What do you get when you cross a quarterback who is second in the league in touchdowns in the NFL and a pass defense that has allowed the most touchdowns in the AFC? Hopefully what you find is a good match up for the Green Bay Packers as they face the Tennessee Titans this Sunday at Lambeau Field.
This may sound like an odd statement, but Aaron Rodgers may be flying a bit under the radar right now. He is once again putting together a strong season and could reasonably be considered a MVP candidate. He is the highest rated quarterback in the league, thrown for the second most touchdowns (only Drew Brees passing for more), third in the league in completion percentage (only Matt Ryan and Peyton Manning having higher percentages), and is closing in on another 4,000 yard season. What may be more telling than the raw stats though may be the job Rodgers has done bringing the Packers back into contention. The Packers have won eight of their past nine games and have worked their way back from a 2-3 start. A start where many considered Packers’ season over before it really started. From that low point Rodgers has led the team to a second consecutive NFC North Championship and a possible first round bye in the playoffs. He has done this behind a questionable offensive line, at times depleted receiving corp, and nonexistent running game. That’s not even mentioning the injuries.
Despite all of these it’s rare to find one of the national media outlet pushing him for MVP….or even what a good season Rodgers is having right now. Typically you will hear about the amazing rookie quarterbacks, the stunning comebacks of Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson, or the run of the mill praise for Tom Brady. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times in the NFL, that we are truly living in a golden age of the quarterback position. Perhaps it’s just easy to forget about Green Bay since we haven’t had too many splashy victories this year, instead grinding out a win week after week. No matter the reason the Packers , and especially Rodgers, tend to get lost in the publicity shuffle at the moment….and they probably wouldn't want it any other way.
This week the Rodgers has a prime opportunity to shine when facing a struggling Titans secondary. Currently the Titans are allowing 240.6 yards per game, good for fourteenth in the league. They have also allowed an average rating of 92.3 to opposing quarterbacks, putting them in the bottom third of the league. Most telling of all may be the 26 TD that the secondary has allowed. This the most touchdowns allowed in the AFC and the fourth most in the entire NFL.
The pass defense does have its strong points. Most notably its ability to pick off the quarterback. The Titans have 16 interceptions on the year, the same amount the Packers have picked off. The Titans are led in this area by Jason McCourty with 4 INTs. The Titians' defense showed off this ability last week against the Jets, brutalizing Mark Sanchez for four interceptions on the night. The good news for Packer fans is that Rodgers is just a little bit better than Sanchez. Rodgers is also much more secure with the ball, throwing only 8 interceptions so far this year.
Week in and week out the fate of the Packers rests on the shoulder of Aaron Rodgers. This week will be no different. This week may provide Rodgers an opportunity to light up the scoreboard and get the offense ready for the playoffs. If he can do that than many Packer fans would consider it an early Christmas present.