This week’s Green Bay Packers game against the San Francisco 49ers is the team’s highest-leverage game in years, and it could end up being the biggest game of the season depending on how the next few weeks shake out. With only the Packers-Vikings game in week 16 giving it a reasonable run for its money, this Sunday Night Football matchup is every bit the premier matchup that the time slot deserves.
Heading into the contest, Packers fans are feeling confident in the team overall. With the Packers coming off a bye week, confidence in the APC FanPulse index sits at a comfortable 75 percent. That dipped a few points from last week’s 79 percent rating, but that probably fits within the margin for error given the sample size of the FanPulse group.
Here’s a look at the trend line:
The question here is how significantly will the result of Sunday night’s game cause this number to fluctuate? A victory over San Francisco — a 9-1 team — should push confidence well over the 80 percent mark and perhaps over the previous season-high of 89 percent (set following the victory over Kansas City).
But a loss? Losing a game on the road to a 9-1 team should not be seen as an indictment of the current squad, even if the 49ers have not yet beaten a truly good team. Not all fans would see it that way, of course, so there would certainly be a drop. The Packers’ two previous losses each dropped confidence at least 25 points. Would the number fall all the way to 50% or below if they lose on Sunday night? Hopefully not.
Meanwhile, the NFL-wide question this week should be a bit irritating for Packers fans. The poll asked which of six quarterbacks will be the best five years from now, but one option in the poll is not like the others:
There should be no surprise that the defending MVP is running away with the vote here, though this writer was a bit surprised to see Lamar Jackson’s numbers below 20 percent.
The problem here, however is this: why is Tom Brady on this poll but not Aaron Rodgers? Brady — who is already 42 years old — is officially showing signs of his decline, with a yards-per-attempt number lower than any point in his career since 2002 and a passer rating 12 points below his average from 2007 to 2018. Meanwhile, Rodgers is having a resurgence at age 35, with his Y/A and passer rating back up to career average levels.
Will Rodgers be better than some of the quarterbacks on this list in five years? This writer would put his money on Mahomes. But including Brady here is just silly.