The Track Record of Aaron Rodgers vs. the NFC North Gives the Packers Hope

Aaron Rodgers vs. the Vikings in 2016

Although the Green Bay Packers are 4-5-1 after 10 games in the 2018 NFL season, there is still hope that the Packers can still make the playoffs. The biggest reason is quarterback Aaron Rodgers, as he will be playing all three of his NFC North rivals during the final six-game stretch of the year.

Rodgers is a combined 41-15-1 versus the Minnesota Vikings (12-7-1), Chicago Bears (16-4) and Detroit Lions (13-4).

There is a big reason for his success. It’s the numbers he puts up against those teams. Combined, Rodgers has thrown 122 touchdown passes compared to just 21 interceptions for 19,122 yards against his biggest rivals. That adds up to a combined passer rating of 109.4, which is even better than his all-time NFL best career mark of 103.7.

That rating is helped by his off the charts ratio of touchdown passes (332) vs. interceptions (79). That means that Rodgers throws 4.20 touchdown passes compared to every pick he throws.

No one else in NFL history comes close. In fact, Tom Brady (3.02) of the New England Patriots and Russell Wilson (3.01) of the Seattle Seahawks are the only other QBs in NFL history to be above the three to one ratio when comparing touchdown passes to interceptions.

Bottom line, since Rodgers became the starting QB of the Packers in 2008, Rodgers and the Packers have won the NFC North five times and have made the playoffs eight times overall.

Currently, the Bears lead the NFC North with a 8-3 record, followed by the Vikings at 5-4-1, the Packers at 4-5-1 and the Lions at 4-7. The Bears and Lions have played one more game, as they met in Detroit on Thanksgiving, as Chicago won 23-16.

Rodgers has had a very good 2018 season, as he has thrown 19 touchdown passes versus just one pick for 3,073 yards. Plus, he has played very well against his NFC North rivals as well.

Against da Bears and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in the season opener at Lambeau Field, Rodgers had a 130.7 passer rating, as he threw three touchdown passes without a pick for 286 yards. Most of this came after No. 12 had his season almost ended on one of the two sacks he took that night, as Rodgers suffered a knee sprain that saw the quarterback leave the field on a cart in the second quarter.

But Rodgers was able to come back in the second half, as he led the Packers back from a 20-3 deficit, as Green Bay roared back to beat Chicago 24-23.

Aaron versus da Bears at Lambeau in 2018

In Week 2, versus the Vikings at Lambeau, on the same day the Packers put Jerry Kramer’s name on the stadium facade and he was given his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring, the Packers saw a sure win taken away from them due to a very controversial roughing the quarterback call against Clay Matthews as he hit Kirk Cousins.

The game ended in a 29-29 tie, as Rodgers threw for 281 yards and a touchdown (without a pick). No. 12’s passer rating in the game was 97.4. And this all happened a week after Rodgers almost had his season ended against da Bears with his knee injury.

As it was, the Vikings sacked Rodgers four times.

In Week 5 against the Lions at Ford Field, Rodgers and the Packers were hurt by the kicking game, as kicker Mason Crosby missed four field goals and an extra point, as Detroit beat Green Bay 31-23.

Rodgers had a nice game, as he threw three touchdown passes without a pick for 442 yards. That added up to a passer rating of 108.0.

But for the Packers to have any chance of making the postseason, either as division champs or as a Wild Card team, they have to certainly defeat the Vikings Sunday night at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Rodgers can’t do it alone, but he has to play well for Green Bay to win. And as good as Rodgers has played in 2018, in spite of his lingering knee issues, he has also shown a few tendencies that have been rare throughout his career.

For one thing, Rodgers has just a 61.8 completion percentage this season, which is the second lowest of his career (64.9 average). Some of that could be due to his knee woes, plus he is playing with a number of younger wide receivers, including rookies Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown.

That has led to a number of inaccurate throws to open receivers. Besides that, we can’t forget that Rodgers has suffered two broken collarbones in his career, including the one from last season (after a hit by Anthony Barr of the Vikings) when Rodgers had to have 13 screws put in to repair his broken collarbone.

Still, Rodgers is still playing at a very high level, even though the Packers are 1-3 in their last four games. In those four games, Rodgers has thrown seven touchdown passes without a pick for 1,076 yards. That adds up to a combined passer rating of 108.2.

Teams should not be 1-3 when their quarterbacks play like Rodgers has the past four games overall, but it goes to show that there are a number of other issues with the 2018 Packers.

And a lot of heat is going in the direction of head coach Mike McCarthy.

Besides utilizing the skills of Rodgers on offense, the Packers also need to rely on running back Aaron Jones more.

The defensive and special teams units have to play better as well.

All that being said, Rodgers is the best chance the Packers have in getting back to the postseason again in 2018, after missing out in 2017.

A lot of that is due to the great success Rodgers has had against his NFC North rivals in his career.

The Hourglass is Running Out on Mike McCarthy’s Tenure in Green Bay

Mike McCarthy in Seattle

When one looks at the track record of Mike McCarthy as head coach of the Green Bay Packers over close to 13 seasons, there is a lot to like.

Things like having a 125-75-2 record in the regular season, which equates to a .624 winning percentage. That includes six NFC North titles.

Plus there is the fact that the Packers have been to the postseason nine times under his watch, including eight seasons in a row. But even though his team won Super Bowl XLV, McCarthy has not fared as well in the postseason overall, as he is just 10-8.

Included in that were three losses in the NFC title game, two of which were lost in overtime. In addition to that, McCarthy’s teams have lost two other postseason games in overtime.

That’s four overtime losses in the postseason.

Just imagine what McCarthy’s record might be in the postseason if his teams got a break or two in those games. Instead of 10-8, McCarthy’s record in the postseason might be much better and might include another Vince Lombardi Trophy or two.

But sometimes you have to create your own breaks. And that’s where some of us take issue with McCarthy’s tactics over the years in big games. Like being too conservative.

I’ll give you two examples and they both happened in the same stadium (CenturyLink Field) when the Packers played the Seattle Seahawks.

The first example is the 2014 NFC championship game. The Packers dominated the game for 55 minutes, but a breakdown on offense, defense and special teams in the last five minutes led to an agonizing 28-22 loss in overtime.

At one point the Packers were basically one more first down away from putting the game away. So what plays did McCarthy call in that instance? Three straight running plays. This with the 2014 NFL MVP (Aaron Rodgers) as your quarterback.

Then on Thursday night with the Packers down 27-24 with 4:02 to go in the game and the Packers facing a fourth-and-2 from their own 33-yard line, with just one timeout, McCarthy decided to punt, again with Rodgers as his QB.

The Packers never got the ball back, as the Packers were having big issues stopping the run in the second half of the game, plus defensive lineman Mike Daniels was out of the game with an ankle injury and fellow D-lineman Kenny Clark had also limped off with an injury.

So what was McCarthy’s explanation?

“We have the injuries to Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels, so yeah, it was definitely a consideration there,” McCarthy said. “But with the one timeout and the ability to stop the clock at the two-minute [warning], we played the numbers.”

That doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense.

Which is why the now 4-5-1 Packers might not make the postseason for the second straight year. Which also places McCarthy is the hot seat of being perhaps fired.

I hear from a lot of fans that McCarthy was fortunate that he had Brett Favre and Rodgers playing quarterback for him during most of his tenure. Plus, when Rodgers was hurt last year, the team didn’t fare very well with Brett Hundley at quarterback.

That is true, but at least McCarthy was smart enough to bring back Matt Flynn in 2013 when Rodgers was out with a similar injury. That helped the Packers achieve their third straight NFC North title.

But now things look much worse. It certainly appears that McCarthy and Rodgers are not on the same page in terms of the play calling on offense.

Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers

Plus, now McCarthy doesn’t have Ted Thompson as his GM anymore. That job now belongs to Brian Gutekunst. But even with a new general manager, the decision to keep or fire McCarthy lies with team president Mark Murphy.

On Friday, McCarthy talked to the media about his job status.

“That’s the job,” McCarthy said. “That’s the way this business has gone. I’m not going to get into comparables, but at the end of the day that’s part of the job responsibility of the head coach.

“We set a standard here the past 12 years, and it’s our responsibility to play to that standard.”

But McCarthy also realizes that things are different in today’s NFL, especially now that people can get information off the social media.

“I don’t think you can tune (criticism) out,” McCarthy said. “That’s the old days. That’s when you had newspapers. But I think today’s world, everything is accessible, everything is instant. I’m sure (Packers players are) all aware.”

McCarthy has been down this road before with his team, both in 2013 (when the Packers need a strong push from Flynn at the end of the season) and in 2016 (when the Packers need to win the last six games of the season to win the NFC North and make the playoffs).

Green Bay almost certainly has to run the table again with six straight wins in 2018 for the team to perhaps win the NFC North or get in as a Wild Card.

The odds of that don’t seem too good, especially knowing the team is 0-5 on the road.

There is growing speculation that McCarthy’s time in Green Bay is short. An article by Mike Silver of NFL.com illustrates that.

In the article, Silver uses a couple of quotes about McCarthy’s decision to punt late in the game.

Defensive back Tramon Williams of the Packers shared his thoughts on that subject.

“I want to go for it,” Williams said. “I want to play to win. We’ve got Aaron Rodgers. We (should) play to win — period. We don’t want to put it in anybody else’s hands. We’ve got the best quarterback in the league. We’ve got to put it in his hands and let him do what he does.”

Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. of the Seahawks was very happy with McCarthy’s decision.

“Oh my God,” Norton said after the game. “I was like, ‘Please! Punt! Punt! Punt!’ ”

Time will tell how this will all play out, but unless things change pretty drastically, the Packers will most likely will have a new head coach in 2019.

The Packers Can Exorcise Some Demons in Seattle on Thursday Night

Brandon Bostick Flub vs. Seahawks

Since Aaron Rodgers became the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers in 2008, he is 6-2 lifetime versus the Seattle Seahawks in the regular season and 0-1 against the Hawks in the postseason.

All three of those defeats happened at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, where it seems like every game between the two teams in the Emerald City has been written by Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame.

In 2012, the Packers lost 14-12 on the final play of the game on the infamous “Fail Mary” pass that was “caught” by Golden Tate.

In the season opener in 2014, the Packers were whipped 36-16, as Rodgers was sacked eight times in the first half alone.

But the topper was the 2014 NFC title game.

The Packers dominated that NFC championship game 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, as they lost 28-22 in overtime.

The Packers had a number of opportunities where they could have basically ended the game with just one play.

Plays like safety Morgan Burnett going to the ground after an interception, when it looked like he had a good chance to run the pick back for a touchdown, which would have clinched the game.

Or just getting one more first down. Instead of allowing Rodgers, the MVP of the league in 2014 to throw the ball, head coach Mike McCarthy had the Packers run it three straight times when getting just one first down basically would have ended the game.

Or just not screwing up on an onside kick, which is exactly what backup tight end Brandon Bostick did. Instead of blocking like he was supposed to do, so Jordy Nelson could catch the ball, Bostick tried to be a hero and catch the ball himself. He didn’t and the Seahawks recovered.

But all that is in the past now.

The good news is that Rodgers normally plays very well against the Seahawks. In the eight regular season games he has played against Seattle, Rodgers has completed almost 69 percent of his passes and has thrown 10 touchdown passes versus just two picks for 1,663 yards.

That adds up to a passer rating of 101.5.

That comes close to Rodgers’ career rating of 103.5, which is tops all time in the NFL, based on 1,500 passing attempts.

Aaron Rodgers vs. Seahawks

On Thursday night, Rodgers will be going up against the quarterback who is second on the all-time career passer rating. That would be the former Wisconsin Badger, Russell Wilson, who has a career passer rating of 99.7.

Wilson is 2-3 against the Packers in the regular season, and 1-0 versus the Pack in the postseason. All three of his wins happened at CenturyLink Field.

In the five regular season games, Wilson has thrown seven touchdown passes versus six interceptions for 925 yards. The completion percentage for Wilson is just under 58 percent. All told, his passer rating is just 75.8.

Both Rodgers and Wilson are playing better than the 2018 versions of their respective teams.

The Packers are 4-4-1, but Rodgers is having another Pro Bowl season, as he has thrown 17 touchdown passes versus just one interception for 2,741 yards. That adds up to a passer rating of exactly 100.

The Seahawks are just 4-5, but Wilson has thrown 21 touchdown passes compared to five picks for 1,967 yards. That adds up to an outstanding passer rating of 110.2.

In terms of how this game will play out, the Packers are ranked seventh in total offense and 11th in total defense. The Seahawks have struggled a bit on offense at times, as they are ranked 22nd in total offense and 12th in total defense.

As good as both quarterbacks have been for each team, the Packers and Seahawks both are more successful on offense in different ways.

The Packers are sixth in the NFL in passing, while the Seahawks are just 27th. But when it comes to running the rock, the Seahawks lead the NFL in rushing, as they average over 152 yards per game. The Green Bay running game (14th in the NFL) is getting better as well, as Aaron Jones has been a catalyst in that improvement.

While the Packers primarily use Jones (494 yards and a 6.8 yard rushing average) and Jamaal Williams (270 yards) to tote the rock, the Seahawks have been effective with three different running backs.

The Hawks have used Chris Carson (497 yards), Mike Davis (346 yards) and Rashaad Penny (254 yards).

The Packers are tied for the NFL lead in rushing average with the Denver Broncos, as they average 5.2 yards per carry. The Seahawks are tied for seventh with a 4.8 rushing average.

When it comes to the passing game, the Packers look to Davante Adams more times than not and No. 17 is having another outstanding season. Adams has 62 receptions for 787 yards and nine touchdowns.

The wide receiver who is really coming on for the Packers is rookie Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The rookie out of USF has 23 catches for 402 yards (17.5 average) and two scores. Lately the rookie has been getting as many snaps at wide receiver as Adams has. That tells you how much the Packers think of him.

The Packers also have former Seahawk Jimmy Graham at tight end. No. 80 has not produced like many thought he would in Green Bay, but is still a dangerous weapon, especially in the red zone. For the year, Graham has 33 catches for 439 yards and two touchdowns.

One of the reasons that the passing game has not jelled as much as it could for the Seahawks has been because of the injury issues (knee) with Doug Baldwin (23 catches for 275 yards). No. 89 is as healthy as he has been all year right now.

Russell Wilson vs. Packers

The primary target for Wilson has been Tyler Lockett, who has 33 receptions for 483 yards and seven touchdowns.

Nick Vannett has been the primary target at tight end, as he has 20 catches for 186 yards and two touchdowns.

The strength of the Green Bay defense has been the play of their young secondary, especially rookies Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson. Overall, the Packers are 5th in the NFL in passing defense.

On defense, the Packers might have an advantage, as defensive coordinator Mike Pettine was a consultant with the Seahawks in 2017 under head coach Pete Carroll. Pettine knows the personnel of the Hawks pretty well and he understands what it will take to stop Seattle defensively.

Stopping the run is No. 1 and that is where the Packers have to improve, as they are ranked 22nd in the NFL in run defense, as Green Bay gives up an average of almost 121 yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry.

Going up against the best running team in the NFL will be a real test.

But if the Packers can stop the run or at least shut it down somewhat, Green Bay should be able to put pressure on Wilson when he goes back to pass.

Some may find this hard to believe, but the Packers are tied for the NFL lead in sacks with 31, along with the Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have given up 29 sacks, which ranks them seventh in the NFL in sacks allowed.

Like the Packers do with Pettine, the Seahawks also have someone who knows the Green Bay personnel pretty well. That would be backup quarterback Brett Hundley, who the Hawks acquired via trade.

Bottom line, this should be one hell of a game, but I like the Packers to exorcise some demons in this game and get a big victory. A win would be a key turning point for the team in 2018.

That’s how important this game is for the Packers, especially with the Vikings being their next opponent on the road.

The Packers have beaten the Seahawks three straight times. All of those wins occurred at Lambeau Field in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

I see that streak going to four in a row, but this time the win will finally come in Seattle.

Green Bay Packers: Give Aaron Jones the Rock Often vs. the Miami Dolphins

Aaron Jones at Lambeau

When the 3-4-1 Green Bay Packers host the 5-4 Miami Dolphins at Lambeau Field on late Sunday afternoon, the host team should be in a good position to win the game.

For one, the Fins are starting Brock Osweiler, who is their second-string quarterback. In addition to that, Miami might be without three of their starting offensive linemen, as guard Ted Larsen (neck) is doubtful, while both left tackle Laremy Tunsil (knee and ankle) and right tackle Ja’Wuan James (knee) are questionable.

The 15th-ranked Green Bay defense has to take advantage of that against the 28th-ranked Miami offense in the NFL.

But the big edge that the Packers should have against the Dolphins is when they are on offense. The Packers are ranked sixth in the NFL in total offense, while the Dolphins are ranked 26th in total defense.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has thrown 15 touchdown passes versus just one interception for 2,542 yards (98.9 passer rating), should have a nice game against the 21st-ranked pass defense of Miami.

But the biggest advantage should come in the Green Bay running game, specifically by utilizing running back Aaron Jones.

Why is that?

Well, the Dolphins are ranked 28th in the NFL in stopping the run. Miami gives up an average of 136 yards per game on the ground and allow a whopping 4.6 yards per carry.

The Dolphins have also allowed 10 runs of 20 or more yards and two runs of 40 or more yards.

And this is where the Packers need to use Jones to their advantage.

Jones leads the NFL (with 50 rushes or more) with a rushing average of six yards per carry. Jones has also had two runs of 20 yards or more. But his touches have been limited.

Right now Jones has averaged less than 10 carries a game over the six games he has played. That is ridiculous based on his production.

Yes, I know that until Ty Montgomery was traded, Jones was part of a three-man rotation along with Montgomery and Jamaal Williams. Now, thanks to the subtraction of Montgomery, Jones should get ample opportunity to carry the rock.

But that also means that head coach Mike McCarthy has to be committed to the run game.

Jones has rushed for 349 yards in just 58 carries. Williams has rushed for 267 yards in 70 carries (a 3.8 average). Between the two of them, they only have three rushing touchdowns, with two of them coming from Jones.

The Packers are ranked 29th in the NFL in rushing attempts. Green Bay averages 22 rushes per game. That total need to get closer to 30 per game, even with Rodgers as your quarterback.

For one thing, that will make the play-action pass that more dangerous for Rodgers and give the opposing defense something to think about instead of pinning their ears back and rushing Rodgers.

Rodgers has been sacked 23 times this season already (tied for 8th in the NFL), including one that almost ended his season in Week 1 versus da Bears.

It just doesn’t make any sense why the Packers don’t run more often. The team is ranked 20th in rushing in the NFL, but that is almost solely based on the lack of rushing attempts.

The Packers are tied for fourth in the NFL in rushing average, as the team averages 4.8 yards per carry. And remember, Jones averages six yards per carry.

In the last two weeks, with both games on the road, Jones ran for 86 yards (and one TD) on just 12 carries (7.2 average) against the 8-1 Los Angeles Rams, and for 75 yards on just 14 carries (5.4 average) against the 7-2 New England Patriots.

Aaron Jones vs. the Pats

Yes, it was a fumble by Jones in the fourth quarter that turned the game against the Pats around. But it wasn’t a case of being careless with the ball. Jones had two hands wrapped around the ball as he ran through the hole and it took a great defensive play to force the fumble as Jones was rushing for more yardage.

That is the only fumble of the year for Jones, by the way. It was also the first fumble of No. 33’s NFL career…in 139 carries.

Bottom line, the Packers need to run the ball at least 30 times against the Dolphins, with Jones getting at least 20 of those carries.

For the Packers to salvage their postseason hopes, the team is going to need both of the guys named Aaron on offense to come through.

It’s pretty obvious to me that Jones needs to shoulder the load this week.

Comparing Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady Going Into Their SNF Showdown

Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady

Both Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots are considered two of the best quarterbacks to have ever played in the NFL.

When Rodgers and his 3-3-1 Packers take on Brady and his 6-2 Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Sunday night, it’s hard to fathom that this will be only the second time that the two have met as starters in a NFL game.

The last time the two met was also on a Sunday night, but that game was played at Lambeau Field in 2014. In that game, which the Packers won 26-21 over the Pats, Rodgers threw two touchdown passes without an interception for 368 yards, which added up to a passer rating of 112.6.

Brady wasn’t bad either, as he also threw two touchdown passes without a pick, but only for 245 yards, which adds up to a 102.7 passer rating.

Speaking of passer ratings, Rodgers is the all-time leader in NFL history with a career passer rating of 103.6. Meanwhile Brady is third on the list with a rating of 97.6. Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks and formerly of the University of Wisconsin, is second with a rating 99.6.

When one looks at what Rodgers and Brady have done so far in their NFL careers, it’s almost mind-boggling when you see what they have accomplished.

Besides being the all-time leader in passer rating, Rodgers is also the only quarterback in NFL history to have thrown an average of four touchdown passes to just one interception, as he has 326 career touchdown passes compared to just 79 interceptions, which equates to 4.13 TD passes vs. a pick.

Tom Terrific isn’t bad either in this stat, as he has thrown 504 touchdown passes compared to 167 interceptions, which equates to 3.02 TD passes to a one pick ratio.

Rodgers has been a NFL MVP twice, while Brady has won that award three times. Rodgers has been named to six Pro Bowl teams, while Brady has been named to a whopping 13 Pro Bowl teams.

Rodgers has been an AP first-team All-Pro twice, while Brady has been an AP first-team All-Pro three times.

Rodgers has won one Super Bowl, while Brady has won five. In Super Bowl XLV, Rodgers was named the MVP of the game, while Brady has won that same award in Super Bowl XXXVI, Super Bowl XXXVIII, Super Bowl XLIX and Super Bowl LI.

In terms of their postseason play, it might be surprising to some to know that Rodgers actually has a better passer rating than Brady. Rodgers is fifth all-time with a passer rating of 99.4, while Brady is 13th, with a passer rating of 90.9.

Rodgers has thrown 36 career touchdown passes in the postseason versus 10 interceptions for 4,458 yards. Brady has thrown 71 touchdown passes versus 31 picks for 10,226 yards.

So why then is Rodgers 9-7 in the postseason, while Brady is 27-10? It really comes down to defense for the most part. Brady has been surrounded by some really good defensive teams during his time in New England, while Rodgers except for a couple of years, has seen his defense get gashed many times in the playoffs.

In the seven losses that Rodgers has had in the postseason, his defense has given up point totals of 51, 37, 45, 23, 28, 26 and 44. That averages out to around 36 points a game.

Compare that to Brady’s 10 losses. When Brady has lost (and this includes three Super Bowl games), his teams have given up an average of 27.9 points.

All I know, is that it is easier to score four touchdowns in a game, as opposed to five touchdowns and a field goal.

Rodgers, the former Cal Bear star and Brady, the former Michigan Wolverine star, have a lot in common, besides being among the best who ever played in the NFL.

Both players wear No. 12 and both hail from Northern California. Rodgers is from Chico, while Brady is from San Mateo. The two are also good friends and have a deep respect for one another.

Aaron and Tom at Gillette Stadium

On Wednesday, when Rodgers spoke to the media, he said this about Brady being the greatest of all time, “”He’s got five championships. I think that ends most discussions.”

A day earlier when Brady was on WEEI’s Kirk and Callahan show, he talked about Rodgers and the debate about who is the best ever QB in NFL history.

“I think it’s a hypothetical question that is truly impossible to answer,” Brady  said. “It’s great to debate and those types of things. … It’s hard to compare positions and eras. It’s impossible to answer. I think Aaron is one of the best ever to play the game. He’s got every skill you need to be a great quarterback. I think there is a lot of other guys who are playing today that are phenomenal — Ben Roethlisberger, I think he is an incredible player. What Drew Brees has done, and I am just talking players who are playing. I mean Peyton Manning, I don’t think there was anyone who commanded the position better than Peyton what he did from Indy to Denver. That was spectacular. I got a chance to play against Brett Favre and I saw Steve Young last night and Joe Montana is a guy I have always looked up to.”

Brady brings up a great list of NFL quarterbacks. But only he and Bart Starr have won five NFL championships as quarterbacks. Starr, by the way, is the all-time postseason leader in passer ratings with a mark of 104.8.

Rodgers learned a lot from playing behind Favre for three years, but he and his quarterbacks coach Tom Clements closely studied the pocket presence of Brady when Rodgers got his opportunity to become a starter in 2008.

“Really tried to work on his pocket movement,” Rodgers said. “He’s phenomenal with his subtle movements in the pocket, creating space and getting into a cleaner launch point in that pocket. And that’s one thing we really worked on. Some of that is just natural instincts, but I think there is a good deal of that you can work on and try to incorporate in your own game.”

Rodgers learned his lessons from both Favre and Brady very well.

The bottom line in Sunday’s game between the Packers and Patriots is that it is almost a must win game for the Packers, especially after their heartbreaking 29-27 loss to the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday.

The loss was painful because soon to be former Packer Ty Montgomery took a kickoff out of the end zone and fumbled when he was told to take a knee. That fumble erased any chance Rodgers had to take the Packers down the field with over two minutes to go (and one timeout) to win the game.

Kicker Mason Crosby had already kicked two field goals in the game, including one from 53 yards out, plus Rodgers had thrown for 286 yards and one touchdown and had a passer rating of 102.9 heading into the drive that never took place due to Montgomery’s gaff.

I expect both Rodgers and Brady to play well on Sunday night, as both are having fine seasons once again in 2018.

Rodgers has thrown 13 touchdown passes and has only thrown one interception for 2,283 yards. That adds up to a passer rating of 100.4.

Brady has thrown 16 touchdown passes compared to seven picks for 2,200 yards. That adds up to a passer rating of 97.6.

I expect another close game with these two icons going at it on Sunday. In terms of who wins this big game, I’m leaning towards the No. 12 who wears green and gold.