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Cheese Curds, 11/11: Packers’ passing game among NFL’s best at halfway point

Sure, they didn’t have their WR1 for two games or their WR2 for five games, but Matt LaFleur still has the Packers among the elite passing teams in the NFL.

Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers’ passing game was, in a word, decent in 2019. Matt LaFleur’s arrival in Green Bay changed the offense very little from the 2018 version, at least in terms of the overall results; in both seasons, the Packers finished 10th in passing offense DVOA, while Aaron Rodgers maintained a passer rating in the high 90s.

2020, though? It’s a whole different ballgame.

While those last two years saw the DVOA sitting around 20%, this year the value is up to 47.5%, good for a third-place ranking. Rodgers’ passer rating is 117.5 — higher than any season in his career aside from 2011 — and his average net yards per attempt (or ANY/A) is 8.84, second to only Patrick Mahomes and with a cavernous gap down to third-place Ryan Tannehill and his 8.08 value.

Meanwhile, Davante Adams leads the NFL in every receiving category on a per-game basis. He may be trailing in some total counting stats categories due to missing two games to a hamstring injury, but at his current pace he’ll be at or right near the top of the receiving leaderboard if he remains healthy the rest of the way.

Truly, it has been an impressive change for a team that has had few new faces in the receiving corps. Creative game plans, a dominant WR1, and development from the team’s tight end group have been the driving forces behind this improvement, which has far outpaced even the steady increase in passing efficiency around the NFL. For example, week 9 was the best passing week in league history, but even so, Rodgers stayed well ahead of the league average pace.

Finally, and on a more serious note, today is Veteran’s Day here in the US, and we at Acme Packing Company want to say thank you to all of veterans for their service and sacrifice.

Numbers say Packers’ Davante Adams is NFL’s best WR in 2020 | Packers Wire
Don't believe Davante himself? Trust the numbers - he's the best there is, and he's going to need a new contract after 2021.

Week 9 (2020) Passing Stats: The Greatest Passing Week In NFL History | Football Perspective
By ANY/A, week 9 was the best week of passing in the league's history. By passer rating, it comes in second, but relatively few sacks boosted the ANY/A number. Of course, Aaron Rodgers contributed to these numbers in a big way with his 4-TD game against the 49ers.

Jon Runyan proving his worth as next-man-up on Packers’ offensive line | Packers.com
Runyan has subbed in during three games this year (not including a couple of kneel-down snaps in another game) and has been very solid in doing so, whether playing right or left guard. That ability to plug in without missing a beat allows the Packers to trust the middle of their line if Elgton Jenkins needs to move out to another spot.

Owners approve playoff contingency plans, diversity proposal – The Athletic (subscription)
Item one is to approve an expansion of the playoffs to 16 teams if games get canceled due to COVID-19. The second was to award additional draft picks to teams that develop minority coaches or executives who get hired elsewhere for head coach or GM jobs.

Remembering the time Aaron Rodgers got host Alex Trebek to do his championship belt | GB Press-Gazette
With the "Jeopardy!" host passing away this weekend, it's worth looking back at a Packers connection to him and to the show. Rodgers even got a bit star-struck when meeting Trebek, who he had watched on the show since he was a child.

Cincinnati’s Christmas tree the greatest glow-up of 2020 | WLWT.com
This tree arrived looking sad and droopy, but over a few days the city was able to spruce it up and get it looking good again. Hopefully this will be a metaphor for how 2020 as a whole will end.