Aaron Rodgers Makes All the Difference for the Green Bay Packers

Tom LoganCorrespondent INovember 26, 2013

Aaron Rodgers' health is critical to the Packers' success.
Aaron Rodgers' health is critical to the Packers' success.Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

During Monday's news conference, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said that the chances of Aaron Rodgers playing against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day are "slim to none"—as Packers.com reports

I expect Matt Flynn to get the start Thursday, but one thing remains crystal clear: The impact of Aaron Rodgers' absence has been monumental. 

Replacing the production of an All-Pro quarterback is a tremendously difficult task. Through seven games with Rodgers at the helm, the Packers sat at 5-2 and were in control of the NFC North.

Their offense was humming, averaging 30.28 points per game, and Rodgers' stellar play was opening up big running lanes for standout rookie running back Eddie Lacy

But then, on Monday Night Football against the Chicago Bears, Lambeau Field fell silent after Rodgers was slammed to the turf of the frozen tundra. 

Almost a month later Rodgers remains sidelined with a collarbone fracture, and the Packers have yet to find a serviceable replacement to fill the void. ESPN sports gambling expert Chad Millman noted after Rodgers' injury that the affected Point Spread Value Above Replacement, or PSVAR, could affect betting lines by up to 10 points per game, the highest of any player in the NFL

Sure enough, in the four games that Rodgers has been absent (including the Bears game, in which he was injured on the first series), the Packers have averaged just 18 points per game.

Backup quarterbacks Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien and Flynn have all struggled to find a rhythm, and the average of 12 fewer points per game has certainly proven the importance of Rodgers' health. 

Despite Lacy's increased production, the Packers are now 0-3-1 since Rodgers' injury and are now a long shot to make the playoffs. 

The Packers defense has also struggled in Rodgers' absence at a time when they needed to do the exact opposite. They've allowed 26.75 points per game in the four games that Rodgers has been out after allowing 22.57 through seven games.

Rob Reischel of the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel also notes that the Packers have allowed an average of 159.2 rushing yards per game in the last five contests, while they had been allowing just 79 yards per game in the first six.

But part of this can be attributed to Rodgers' ability to move the football more consistently and keep the opposing offense off the field.

Rodgers' health is absolutely imperative to the Packers' success, and he's expected back in the next few weeks. Unfortunately for Packer fans, it'll likely be too late.