On Thursday, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy announced that quarterback Aaron Rodgers would be Green Bay's starting quarterback. Rodgers will be playing for the first time since being sidelined against the Chicago Bears in early November. Now, with Rodgers likely rusty moving into a winner-take-all showdown with the Bears, we have to wonder if Rodgers actually gives the Packers a better chance than Matt Flynn to grab the win and a playoff spot.
Statistically, there's really no comparison between Flynn and Rodgers. If football were a game based only on numbers, Rodgers would be the clear choice for the Packers. In eight games of action, Aaron Rodgers has completed 66.9% of his passes, throwing 15 touchdowns and only four interceptions. In seven games, Matt Flynn has completed 62% of his passes (still respectable), eight touchdowns and thrown five interceptions. Matt Flynn's numbers aren't exactly terrible, but they're nowhere near the level of Rodgers' stats.
That's the easy way of looking at the decision. Statistics, however, don't tell us the entire story.
Matt Flynn has been seeing action with the Packers every week over the past month. To this point, Matt Flynn is 2-2-1 in games he's played with Green Bay this season, and the Packers haven't exactly played a cupcake schedule either. Rodgers hasn't seen any live action in nearly two months. Because of this, it's reasonable to believe that he'll be somewhat rusty early on, and if the Bears' offense gets back on track, the Packers can't afford to fall behind early.
That's the argument against starting Aaron Rodgers. The argument for starting Rodgers requires us to consider the price at the end of the playoffs.
There's no question that the Packers have a better chance of winning the Super Bowl with their star quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, under center as opposed to Matt Flynn. If the Packers do wait to start Rodgers until the wildcard round of the playoffs, they'll be putting a rusty quarterback in the starting role against a team likely to be better than the Chicago Bears. By starting Rodgers against the Bears, the Packers should be able to eliminate that rust.
The Bears aren't a pushover team. At times, they've played as well as any team in the NFL, but there's no denying their weaknesses. They don't defend the run very well, and the Packers may be able to take pressure off Aaron Rodgers early on by using their running game to open up their passing attack. In essence, the Packers are trying to get Rodgers back in the swing of live action before the playoffs, and that's probably their best bet if they hope to have any chance of surviving deep into the NFC playoffs.
So, yes, there's a perfectly valid argument present that suggests the Packers should start Matt Flynn over Aaron Rodgers, but such an argument is a short-sighted discussion. The Packers still have aspirations beyond the first round of the postseason, and by starting Aaron Rodgers against the Bears, he'll be better prepared for the playoffs should the Packers be able to succeed in eliminating their divisional rival. Because of this, there's no reason the Packers should wait any longer in putting Rodgers back into the lineup. If he feels he's ready to play, he should be under center.