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.
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.