When Aaron Rodgers was announced as the starting QB for the Packers in their NFC North deciding match up with the Bears this weekend, everything we though about the game changed. With Rodgers back in command of the potent Green Bay offense the bears fell from 4.5 point favorites to 3 point underdogs. The Green Bay offense is unquestionably better with Rodgers in the huddle, but the lingering question is: How will Rodgers perform after missing so much time?
Aaron Rodgers hasn’t missed too many games due to injury, so I’ve looked at games that he did not play in the week before to try getting a small snap shot of how missing time could affect his play this Sunday. I’ve also limited it to the six years that he’s been the starting QB. So what do the stats say?
Aaron Rodgers has a 66.0 completion percentage during the last six years, when not playing the week before his completion percentage increases to 67.9. This isn’t a good sign when considering the Bears lackluster pass defense this year. It is worth noting that in only four of the eleven games I’ve looked at his completion percentage surpassed the 70% mark, and in three of the games he had a sub 60% completion percentage.
His yards per game decrease from 274.3 to 265.7 which doesn’t sound like a big difference, however having such a small sample size does come into play here. The average is inflated due to two games. When those two games are taken out his YPG dips to 246.2 and in three of the games he failed to reach the 200 yard mark. the TD to interception ration does remain unchanged at 2/1.
Total QBR might be the most valuable stat when looking at QB performance. It takes more into account than the passer rating statistic does. Passer rating only takes into account the stats (attempts, TD, INT etc…) Whereas the Total QBR is more about winning probability and how the quarterback contributes to the teams chances of winning. Aaron Rodgers over the last six years averages a 73.2 Total QBR, but when not playing the week before his Total QBR drops to 64.8 which would put him on par with Matt Ryan and Jay Cutler this year. It is only a nine-point drop, but Andrew Luck and Christian Ponder are only 9.9 points apart in Total QBR this year, so it is a larger deficit than it seems.
Ultimately it still comes down to this Sunday, and these stats are only a look into what “could” happen during the game. Chicago still has to contend with one of the games best quarterbacks in football, in the most important game of the season. If Aaron Rodgers completes 67.9% of his passes for 246.2 yards, with 2 TD to 1 INT, and has a Total QBR of 64.8, and Green Bay wins, I doubt Chicago fans will take any comfort in his below average stats.