28

October

Comparing Aaron Rodgers in 2011 to Other Great QB Seasons in History

Every positive hyperbole you could possibly think of has been used on Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and his performance level through seven games in 2011. While there is no doubt that he’s playing at a level above any quarterback in the NFL this season, where does Rodgers’ 2011 season rank historically?

We’ll start by showing you Rodgers’ current and projected 16-game stats, followed by breakdowns of other historically great quarterbacking seasons. You can make the call from there.

One last thing: You’ll notice that no season from earlier than 1994 is included. If we go back too far, say to Otto Graham or Sid Luckman, we lose the ability to compare and contrast stats on a worthwhile basis. So while there are other great seasons by quarterbacks not mentioned here, I picked the ones that can statistically stack up with this era of passing football.

AARON RODGERS 2011

Week Opponent Result Cmp Att Cmp% Yrd Avg TD INT Rating
1 Saints W 42-34 27 35 77.1 312 8.91 3 0 132.1
2 Panthers W 30-23 19 30 63.3 308 10.27 2 0 119.9
3 Bears W 27-17 28 38 73.7 297 7.82 3 1 111.4
4 Broncos W 49-23 29 38 76.3 408 10.74 4 1 134.5
5 Falcons W 25-14 26 39 66.7 396 10.15 2 0 117.0
6 Rams W 24-3 18 29 62.1 316 10.90 3 1 119.3
7 Vikings W 33-27 24 30 80.0 335 11.17 3 0 146.5
7-GM TOTALS 7-0 171 239 71.5 2372 9.92 20 3 125.7
END PROJECTIONS 16-0 390 546 71.5 5421 9.92 45 6 125.7

Quick notes: If Rodgers stays on his current pace, he would set new NFL records in yards (5,421), completion percentage (71.5) and passer rating (125.7). Rodgers would rank fourth in TDs (45), fifth in average yards per attempt (9.92).

The rest of the schedule is something to look at, too. The remaining teams and their pass defense on the Packers schedule: Chargers (3rd), Vikings (29th), Buccaneers (26th), Lions (9th), Giants (18th), Raiders (25th), Chiefs (17th), Bears (27th) and Lions (9th).

TOM BRADY 2007

Wk Opponent Result Cmp Att Cmp% Yrd Avg TD INT Rating
1 Jets W 38-14 22 28 78.6 297 10.61 3 0 146.6
23

October

Packers vs. Vikings: 5 Things to Watch

The Minnesota Vikings (1-5) will start rookie quarterback Christian Ponder Sunday when they take on the undefeated Green Bay Packers (6-0) at the Metrodome.

The basics 

When: 3:15 CDT; Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011.

Where: Mall of America Field at the Metrodome; Minneapolis, MN.

TV: FOX; Thom Brennaman and Troy Aikman with the call, Pam Oliver on the sidelines.

Radio: 620 AM WTMJ (Milwaukee), Packers Radio Network, Westwood One, NFL Sunday Drive (Sirius Radio).

Series: Packers lead, 51-48-1 (Packers won the last regular season game, 31-3, in Minnesota on Nov. 21, 2010).

Five things to watch

1. A new era in Minnesota

The Vikings will be ushering in a new era at quarterback Sunday, as rookie Christian Ponder makes his first NFL start in place of veteran Donovan McNabb. Say what you want about Tarvaris Jackson, but Ponder represents the Vikings first attempt at developing a young quarterback since Daunte Culpepper in 2002. It’s been nothing but stop-gap options for Minnesota since Culpepper was traded to the Miami Dolphins before the 2006 season. At 6-2, 230 pounds, Ponder is a smart, athletic quarterback whom the Vikings liked enough to draft with the 12th overall pick last April. The majority of draft pundits said that the pick was a reach for Minnesota. But the Vikings absolutely needed to address the quarterback position and most of those same draft pundits called Ponder the most ready quarterback in the draft to play right away. While starting Ponder for the first time against the defending Super Bowl champions probably wasn’t how the Vikings envisioned their quarterback situation shaking out in 2011, McNabb simply didn’t play well enough to continue keeping Ponder on the bench. Starting Ponder is what the fans wanted. They got it. The Ponder era begins Sunday.

2. His toughest test

Packers second-year tackle Marshall Newhouse has taken on each and every challenge put in front of him this season, but he faces his toughest test of 2011 Sunday in Minnesota. Will he be up to the task?