Aaron Rodgers was the new face of the Green Bay franchise and the Bleacher Report had a week by week comparison of the two quarterbacks.
Each week, David Arreola wrote up his summary of the weekend games, including the good, bad, and the ugly. Then he crowned either Brett or Aaron the winner of the week.
Last year, David scored Rodgers winning the week to week competition at 9-8, while 78.8 percent of respondents to his poll said Rodgers played better as a whole in 2008.
This year, the saga continues, as Brett retired, was released by the Jets, and then was given the full court press by the Minnesota Vikings coaxing him back into the NFL. Who will have the better games week by week? This preview edition compares what’s new before the real season begins.
Brett Favre, The Hired Gun
Brett Favre was with the New York Jets in 2009 and completed the season at 9-7. Through the first 11 games, Favre had 20 touchdowns and 14 interceptions with a QB rating of 94.5. Favre guided the Jets to an 8-3 record, including back-to-back road wins at the Titans and the Patriots.
Then the wheels fell off. Brett went down the stretch throwing only 2 touchdowns and 8 interceptions in the last five games. The Jets went down with him going 1-4 and missing the playoffs.
Favre's new receiving corps with the Vikings is loaded with interesting pieces. Rookie Percry Harvin is an exceptional talent with a great first step and is capable of lining up anywhere on the field. Bernard Berrian caught 48 passes last year and possesses speed on the outside. Bobby Wade is a reliable receiver, while Sidney Rice is a big target at 6’4” who is coming back from a knee injury last year.
Visanthe Shiancoe led NFC tight ends with seven touchdown catches last season. The Vikings' offensive line is outstanding, particularly the left side (McKinnie/Hutchinson). But the best asset for Brett is Adrian Peterson at running back. Chester Taylor also ran for 399 yards and caught 45 passes coming out of the backfield. The Minnesota defense has been dominate against the run for several years and is very good overall.
In one preseason game with significant play, Brett Favre showed some rust, but completed 13 of 18 passes for 142 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown pass to RB Chester Taylor.
Whether or not reports are true of a cracked rib, Favre didn't appear to be slowed down against the Texans. Favre shrugged it off in an interview saying there was nothing you could do if it was cracked, so why bother X-raying it.
Mr. Rodgers’s Neighborhood
Aaron Rodgers had a magnificent first year statistically as a starter in Green Bay. Even though Rodgers played through a separated shoulder injury sustained in week four, he had 28 touchdowns versus 13 interceptions with an outstanding QB rating of 93.8. However, the Packers as a whole were a huge disappointment, winning six games—which included two wins over the worst team in NFL history.
The Packers were not only hard hit by injuries on defense, but plagued by penalties on offense for false starts and illegal motions. At the end of 2008, the Packers lost the last five out of six and were 0-7 in games decided by four points or fewer. Whether it was the defense giving up fourth quarter drives or having a game winning field goal blocked, it appeared the Packers were cursed in 2008.
Aaron Rodgers has been even sharper in 2009, leading the Packers to a 3-0 preseason start, completing a sizzling 71.1 percent of his passes (27 of 38) for 458 yards, six touchdowns and a 151.1 quarterback rating. Rodgers has directed nine touchdown drives on 12 possessions this month.
The Packers have an awesome receiving corps with pro bowl receiver Donald Driver and the explosive Greg Jennings leading the way. Last year, the Packers added Jordy Nelson and still have James Jones and Ruvell Martin with experience. The five wide receivers could be considered the best group in the NFL.
At tight end, Jermichael Finley could emerge as a big play guy to go with the solid possession receiver Donald Lee. Ryan Grant battled injuries at running back last year, but is healthy and should produce an effective running game to slow down the pass rush.
The Packers didn’t resign veteran offensive lineman Mark Tauscher during the offseason. The offensive line is still being tweaked throughout the preseason but all have experience. Jason Spitz right now is starting at center with Daryn Colledge LG, Josh Sitton RG, Allen Barbe RT, and Chad Clifton LT filling out the line.
The Packers' defense was horrible last year, but they changed to a 3-4 and got back several veterans returning from injuries. Green Bay has generated 13 turnovers in three preseason games compared to 28 takeaways in 16 regular-season games last year. The defense looks awesome in preseason, but will that transfer over into the real thing?
Favre and Rodgers By the Numbers
* - 291 including playoffs
Last year, the deck was stacked against Favre. Favre went to the 4-12 Jets who were retooling the entire team, while Green Bay was coming off 13 regular season wins in 2007.
This year, Brett joins a team that features a great running back, an excellent defense, and is already playoff caliber. The gray haired experience is obvious, but will that transform into advantage this year? Aaron Rodgers has arrived, but can he carry the Packers over their hated rivals? Will either quarterback finish the season standing?
This year, both teams play the AFC North and NFC West with identical schedules, except the Vikings get the NY Giants and Carolina Panthers while the Packers get the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Of course, this year, Rodgers and Favre have the chance of going head to head twice. The Vikings and Packers will be joined by the Chicago Bears with pro bowl quarterback Jay Cutler contending for the NFL North title in 2009. I am looking forward to comparing the good, the bad, and the ugly week by week.