The Packers are now 4-4 after getting dominated by the Lions on Monday Night Football, and have lost three straight games. When Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone in the first quarter of Green Bay’s Week 6 game against the Vikings, the Packers were 4-1 and coming off a 35-31 win over the Cowboys in Dallas. They looked as good as any team in the NFC. And now they look about as bad as any team in the NFL.
That’s how insanely good Aaron Rodgers is, and why he’s the most valuable player in the NFL.
Yes, Brett Hundley isn’t ready to start games at quarterback in the NFL and has predictably looked rough so far (57-of-97, 1 TD, 4 INT, 58.3 QB rating). But very few quarterbacks in the NFL would even make this team look average, and Rodgers had them looking like a possible Super Bowl contender. That’s what elite quarterback play does.
Rodgers — owner of far and away the best career passer rating in league history — masked so many deficiencies of this Packers team and has done that for years.
He makes the wide receivers look better with amazing ball placement (though, there’s no doubt Jordy Nelson is outstanding regardless), and some throws nobody else alive can make.
How did Aaron Rodgers do this? One of the best throws I've ever seen: https://t.co/8Ca0LYrjjN
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) September 30, 2014
He makes the offensive line look better by his ability to feel pressure, read blitzes, and extend plays.
He makes the running game better due to the defense needing to be focus on him first and usually being forced into nickel defenses as a result. He makes the Packers’ defense look better because of longer drives on offense that keep the opposition off the field, and that keeps the Green Bay defense fresh.
All of this adds up to the difference between the Packers being a bad football team and a very good one. The Packers have been to the playoffs eight straight seasons with Rodgers at quarterback, and have gone 2-10-1 in games he either didn’t start or finish due to injury.
The Packers fall to 2-10-1 when Aaron Rodgers does not start or finish a game because of injury. Lions 30, Packers 17.
— Mark Potash (@MarkPotash) November 7, 2017
It’s very likely the Packers’ playoff streak ends at eight seasons, with Rodgers possibly done for the year and not eligible to return until Week 15 at the earliest. The fact that they have made the playoffs in eight straight seasons (the NFL record is nine) is truly unbelievable given some of these rosters. Last year’s Packers team had no business being a playoff team, and Rodgers took them to the NFC Championship Game.
But the unreasonable obsession we have with rings will prevent Rodgers from getting the recognition he deserves, and hot take artists will be ready to pounce on his next playoff loss, likely in January 2019 on another below average Packers roster.
Peyton Manning’s career wasn’t appreciated nearly enough until he got his second ring, which happened in a season he was statistically the worst starting quarterback in the NFL. The 2015 Broncos were a championship team in spite of Peyton Manning. And it’s becoming clearer and clearer that Aaron Rodgers has been winning in spite of these heavily flawed Packers teams.