has thrown seven touchdown passes versus 10 picks for 1,524 yards. That adds up to a very mediocre 72.5 passer rating.

The Packers are second in the NFL with 23 sacks and should be able to force Manning off his spot, which is a key factor.

Yes, I know the Packers just gave up over 500 yards passing against Philip Rivers, but that was against a quarterback who has a very quick release and has always been able to thrown the ball accurately from different arm angles.

Manning also has a quick release, but doesn’t throw well on the move. That is why it is imperative for the Packers to move Manning away from his preferred spot in the pocket.

Time will tell what will occur on the Sunday night (November 1) when the Packers face the Broncos in Denver, but if history is a blueprint for the future, I like Green Bay’s chances of going 7-0.

San Diego Chargers vs. Green Bay Packers: Some Observations Going Into Sunday’s Contest

The 5-0 Green Bay Packers will host the 2-3 San Diego Chargers at Lambeau Field on Sunday afternoon.

The Packers go into the game ranked No. 10 in total offense and No. 7 in total defense.

The Chargers meanwhile, are ranked third in total offense and 15th in total defense.

This game will have two of the best quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL facing each other.

Aaron Rodgers has the best passer rating in NFL history with a 106.5 mark. Philip Rivers is sixth all-time with a 96.0 rating.

So far in 2015, Rodgers has thrown 13 touchdown passes versus just two picks for 1,236 yards. That adds up to 117.4 passer rating.

Rivers meanwhile, has thrown 10 touchdown passes versus five interceptions for 1,613 yards. That adds up to a 103.9 passer rating.

The only time that Rodgers faced the Chargers was in 2011 at San Diego. No. 12 was fantastic, as he threw four touchdown passes without tossing a pick, for 247 yards. That adds up to a whopping 145.8 passer rating.

Rivers is 0-2 against the Packers. In those two games, No. 17 has thrown seven touchdown passes versus four picks for 691 yards. That adds up to a 99.2 passer rating.

The difference in the game on Sunday could be the play of the offensive lines for both teams.

While the Packers have had some injuries on the line, they look to be at full strength on Sunday.

It’s a completely different story for the Chargers, who are really banged up on their offensive line, as it appears that three starters won’t be available on Sunday.

Because of the injuries on the offensive line, Rivers has been sacked 14 times, plus has been pressured many more times.

That’s not a good situation when you are facing the Packers, who are second in the NFL with 20 sacks.

The Packers are also second in the league keeping down the opposing quarterback’s passer rating, as they have limited them to a 62.8 mark.

The Packers have only allowed five touchdown passes, while picking off eight passes.

Because of the woes on the offensive line of the Chargers, the Packers should be able to pressure Rivers quite often on Sunday.

While Rivers is one of the best and gutsiest quarterbacks in the game, he is prone to throwing picks under pressure.

That adds up to a victory for the Packers on Sunday, as they should be able to go into the bye week with a 6-0 mark.

Here are some other notes regarding the all-time series between the Packers and Chargers:

  • The Packers lead the all-time series between the two teams with a 9-1 edge.
  • The Packers have won the last six games in the series.
  • The one time that the Packers lost to the Chargers was in 1984 at Lambeau Field, when Dan Fouts led San Diego to a 34-28 win.
  • The Packers have never lost a game at Qualcomm Stadium in six tries versus the Chargers.
  • However, the Packers did lose Super Bowl XXXII to the Denver Broncos at that stadium.
  • The first Monday night football game that the Packers ever played in was in 1970 versus the Chargers in San Diego. The Pack won 22-20.
  • In 1983, the Packers acquired wide receiver John Jefferson from the Chargers for wide receiver Aundra Thompson, plus a first-round pick and two-second round picks.

Daniel Kramer Talks About the Kickstarter Campaign for his Upcoming Book

Dan and Jerry

As many of you know, I have written dozens of stories about Jerry Kramer. I recently did a series of articles where Kramer talked about his former Green Bay Packer teammates who already were in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

A place where Kramer should be as well.

Kramer talked about playing with Jim Taylor, Forrest Gregg, Bart Starr, Ray Nitschke, Herb Adderley, Willie Davis, Jim Ringo, Paul Hornung, Willie Wood, Henry Jordan and Dave Robinson before they all were given a bust in Canton.

No. 64 also talked about the man who made it all possible…Vince Lombardi.

My most recent story with Kramer has him discussing the career of another former teammate, Dan Currie.

In doing these stories and many, many more, I have had the opportunity to talk with Kramer countless times.

In those conversations, most of which would last an hour or so, Jerry has been very engaging and insightful in our discussions.

No. 64 also has an unbelievable memory regarding his playing days with the Pack.

I recently had an opportunity to talk with Daniel Kramer, who is Jerry’s son.

Let’s just say that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree, based on my conversation with Dan.

Dan and I talked for over an hour and discussed many things, which included the kickstarter campaign which is currently ongoing about the upcoming book he plans to publish.

Brett and Reggie

The book is going to be coffee-table photography book of the 1996-97 championship season for the Packers.

Another Kramer would be proud.

The kickstarter campaign has five days to go and Dan has already reached his goal of $20,000. Kramer also has 81 backers for the book.

Hopefully the campaign will end up bringing in a lot more than Kramer’s goal. Why? Photography books are very expensive to publish. Especially if the photos are in color.

In talking to Dan, I found him to be as interesting and as fascinating as his dad.

Dan talked about how his love for photography first started.

“My dad gave me my first camera for my 18th birthday,” Kramer said. “I took a photo class and it was an art class. I was at the University of Minnesota and it was winter. The class was at 8:00 am on a Saturday on the opposite side of campus.

“That means I would have to leave at around 7:00 or 7:15 to get there. It was my second year in college. That’s not a good equation. So I didn’t make too many of those classes. And those I did, I didn’t really care for.”

But even with that inauspicious beginning, Kramer stayed with it.

“I started to follow the journalism path,” Kramer said. “I got better as I found my way. It took me two or three years to sort of gravitate towards journalism. I started playing rugby for the University of Minnesota and I started writing articles about my team for the school newspaper.

“That sort of got me thinking that maybe journalism is the route I want to take. The last class required for me to take was called Visual Communication. I’m now a senior and I’m going to graduate at the end of the semester and I have to take Visual Communication.

“Now this was a 10:00 am Saturday class. Now there’s a big difference between 8:00 am and 10:00 am. Plus, there was a difference in my maturity as well. My teacher for the class was David Rae Morris.

“He came into class with a bag of warm muffins and he turned on The Grateful Dead. We sat around and talked about photography and photo journalism. I was taken with him and his teaching.

“I did a project for him on a reclusive old man who sold books. David published my project in the school newspaper, which was a double-page spread. Wow, that just blew my hair back! That really hooked me.

“I graduated and got a job as a sports editor. I had tried my whole life up to this point  to not let people know who my dad was. I wanted them to like me for who I was. I wanted people to genuinely like me and not try and suck up because of who my dad was.

“I would let people know  who my dad was eventually after they made it into the inner sanctum and they became my friend. That was something that I didn’t let out lightly.

Jerry and Dan II

“I certainly didn’t want a life in sports. Being a sports editor? Being a sports reporter? No, no, no. I had to find my own path. That was way too close to his world.”

Kramer did do an internship with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where he was a sports writer. But that was not the career path which Kramer wanted.

He eventually ended up with a small twice-a-week newspaper in Sturgis, South Dakota, where Kramer was for nine months.

From there, Kramer ended up with a small once-a-week newspaper in southern California.

Kramer’s goal was to be a photographer for a major-metro newspaper, similar to what the Minneapolis Star Tribune is.

Kramer had many roles in his position at the small newspaper in SoCal. He was a sports editor, a features reporter, a photographer, plus directed the other photographers on the staff.

Kramer would drive 90 miles to Los Angeles, where he would photograph the Kings, Lakers, Rams and Raiders (the Rams and Raiders were in LA then).

Kramer was hoping to transition himself from a reporter to a photographer.

After about a year and a half, Kramer applied a for a photographer’s position at the Long Beach Press-Telegram. There, Kramer met a guy named Hal Wells.  Kramer showed Wells some of his previous work.

Wells told Kramer that his work was not even in the ball park. He advised Kramer to go study photography exclusively.

Kramer took that advice.

“I took out loans. I pursued my master’s degree,” Kramer said. “I got a MFA in Documentary Photo Journalism at the Academy of Art in San Fransisco.  What a great city to study art in! What a great time in my life!”

Because of his work at the Academy of Art, Kramer was chosen among the top 100 college photo journalists in the country. Because of that designation, Kramer was selected to go to the Eddie Adams workshop. Adams was a Pulitzer Prize-winning  photographer.

At the workshop, Kramer was able to network with well known magazines/newspapers like National Geographic, Time, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

In 1995, Kramer ended up landing an internship with Newsday. During that internship, he stayed at Dick Schaap’s guest apartment, which was a half block off of Central Park.

Schaap was Jerry Kramer’s best friend. Dick and Jerry had co-written three books together, the most famous being Instant Replay. The other two books were Farewell to Football and Distant Replay.

Dick and Jerry

Dan also embarked on his first professional project. And what a project it was!

Kramer retraced Mark Twain’s trip around the world, which had happened 100 years before. To give you an idea of where Kramer traveled, I suggest you read Following the Equator by Twain, which chronicles his adventures on that long trip.

Kramer ended up publishing a blurb book about that fantastic endeavor.

After his trip around the world, Kramer first called his dad and then Schaap. He wanted to see if they could arrange a situation where Dan could photograph Brett Favre and Bart Starr together for a  Sports Illustrated article.

When Dan talked to Schaap, he mentioned the idea of photographing Favre and Starr together.

Schaap replied without missing a beat, “And Willie and Reggie!”

Bottom line, Schaap turned Dan’s idea of a SI article into a book which was called Green Bay Replay, where he chronicled the 1996 championship season for the Packers.

All the photos in that book were done by Kramer.

When the idea for the book started, neither Schaap or Kramer envisioned that the Packers were going to win the Super Bowl for sure that year. It was eerily similar to the book that Schaap and Jerry had put out about the 1967 season, Instant Replay.

Brett and Bart

In both cases, the Packers did win it all. Which made both books even more enthralling.

In Green Bay Replay, all the photos taken by Kramer in the book are in black and white. In addition to that, some of the best photos that Dan took were not used.

Since that time, Kramer worked for the Houston Press, where he was a staff photographer.

After leaving that job, Kramer has freelanced with Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal and the USA Today.

The Packers will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1996 Super Bowl Championship team in 2016. That popped an idea into Dan’s head about utilizing the photos he had taken of the team then.

After a  conversation with his photo editor Jimmy Colton,  Kramer decided to use a kickstarter campaign for a book about that team. Why?

Because of the kickstarter strategy, Kramer will maintain complete creative control of the book, which wouldn’t be the case with a major publishing organization.

After the kickstarter campaign is over, and remember there are still five days remaining, Kramer and Colton will start doing the editing for the new book, which will mean looking at all the photos that Kramer took during the 1996-97 season of the Packers.

Wille, Reggie, Brett & Bart

Once the editing is done, the book will also include some remembrances and quotes from the people in the book.

Kramer also needs to hire a designer for the book. The final step is to find a place to get the book printed.

The goal is to get the whole book ready to go and be shipped by September of 2016.

There is no doubt that everyone in Packer Nation will enjoy this book immensely, just like they have with previous books like Instant Replay, Distant Replay and Green Bay Replay.

Until then, pass the word about Dan’s kickstarter campaign for this book, because full-color photography books are very costly to publish.

The Defense of the Green Bay Packers: Call them the Capers Crusaders

In 2009, which was the first year in which Dom Capers became the defensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers, the defense finished fifth in passing defense, fourth in lowest passer rating by quarterbacks (68.8), tied for 11th in sacks with 37 and first in the NFL with 30 interceptions.

The next year, in which the Packers eventually won Super Bowl XLV, the defense was fifth in passing defense, first in lowest passer rating by quarterbacks (67.2), tied for second in sacks with 47 and was second in the NFL with 24 picks.

Last season, Capers talked to reporters about what his defense is all about. “I think we’ve been able to disrupt the opposing quarterback,” Capers said, “and that’s our game.”

The 2014 season was a huge turning point for the defense under Capers. Through the first half of the 2014 season, the Packers were dead last in the NFL in rushing defense, as they had allowed 153.5 yards per game on the ground and 4.8 yards per carry.

Capers decided to make some changes to his defense. He moved outside linebacker Clay Matthews inside on early-down rushing situations. Plus, Capers also increased playing time of Sam Barrington at inside linebacker.

Those two moves paid off. In the last eight weeks of the season, the Packers only allowed 86.3 rushing yards per game. That improvement moved them up nine spots in rushing defense, as they finished 23rd in the league.

Plus, the Packers also continued to play very solidly with their pass defense and continued to disrupt the opposing quarterback. The Packers finished 10th in passing defense, had 18 picks and held opposing quarterbacks to a 82.0 passer rating, which was seventh-best in the NFL.

The pass rush of the Packers helped that cause, as the team had 41 sacks last season.

In the 2015 season, the defense of the Packers has had to overcome the losses of cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Davon House, who both left via free agency, while also overcoming the season-ending foot injury to Barrington.

The Packers have bolstered on defense this year with the return of nose tackle B.J. Raji, plus have gotten some nice play from two rookie cornerbacks, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins.

The rest of the secondary has been solid as well, even with safety Morgan Burnett missing three games because of a calf injury. Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Micah Hyde have all played well so far this season.

The pass rush has also been outstanding, as the team already has 17 sacks (tied for second in the NFL) in just four games.

The pressure is coming from everywhere. Julius Peppers leads the way with 3.5 sacks, while Matthews and Nick Perry have three apiece. Mike Daniels has chipped in with 2.5 sacks, while second-year linebacker Jayrone Elliott has two sacks.

Elliott is getting more playing time at outside linebacker this season because of his outstanding production. Besides the two sacks, Elliott also has an interception, plus has forced a fumble and recovered one.

As a whole, the Packers are ranked eighth in total defense this season.

After a rough start to the season in run defense after playing the Chicago Bears and running back Matt Forte (141 yards rushing) in the season opener, the Packers have greatly improved that aspect of their game.

The Packers held Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks to 41 yards rushing in Week 2. Green Bay then held Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs to 49 yards rushing in Week 3. The Pack also held Carlos Hyde of the San Francisco 49ers to 20 yards rushing in Week 4.

Raji has been stout at the point of attack in stopping the run. Nate Palmer, who took over for Barrington after his injury, has been solid.

But no one has been more disruptive than Matthews, both in the run game and the passing game. No. 52 continues to play inside, but also moves outside at times.

Sometimes Matthews will be in coverage shadowing a back or a tight end (like in his key interception against the Bears in Week 1), but most times he is applying pressure on the quarterback.

The pressure applied to the opposing quarterback by Matthews and his teammates has been outstanding. As Capers has said, “That’s our game.”

The Packers are ranked seventh in pass defense through four games. The Pack has held opposing quarterbacks to a paltry 74.6 passer rating, which is the fifth-best mark in the league.

Currently, the Packers only have four picks, but on the other hand, they have only allowed four touchdown passes.

More interceptions will come this season to be sure, especially as the Packers continue to pressure the quarterback. In the last two weeks alone, the Packers have had 13 sacks.

The upcoming opponent of the Packers this week, the St. Louis Rams, will be coming into Lambeau Field with a 2-2 record. They also will be coming into the game with three first-year starters on their offensive line, including two rookies.

Matthews and his buddies have to be licking their chops.

That being said, the Rams also have a superb defensive line and are tied with the Packers with 17 sacks. They also must be salivating looking at the pass protection issues that right tackle Don Barclay and left tackle David Bakhtiari have had so far this season.

Keeping Aaron Rodgers upright and clean has to be priority one for the offense of the Packers this week.

The number one priority for the defense will be to once again create havoc for quarterback Nick Foles of the Rams.

For that to happen, the Packers will have to continue to stop the run, which won’t be easy this week, as rookie running back Todd Gurley is coming off a 146-yard rushing performance against the Arizona Cardinals.

If you stop the run, than you can focus on disrupting the play of the opposing quarterback.

That focus has helped the Packers win the first four games of the 2015 season.

Yes, the Capers Crusaders have definitely disrupted the play of opposing quarterbacks so far this season. Just ask Jay Cutler, Russell Wilson, Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick.

Expect to see more of the same this Sunday at Lambeau Field.

The Packers Have Exorcised Some Demons Early in the 2015 Season

The Green Bay Packers have certainly exorcised some demons so far this season as they have gotten off to a 4-0 start.

In the opening game of the season, the Packers were expected to defeat the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

Why? The Packers clearly had the better team and had won 17 of 22 games at the storied stadium since 1992.

Green Bay did not disappoint as they won 31-23. That victory set up a chance for the Packers to do something they haven’t been able to do since Franklin Delano Roosevelt was first sworn in as President of the United States. That would be evening up the series between themselves and the Bears.

The Bears now hold 92-91-6 edge in the series that dates back to 1921. A victory on Thanksgiving night would be the first time that the regular season series has been tied since 1933.

That’s 82 years ago folks.

In Week 2, the Packers played the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field. The Hawks had beaten the Packers three times in a row over the past three years.

The first game was the infamous Fail Mary game in 2012, when the replacement refs screwed up the call on a last second touchdown pass, which really was an interception. As painful as that loss was, that was nothing compared to the NFC Championship Game loss the Packers suffered last postseason.

The Packers dominated that contest for about 55 minutes, but a late meltdown in all phases of the game led to the most agonizing postseason loss in the history of the Packers.

But on a Sunday night at Lambeau Field, with the many former Packers greats on hand for alumni weekend, the Packers defeated the Seahawks 27-17.

There would be no late-game heroics for the Seahawks in that contest, thanks to linebacker Jayrone Elliott, who first intercepted a pass and then forced a fumble in the fourth quarter.

That victory certainly lifted a big monkey off the back of the Packers.

In Week 3, the Packers hosted the Kansas City Chiefs at Lambeau Field on a Monday night. The game was attended by a number of the players who were on the Super Bowl I team which had defeated the Chiefs 35-10 at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Going into that game on Monday night, Kansas City had never lost in the state of Wisconsin.

The Chiefs had never lost at Lambeau Field in three tries, plus Kansas City tied the Pack in 1973 when the two teams met in Milwaukee at County Stadium.

The Packers got rid of that bad statistic by dominating the Chiefs throughout most of the game. The final score of 38-28 doesn’t give real justice as to how the Packers truly commanded the ball game.

The final demon was exorcised yesterday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, where the Packers took on the San Francisco 49ers and quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

The Niners had won four straight games against the Packers, which included two postseason games.

Kaepernick had been especially tough on the Packers, both with his legs and his arm.

In the 2012 NFC Divisional Playoff Game between the two teams, Kaepernick rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns. The former Nevada star also threw for 263 yards and two more scores, as the 49ers won 45-31 at Candlestick Park.

Kaepernick wasn’t as dominating the next postseason, as the Packers hosted the 49ers at Lambeau Field in a Wild Card Playoff Game. Still, the former Milwaukee native rushed for 98 yards, plus threw a late touchdown pass as the Niners won 23-20.

Things were definitely different yesterday, as the defense of the Packers led by linebacker Clay Matthews, totally throttled Kaepernick and the 49er offense all day.

Kaepenick did rush for 57 yards, but did little else. No. 7 only threw for 160 yards and also threw a pick. He was also sacked six times and the 49ers only had 196 total yards, as the Packers won 17-3.

The defense looks much improved this season, as does the play of the special teams units, but the biggest reason the Packers are 4-0 is because of the play of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

No. 12 has thrown for 995 yards with 11 touchdown passes and zero picks so far this season. That adds up to a NFL-best 125.9 passer rating.

Next on the schedule for the Packers is the 2-2 St. Louis Rams, who yesterday beat the then undefeated Arizona Cardinals by a score of 24-22.

It will be the Rams who will be looking to exorcise a demon in this game, as the Packers have won four straight games against the Rams, going back to 2007.

That being said, the Packers will be looking to even up the regular season series with the Rams, which dates back to 1937, when the team was then in Cleveland.

The Rams currently have a 45-44-2 edge in the all-time series.

The game will be played at Lambeau Field, where the Packers have beaten the Rams six times in eight tries during the past 25 years.

A Scout’s Take on Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers is off to a phenomenal start to the 2015 NFL season.

Not only has No. 12 led the Packers to a 3-0 start to open the year, he is putting up mind-boggling stats as well.

And this is coming after Rodgers won the NFL MVP award last season, which was the second time he walked away with that honor.

So far in three games, Rodgers has thrown 10 touchdown passes versus zero picks for 771 yards. That adds up to a whopping 135.4 passer rating.

When it comes to passer ratings, there is no one in the history of the NFL who is better.

Yes, No. 12 is the all-time leader in NFL career passer rating, with a mark of 106.8. No other quarterback in NFL history is above the 100 mark in their career.

This is based on at least 1,500 pass attempts.

Rodgers has had six straight seasons now of having a passer rating of over 100. That is unheard of. The former star at Cal is on his way to seven straight years, based on his start in 2015.

Rodgers also holds the best single-season passer rating mark in NFL history, when he compiled a 122.5 mark in 2011, which was the year Rodgers won his first NFL MVP award.

Rodgers is getting all types of accolades for his performance on the field.

After Rodgers threw five touchdown passes without a pick for 333 yards versus the Kansas City Chiefs Monday night at Lambeau Field, as the Packers won 38-28, head coach Mike McCarthy praised No. 12 as he talked with the media.

“He’s playing great football,” McCarthy said. “Aaron was phenomenal. Yes, he’s playing at a very, very high level.

“His ability to process information is the best I’ve ever been around. He watches their sidelines, picks up things. He just puts us in excellent plays.”

There is no question about that.

Another person who was very complimentary of the play of Rodgers is NFL scout Chris Landry. Landry is one of the best in the business when it comes to scouting, and I try to talk with him as often as I can.

If you have read my stories over the past few years, you know that I get the opinion of Landry quite frequently. And more times than not, his assessments are spot on.

I planned on talking with Landry this past Wednesday on 620 WDAE’s Steve Duemig Show. But before I even had a chance to talk with Chris, Duemig mentioned the play of Rodgers while talking with Landry.

Let’s just say that Landry was really impressed with No. 12.

“He’s the best right now that I’ve ever seen in all aspects of quarterback play,” Landry said. “I mean, there’s nothing this guy doesn’t do well. The cerebral part is where he has just become right on the level of the best.

“Can you imagine a guy with a gun for an arm and can throw every route? He is the most accurate, and has been for awhile, throwing on the move. [John] Elway could throw across his body where the coverage wasn’t.

“This guy [Rodgers] can throw it at any arm angle into the smallest spots. It’s just incredible. It’s like hitting fall-away jumpers all the time. This guy is just really innate. His anticipation skills are phenomenal. And the ability to extend the play.

“It doesn’t matter if a lineman is injured or a lineman missed a block, he’ll still extend it and he has the tremendous ability to adjust. Okay, like this broke down, so we are going to do this. He’s got all sorts of built-in options.

“He’s running the whole offense from under center, behind center and even post-snap. It’s a work of art. I have so much fun watching the coaching tape of him, as it’s truly an art form. It’s like watching Ben Hogan hit a golf ball. You just sit there mesmerized in a rocking chair and watch it flow so naturally.”

It does seem to flow very naturally. Rodgers looks like a kid in candy store every time he checks out an opposing defense before a given play.

Time will tell how Rodgers will continue to play the rest of the 2015 season, but it’s looking like he could have his best year yet.

Rodgers is only the second quarterback in NFL history to have thrown at least 10 touchdown passes and not have any interceptions in the first three games of the season.

Peyton Manning was the first to do that, when he did that in 2013, as he threw 12 touchdown passes without a pick. Manning won his fifth NFL MVP award that year.

Rodgers certainly is off to a great start this season which could garner him his second straight NFL MVP award and his third overall.

It’s still way too early to speculate about who will win the award, as a number of players are off to great starts early in the 2015 NFL season. Players like Tom Brady, Andy Dalton and Carson Palmer, who also play the quarterback position.

Brady has yet to throw an interception this season as well, plus has nine touchdown passes and has thrown for 1,112 yards.

Bottom line, there are still 13 more games to be played this season for NFL teams. There is a lot of time to separate yourself from the pack in terms of being a NFL MVP candidate.

That being said, I believe the award will come down to either Rodgers or Brady.

Which would be very apropos, as I also expect their two teams to meet in Super Bowl 50, which will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

That is also quite appropriate, as both Rodgers and Brady grew up in northern California, as Rodgers hails from Chico, while Brady comes from San Mateo.