QB Aaron Rodgers needs to be a buy in fantasy

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers needs to be sought out

By Chris Moore (Twitter: @fantasy_moore)

While Aaron Rodgers just had the worst game of his pro career in Week 1, I wouldn’t be panicking about the future hall of Famer just yet. Rodgers and the Packers as a whole looked terrible against the Saints in week 1. The Saints completely dominated the Packers through four quarters. The result even led to some wild conspiracy’s online. About Rodgers possibly tanking due to how bad he looked on Sunday.

I think the result was clearly due to Rodgers missing almost all of the offseason, the change of game location, and the Packers didn’t look right on either side of the ball in Week 1. It was a rough outing for the Packers as a whole, but this performance should be viewed as an anomaly. The Packers are still favorites to win their division and remain one of the best teams in the NFC.

Buy Opportunity

Right now is the perfect opportunity to trade for the 2020 NFL MVP, as Week 1 might be Rodger’s worst fantasy performance we see all year. Rodgers and the Packers will have a great bounce-back opportunity in Week 2 against the Lions, and now should be the time to capitalize and make a trade for him. Matter, in fact, the Lions, Bears, and Vikings defense all look timid for the second straight season. Next week it may be too late to trade for the former MVP. The Packers still have one of the best offenses in the NFL, and they aren’t going to perform as poorly as they did in Week 1 every week.

Season Outlook

Let’s not forget how dominant this offense was last season. Rodgers finished as the QB3 last year. Aaron Jones finished 2020 as the RB5. Davante Adams finished as the WR1, and Robert Tonyan was the TE3. The Packers’ offense completely dominated in fantasy last season, and there’s still a chance they are that great again this year. One bad game shouldn’t change your view on how good this team can be in terms of fantasy. Rodgers was incredible last season, and I believe he has the chance to achieve that success again in 2021.

Ride The Last Dance

If you currently own Rodgers, there’s no reason why you should be hopping off the train just yet. It is unrealistic to expect Rodgers to put up the numbers he did in 2020. It’s not unrealistic to view Rodgers as a top fantasy QB. Rodgers has clear top-five fantasy upside in this offense, and he’s someone I would be looking to buy low on. While it’s anyone’s guess if this is Rodger’s last season in Green Bay, I don’t expect him to go out like this. Rodgers is going to look like the quarterback we saw last year. It’s only a matter of time until we see him and Adams tearing up secondaries once again. Right now is the perfect opportunity to trade for Rodgers while he’s coming off one of the worst performances of his career. Now is the time to hop on the Aaron Rodgers train and ride the last dance.

Saints Week 1 showdown: what exactly happened?

What was behind Saints Week 1 big victory?

By: Courtney Burrows

Week 1 is in the books and what a wild one it was to start off the 2021-22 NFL season.  There have been many off-season stories that have left us scratching our heads and others that have us jumping in anticipation.  (Or wait, is it only me jumping!)  All I can say is Week 1 delivered highs and lows for me and others in the fantasy community, and I am very happy that football is back. There were crazy games and players who shined and crashed, but the best game in my opinion of the week was New Orleans Saints versus Green Bay where the Saints came marching in and roasted the Packers 38-3.

                The Packers came to Jacksonville to play the Saints who were displaced by Hurricane Ida. The Saints were led by QB Jameis Winston who won the starting job from Taysom Hill in the pre-season. This was the first game the team played without their leader Drew Brees under center. No one knew what to expect or what to feel, but this die-hard Saints fan knew Winston would be our guy and have been rooting for him. 

In Winston’s last season with the Bucs, he threw for 5,109 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 30 interceptions. He was released by the team, and no one wanted to give the once 1st round draft pick a starting chance. So, he became the 3rd string behind Brees and under Coach Payton’s regime and began to study quietly with his head down, determined, and focused. This is a new Winston under center, a leader in the locker room determined to prove he is the right QB to once again lead a team, and prove he did in Jacksonville Saturday afternoon.

                The Saints defensive attack led by Zack Baun who had five tackles made Rodgers scramble and throw erratically which is not the steady hand we are used to seeing.  Rodgers ended with two interceptions, 15 completions on 28 attempts, and a passer rating of 36.8%.  He could not get anything done in the red zone with his star wideout Adams and star RB Jones was unable to go anywhere on the ground.  The Saints defense came to play, and with them making stop upon the stop, the offensive had ample opportunity to carve up plays. The time of possession was almost a full 10 minutes over the Pack.  Kamara led the rushing attack with 83 out of 171 total yards. Winston only had 148 yards in the air, but they were calculated and precise with zero interceptions, five total touchdowns to four different receivers, and a passer rating of 130.8%. The most surprising was 2nd year TE Juwan Johnson he hauled in two touchdowns and will be another hot wavier wire this week. Though fellow TE Trautman led the team in targets, Johnson is only owned in 1.8% of ESPN leagues. 

The one injury of note is star pass-rusher Marcus Davenport, who ended Sunday with three tackles and one sack, underwent an MRI to see the extent of an apparent pectoral muscle injury which was deemed a strain not a tear.  This is fantastic news for the defensive as he should return sooner than later.  In the meantime, Carl Granderson and rookie Payton Turner will have to step up in a big way. 

For a guy that no one had much faith in besides the WHODAT nation, Winston did well and proved many doubters wrong.  He and the Saints decimated and embarrassed the Packers in the Sunshine State.  It won’t be a walk in the park in every contest for the Saints, but this is a confidence builder. All the parts fit together to make one cohesive, strong unified team under one of the best coaches in the game today. I am proud of Winston and his character today. I look forward to this season, and can’t wait for Sunday Funday.

#WHODAT

Find me on twitter at luvtractor3 for any questions and just for everyday football fun. 

Green Bay Packers 2021 Season Preview: Rodgers Last Dance in the Green and Gold

Previewing the Green Bay Packers 2021 season

By: Kyle McKee

What a few years it’s been for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. From making back to back NFC championship games, to seeing your organization select your replacement in the first round. From winning an MVP award at 37 years old, to an Adam Schefter report coming out hours before the 2020 draft that Rodgers has played his last snap in Green Bay. Fast forward to the present day and all signs are pointing towards the 2021 NFL season being Aaron Rodgers last in Green Bay. 

After the Packers NFC championship loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rodgers had this to say in the postgame press conference: “A lot of guys’ futures, they’re uncertain, myself included… Just going to have to take some time away and clear my head and kind of see what’s going on with everything.“ That was the first real sign that Rodgers’ time in Green Bay may be coming to an end., which sent the NFL world in a frenzy. Then a few days later on the Pat McAfee show, Rodgers doubled down by saying that he’s simply not sure of his future with Green Bay, even saying “It was a realization that ultimately my future is not necessarily in my control.”

Then the off-season came and things got really weird. Before trading for Matthew Stafford, the Rams tried to kick the tires on acquiring Rodgers, but the Packers refused to deal him. Then Rodgers was a guest host on Jeopardy and seriously thought about retirement. Oh, and who could forget when ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on draft day that Aaron Rodgers wants out of Green Bay, and has played his last snap with the team. Last, but certainly not least, seemingly out of nowhere engagement to actress Shailene Woodley and their vacation photos with Miles Teller. 

Despite all of that Rodgers drama in the off-season and many more stories that I didn’t mention, Rodgers reported to training camp and is still the starting QB for Green Bay for one last season. 

So what does all this drama mean for the Packers 2021 season? Well, before we discuss that, let’s first talk about Rodgers first press conference of the 2021 season. 

In that press conference, Rodgers laid out all of his frustrations with the organization. When asked by a reporter, “what was this all about,” referring to Rodger’s displeasure with the direction of the organization, Rodgers said he wished to be more involved in organizational decisions. He also talked about “how some of the out-going veterans were treated and just the fact that we (Packers) didn’t retain a number of players that I felt were core players to our foundation, our locker room, high character guys. I’m talking about Charles Woodson, Jordy Nelson, Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews, Randall Cobb, James Jones, John Kuhn, Brett Goode, TJ Lang, Brian Bulaga, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde… Many of whom weren’t offered a contract at all, or were extremely lowballed, or were not given the respect on their way out of their status and stature of high character deserved.” 

The most damning line from the interview is when Rodgers says in his answer the  question of what this was all about that he wanted to be in organizational conversations about free agents, “which has never happened in my career.” That’s crazy! How was Aaron Rodgers never been involved in organizational decisions? He’s a surefire hall of fame Quarterback. He’s one of the best to ever play the quarterback position, most important football. For goodness sakes, he just won an MVP award at the age of 37! 

Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. The fact that organizations like the Packers think they’re the main reason for the team’s success and not the players that PLAY and the coaches that coach the games is ridiculous to me. Of course, a good front office is needed, but the players are the ones who do the heavy lifting. With that being said, I’d like to take a second to thank Rodgers for expressing what he feels in that press conference, and actually giving the media and fans real answers to the questions that we’ve all had. Whether you love him or hate him, you’ve got to respect him for speaking his mind and being so open. Now, back to your regularly scheduled program. 

Despite all the drama with Rodgers and the Packers this off-season, I expect Green Bay to be just as good as they’ve been the last two seasons. They’re pretty much bringing back the same roster from that made back-to-back NFC championship games, so why can’t the Packers make it three in a row and maybe even get back to the Super Bowl? I mean, a healthy Aaron Rodgers is guaranteed 10 wins, and now with the extra game, probably at least 11 wins for Green Bay. 

In all honesty, I could see the Packers 2021 season going one of two ways, that is assuming Rodgers is healthy all year. Either the Pack loses in the first round of the playoffs and the entire season is just a media frenzy with each week consisting of a news story related to Rodgers. Or everyone on the Packers buys into the one the last dance mentality, finishes the regular season with one of the best records in the league, and goes on to win the Super Bowl. I’m of the belief that the latter is more likely than the former. Here’s why:

According to Pro Football Focus, the Packers have the sixth-best roster heading into the 2021 season. On offense, they’ve Aaron Rodgers. What more needs to be said. They still have one of, if not the best receiver in the game in Davante Adams. Other than Adams, Rodgers still has Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard to work with, as well as newly required Randall Cobb, Devin Funchess, and Amari Rodgers. Rodgers has a solid backfield at his disposal in Aaron Jones and AJ Dillion, and the Packers offensive line finished the 2020 season as the second-ranked unit in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. Not too shabby. 

On the other side of the ball is a different story. The Packers defense in 2020 was about an average unit. The one area where they excelled though is with Jaire Alexander and Adrian Amons who form one of the league’s best defensive back duos. However, one area where the Pack needs improvement is their defensive line. 

Kenny Clark is the Packers best defensive lineman. Selected to the Pro Bowl in 2019, Clark has been the most consistent D-lineman for Green Bay. According to J.E. Barnett of SB Nation, “When healthy, Clark eats up blockers, demanding the attention of blocking schemes and making the edge rush more effective.” Other than Clark though, Green Bay needs someone to step up. 

There’s Dean Lowry who’s been a solid, consistent D-lineman throughout his career, but has never really blossomed into a every down guy. There’s Kingsley Keke, who like Lowry, is another solid D-lineman who has yet to blossom into something more. Then there are guys like Tyler Lancaster, TJ Slaton, and Delonte Scott who are all just rotation lineman. Having said that, Green Bay’s hoping the consistency of returning players like Clark, Lowry, and Keke will contribute to an improved D-Line. 

Looking at Green Bay’s linebackers, they bring back two-time Pro Bowl Edge rusher Za’Darius Smith also returns and will try to make it a third straight Pro Bowl. Preston Smith, Krys Barnes, and Rashan Gary also return. Plus, newly acquired De’Vondre Campbell will move right into the starting inside linebacker position. 

Last season the Packers defense was an average unit, with some nice pieces in the secondary, a decent pass-rush and talented linebackers, but didn’t have any serious stars. However, Green Bay’s hoping that the consistency of returning players, the chemistry they built last season, will carry over into 2021, and morph into a top ten defense. 

With all that being said, the Packers Super Bowl hopes all hinge on Aaron Rodgers. If he can duplicate the success he had last season, or even improve, if that’s even possible, then Green Bay will be sitting pretty atop the standings, looking to add another Lombardi trophy. But if the Packers get off to a rough start to the season, and reports start coming out early on in the season about Rodgers’ frustrations with the organization, then things could turn sour fast. However, I’m of the belief that Rodgers is more motivated than ever. In his last year in Green Bay, Rodgers has to be more motivated than ever to prove to the organization he’s been a part of for the past 17 seasons that they are making a huge mistake in moving on from him in a year’s time. It’s not going to be easy though. 

According to CBSsports, the Packers have the fourth hardest strength of schedule for 2021, with their 2021 opponents combined 202 win percentage at .542. They’ll face difficult matchups such as going to Kansas City, Baltimore, Arizona, New Orleans, and San Francisco. Despite all of that though, and even with all the drama that happened this off-season between Rodgers and the Packers, don’t be surprised if Aaron is holding up the Lombardi trophy in February, laughing his way out of Green Bay. 

Which all time great quarterback is more likely to win another Super Bowl: Rodgers or Brady?

Is Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers more likely to win another Super Bowl?

By: Jeremy Trottier

Two of the greatest quarterbacks of this generation still remain in the NFL playing to this day, that being Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.  These two quarterbacks have had extremely successful careers from an individual standpoint, and Brady has had an extremely successful team career as well with his seven SuperBowl victories.  With that said, both quarterbacks seem to be in a good position to make a deep playoff run again in the 2021-2022 season.  In this article, I will be going over each team in depth and coming to a conclusion as to which of these two elite QBs has a better chance to get another ring this year.

Tom Brady – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The reigning SuperBowl champions return into next season with all 22 of their starting lineup from last season, which is a huge feat as this is extremely uncommon.  The Bucs are the first team to return all 22 starters to an SB roster during the salary cap era, and the first to do it overall since 1979 when the Pittsburgh Steelers did the same thing and repeated as SB champs the next season.  The chances of this happening with a salary cap now are very, very slim, but the Bucs were able to do it with franchise tagging Chris Godwin and signing the rest of their free agents.

They will also be returning Antonio Brown to the team, who after a solid showing in 2021 with them should be looking to have a breakout season as WR3 on the roster behind Mike Evans and the previously mentioned Chris Godwin.  They will also get Alex Cappa back at offensive tackle from the IR, a full-strength Ali Marpet after his mid-season injuries, O.J. Howard from his almost full season of IR, as well as A.Q. Shipley and Brad Seaton to bolster the O-line off IR.

Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers

One of the main things we see with Rodgers that we do not with Brady is his improvisational skills outside the pocket and even his mobility at times.  This gives the Packers the benefit of not necessarily needing an elite offensive line but more focusing on the defense and weapons around Rodgers.  The Packers have a good secondary, even great with the addition of a true CB2 in Eric Stokes, but their linebacking core and edge rushers are relatively lacking at the moment outside Preston Smith.  De’Vondre Campbell is definitely a quality starter, but nothing elite, and with Kingsley Keke injured at the moment their next option at DE is Tyler Lancaster or Delontae Scott alongside Dean Lowry.

The Packers have more upside from their top receiver, however, as Davante Adams is arguably the top receiver in the NFL currently, top three at the least.  They also brought back Randall Cobb and drafted Amari Rodgers to have alongside Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.  Robert Tonyan at the TE spot will definitely also be a high-quality starter after his extremely strong efficiency in the red zone last season.

Overview

After reviewing the two rosters at their current states before the pre-season, and where they will likely be with their rookie and free-agent additions/losses, I would say the Buccaneers and Tom Brady have the edge to take home another Super Bowl ring.  The main contributing factor is the Packers struggles in the front seven outside Kenny Clark and Preston Smith, while the Bucs have an absolutely amazing front seven and solid secondary. 

If the Packers were able to add at least one more quality linebacker and edge rusher, then they could be significantly closer to the likes of Tampa Bay, but for now it seems that Brady is firmly in the drivers seat in terms of which of the two QBs has better odds to win another ring.

Why the QB situation may prevent the 49ers from winning the NFC West

The 49ers QB spot is a question mark

By: Andy Davies

The San Francisco 49ers are one of the most successful franchises in NFL history. Only the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers (both 6) have more Super Bowl wins than the 49ers (5). The 49ers’ five Super Bowls all came between the years of 1981 and 1994. They have lost two since, in the 2012 and 2019 seasons. The quarterbacks that led the 49ers to the Lombardi Trophy were Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young. Three of those five wins saw Montana as the starter and Young as the backup.

Young is seen by many as the best backup quarterback in history, considering the gold jacket that he earned despite many years as the backup to Montana. He would win a Super Bowl as the starter after the franchise moved on from Montana. Ever since Young decided to hang up his cleats, the 49ers have struggled to find his replacement. Have they found the guy in Trey Lance?

Perhaps, but here is why the quarterback situation involving Lance and current starter Jimmy Garoppolo could prevent the 49ers from winning the NFC West during the 2021 season.

Struggles Since Young

Jeff Garcia was the man to come in for Young. During his five seasons in the Bay, he threw for 113 touchdowns and 56 interceptions as well as 16,408 passing yards. He had a 35-36 record as a starter for the 49ers in the regular season and a 1-2 record in the postseason, meaning he never hit the heights of his predecessor.

Alex Smith was the number one overall pick in 2005, shattering Aaron Rodgers’ dreams. However, he was a good quarterback, not a great quarterback. Colin Kaepernick replaced Smith and took the 49ers to the Super Bowl. They ended up losing to the Baltimore Ravens in a game often called the ‘Blackout Bowl’. Kaepernick failed to live up to the standards he set that season.

He would be kicked out of the league for taking the knee in a protest against police brutality in 2016. He has not played a snap in the NFL since. Jimmy Garoppolo was traded from the Patriots to the 49ers midway through the 2017 season. He gave hope to the organization after winning all five of the games he started in 2017. The fanbase had hope going into the 2018 season.

Many non-49ers fans had San Francisco down as their dark horse for the season. A season-ending injury to Garoppolo in Week 3 saw the starting role shared between Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard. However, the 49ers finished 4-12 as they went into 2019 with the second overall pick. Nick Bosa was selected and transformed the defense of San Francisco and Jimmy G had the best season of his career. He threw for 3,978 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Despite these stats, Garoppolo saw his production limited in the NFC Championship game as the coaching staff decided to use more of their running game. This led to many questions leading to the Super Bowl. The 49ers threw away a ten-point lead in the fourth quarter as they would end up losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 54.

Garoppolo was criticized heavily for an overthrown pass to Emmanuel Sanders that would have given San Francisco back the lead. His 2020 season saw a mixture of poor form and injury. During the 2021 offseason, the 49ers traded up with the Miami Dolphins to gain the number three overall pick. They took Lance with the pick, showcasing their intentions to eventually move off from Garoppolo. There is now talk of whether San Francisco and head coach Kyle Shanahan will start Lance in week one. The other scenarios discussed are either Lance coming in mid-season or sitting out the whole campaign as the backup to Garoppolo. The uncertainty will have a significant impact on the 49ers’ season.

The Strength of the NFC West

This is a problem that will affect all four teams in the best division in the NFL. There is a chance that all four teams can make the playoffs. Los Angeles has an exciting new quarterback in 2009 first overall pick Matthew Stafford. Both the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals have quarterbacks in Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray that they would never dream of trading away. Meanwhile, the 49ers’ starting quarterback is largely unpopular by fans, due to a mixture of the overthrown pass in the Super Bowl, his poor 2020 campaign and his injury record.

San Francisco has the least trusted quarterback in the division. With the position being one of the most crucial in all sports, it does not bode well for a team when there is uncertainty in the position. Garoppolo may be benched at some point during the season for Lance. However, the 49ers would be putting a rookie that will still be learning the system into the toughest division in the NFL.

Learning From Mahomes, Jackson, Tua and Burrow

If San Francisco are to help Lance succeed, they will need to take some lessons from recent draft classes. Patrick Mahomes, widely seen as the best quarterback in the league, spent all but one game of his 2017 rookie season as a backup to Alex Smith. The Chiefs then traded Smith the following offseason and Mahomes has never looked back. In his first three full seasons as a starter in the NFL, he has reached two Super Bowls, winning one. He has also been crowned MVP and Super Bowl MVP and reached three successive AFC Championship games. All three have been at home. On the flip side, 2020 first overall pick Joe Burrow started in week one of his rookie year. He wouldn’t last the season, only playing ten games before injury curtailed his first NFL campaign. He was impressive before his injury but there are no guarantees he will be the same player when he returns.

Lamar Jackson was a backup to Joe Flacco during his 2018 rookie year but won the starting role midseason. He has since gone on to win an MVP award and is the future of the franchise. Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins brought Tua Tagovailoa in mid-season but he struggled in his rookie season. He is seen to already be on the hot seat, with many feeling the Dolphins rushed him in. These examples all show there are reasons for the 49ers to be hasty when it comes to choosing when to bring Lance into the starting role.

Lance Or Garoppolo In 2021?

The 49ers will have to decide soon who their starter will be in 2021. Considering Lance has only played one full season (2019), he is likely to start the season as the backup. He only threw for a combined total of 31 passing attempts, two touchdowns and 1 interception across the 2018 and 2020 seasons, albeit the latter campaign being disrupted by the pandemic. He is likely to be a work in progress but his 28 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in 2019 mean that he is one for the future.

Garoppolo will likely start in week one but it was clear from the NFC Championship game that Shanahan doesn’t completely trust him.

Jimmy G is a capable quarterback but his health is a concern. Expect Garoppolo to remain as the starter provided the 49ers are winning games but for Lance to come in should Garoppolo either be injured or start the season poorly.

Should this happen, this will be the end of Garoppolo’s time in San Francisco. Depending on timing, he will then be traded either before the deadline or in the 2022 offseason.

Can The 49ers Returning Players Avoid A Repeat Of 2020?

This is key if the 49ers are to challenge for both the NFC West and the NFC. After earning the number one seed and reaching Super Bowl 54 during the 2019 campaign, San Francisco finished 6-10 in 2020 and bottom of the division. A ‘Super Bowl Hangover’ played its part but the main cause of such a decline was down to a colossal amount of injuries the team suffered. Along with the aforementioned Garoppolo, the 49ers also saw Bosa, Dee Ford, George Kittle, Raheem Mostert, Deebo Samuel and Solomon Thomas miss large chunks of the 2020 season due to injury.

San Francisco had 33 players reported questionable and there were 186 occasions when the 49ers reported a player on injured reserve. They had the second-most injuries of any team in the NFL over the past twenty years. Should all these players come back, then this 49ers roster will be one of the best in the league. This will make life much easier for whoever the San Francisco starting quarterback is.

However, from the strength of the division to the uncertainty at quarterback, San Francisco will find it tough to win the NFC West.

What Vikings Fans Should Think About Aaron Rodgers’ Return

Aaron Rodgers returns to Packers training camp

by: Grant Schwieger

Over the last three months, Vikings fans have been in some sort of state of euphoria. When news broke on draft day that Aaron Rodgers wanted out of Green Bay, Minnesota (and Detroit and Chicago) erupted in jubilation. Was this finally it? Had Green Bay’s run of constantly possessing an all-time great QB to come to an end?

The next 90 days saw the Vikings bring home a potentially solid draft class, continue to bolster their defense, and add another wide receiver. Aaron Rodgers did nothing over that timespan to indicate he was excited about returning to the Packers either. Then rumors of Davante Adams being unhappy with his contract started spreading. The purple Kool-Aid was flowing faster than the Amazon River. Unfortunately, to the dismay of the rest of the NFC North, Rodgers was able to work it out with Green Bay and did indeed report to Packers training camp this week. So, what does all of this mean for the Vikings and their fans?

Without Rodgers, Green Bay likely would have been expected to finish behind Minnesota in the standings, and the betting markets reflected that when it appeared the reigning NFL MVP was on his way out. However, a season with no Rodgers in the division may have given the Vikings a “false sense of hope”.

With a Rodgers-less Packers team likely not posing much of a threat, the only NFC teams clearly ahead of Minnesota would be Tampa Bay and whichever teams make it out of the NFC West between Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco. The Vikings very well could be able to compete with these teams but would certainly not be favored in any game against them. Now that the Packers have Rodgers back under center, the Vikings have their own litmus test right in front of them in the division. If Minnesota is unable to compete with Green Bay during their two matchups in 2021, then they already know that any Super Bowl dreams are just that, a dream.

That is not to say that the Vikings cannot go toe to toe with the Packers, because they can. They managed to win in Green Bay in 2020 with 50% of their defense being “practice squad” players, and Zimmer’s defense is undoubtedly better this season. Nonetheless, In the event that Rodgers is still on another level and the Packers run away with the NFC North, however, the Vikings then know that they do not stand a chance to compete with the Bucs, Chiefs, and Bills of the world and can temper their expectations accordingly. Vikings fans know plenty about having a false sense of hope and how much that can sting, so being realistic is the best way to combat that.

So, Aaron Rodgers is back in Green Bay for what he insinuated was his “Last Dance.” The rift between him and the Packers organization has not gone away, and he has made it clear he still does not want to be there long term. Vikings fans have been obsessed with the latest update on that saga since April, but now should focus solely on the team in Minnesota. If the Vikings cannot take care of their own business, what happens across the border in Wisconsin will not matter. If Minnesota is to have a successful season, they would need to beat teams of Green Bay’s caliber no matter what, and now they will have that chance twice, or maybe even three times, this coming season. Should Vikings fans be happy Aaron Rodgers is going to be in green and gold again in 2021? No, but what would be sweeter than Minnesota being the team to bring an end to the Rodgers era with The Pack?

Could an Aaron Rodgers trade include a QB and WR for Green Bay?

Could an Aaron Rodgers trade include a WR and QB for Green Bay?

By: Jake Rajala

The Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams Green Bay Packers feud are at its climax. On Friday night, the star QB and elite WR posted an Instagram story of “Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen”, which was a legendary basketball moment captured in the movie “the last dance”. 

This polarizing and mysterious image makes many people in the football world believe that the QB-WR duo could be playing one more season in GB today. The other possibility of the picture is that they’re not only signaling a leave of absence but potentially exiting together and they’re stating their dominant effort will be joint on another team. It may be less chaotic if the two remain married with the Packers, but I believe the second potential meaning of the two leaving the Pack is more likely to come to life.

It’s worth noting that the Packers just revealed that they ended long-term contract talks with Adams, prior to Adams publicly showing the MJ teaser. It would also seem more realistic that Rodgers is flexing the strong rapport that Adams and he simply share in a poetic way while leaving some mystery and team satire. I believe this was Rodgers’s tone shown on social media, vs him taking a 180 turn and proudly boasting their connection correlated with a gauge of the team’s direction after his long reported agony with Green Bay. 

Assuming Rodgers doesn’t take the path of sitting out 2021 but leaves to another squad potentially WITH Davanate Adams, a few interesting questions would follow. How could the Packers replace not one, but two elite talents? The team could go into a slow offensive rebuild over the next couple of seasons, or add admirable replacements in free agency. Although, there is another option: the Packers could acquire a QB and WR in an Aaron Rodgers trade. The option of trading for a QB and WR may provide the best route for talent and the best short-term path to high-end success. 

If the Packers want to add QB and WR talent in an Aaron Rodgers exchange, there are many directions that could be taken. Here are a few ideas that may be pleasing, yet realistic in a blockbuster Packers trade.

Packers and Raiders trade

  • Las Vegas Raiders: Aaron Rodgers
  • Packers: Derek Carr, Henry Ruggs, and a second round pick

or

  • Raiders: Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams
  • Packers: Derek Carr, Henry Ruggs, two second round picks, and a third round pick

Packers and Broncos trade

  • Denver Broncos: Aaron Rodgers
  • Packers: Drew Lock, Tim Patrick, and a first round pick

or

  • Denver Broncos: Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams
  • Packers: Drew Lock, Tim Patrick, a first round pick, and second round pick or Drew Lock and Courtland Sutton, and a first round pick, and third round pick 

The Broncos would be by far the best trade route with aim of acquiring a QB and WR. The team possesses two potential starting QBs (Lock, Teddy Bridgewater) and a loaded WR unit with Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, and KJ Hamler. 

Packers and Washington trade

  • Washington: Aaron Rodgers
  • Green Bay: Taylor Heinicke, Curtis Samuel, a first round pick, and third round pick

or

  • Washington: Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams
  • Green Bay: Taylor Heinicke, Curtis Samuel, a first round pick, and two mid round picks, or Taylor Heinicke, J.D. McKissic, and a first round pick, a second round pick, and mid round pick

Washington doesn’t appear to be a favorite to land Aaron Rodgers, but they carry a young QB and numerous weapons that could be franchise skill players in GB. 

A trade involving a QB and WR in return for Rodgers (or Rodgers and Adams) may be complex, but it’s a route that could carry more robust QB and WR talent than on the roster, free agency, and potentially any options in the next few offseasons. These few routes the Packers could acquire a talented QB and WR in return would provide hope and provide healing for cheeseheads in 2021, as well.

Why Teddy Bridgewater is very underlooked: Rodgers is a big reason

The Aaron Rodgers news and Drew Lock are making Bridgewater very underrated

By: Jordan Anders

From his days in Minnesota, to his 5-0 run in New Orleans, to his fresh start in Denver, Teddy Bridgewater’s stats and character have been underlooked. It’s safe to say Teddy Bridgewater is a top backup quarterback who adapts to any environment he is given. Looking outside of last season where he was starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers and went 4-11 with 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, which is arguably his worst season besides his rookie year. However, many are looking too closely at the stats and not his playing style.

It’s obvious over the last six years that Bridgewater is not a franchise quarterback, but a top backup quarterback. CBS Sports ranked him in the top 3 of backup quarterbacks in the league for the 2021-22 season. Teddy Bridgewater, according to reports, has been performing well in the Broncos camps and practices competing with Broncos quarterback Drew Lock. This is one of the reasons Bridgewater is being underlooked, the media is more focused on Drew Lock and how he is performing in practices. Although coaches have made it clear that the starting job is up for grabs, making the two quarterbacks on the same level to compete.

The Broncos quarterback situation is a hot and touchy subject with the media and especially the fans. It seems to be either Drew Lock or in a perfect world, Aaron Rodgers. Many rumors have connected Rodgers to the Broncos if the Packers decide to trade him of course and that has yet to happen. The meter of acquiring Rodgers is slowly fading as the season approaches, as well. Despite the Broncos monitoring the situation, the Packers stated they would not be trading the QB a week ago and the rumors surrounding Rodgers went from wanting the GM out to a “we will see” type of dilemma. There’s still a chance of acquiring Rodgers, but the light is slowly dimming away. This also means Teddy B’s value is more significant as he could see more reps as preseason approaches.

All in all, the two headed QB monster of Lock and Rodgers in the media spotlight has led to Bridgewater being underlooked. It seems many still focus on Bridgewater’s play last season where his team wasn’t necessarily stacked, plus star running back Christian McCaffrey got injured three games into the season.

His previous season in New Orleans was undoubtedly his best season, after quarterback Drew Brees went down, Bridgewater took the Saints on a 5-0 run on a 67.9% completion rate. Compared to last season, his completion rate was nearly 70% but people are so stuck on the team’s record, which is not a quarterback stat. Bridgewater threw for 3733 yards with 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The interceptions are a problem, but it can be worked on and that goes Drew Lock as well who had 15 interceptions last season.

Teddy Bridgewater is the veteran quarterback the Broncos need to add competition to the quarterback room in Denver. With his back-up and starting experience, he can either push Lock to be a better starting quarterback or he may take over the job. The season is still a ways away before coaches can make the call but from what the media has provided us of what is going on in practice, the two are completing and making each other better.

Why the Ravens will climb in 2021 under Lamar Jackson

The Baltimore Ravens offense will aim for an AFC North title

By: Andy Davies

Despite the offseason additions, no one appears to have the Ravens in their list of Super Bowl contenders. This is a stark contrast to twelve months ago, where everyone had them playing the Chiefs in the AFC Championship. This is partly due to increasing concerns over the arm talent of Jackson and whether it is good enough to take the Ravens to a Super Bowl.

Jackson v Mahomes was seen as the next Manning vs Brady, but instead Jackson is yet to beat Mahomes in three outings. Can Lamar Jackson and the Ravens bounce back in 2021?

Lamar’s NFL Career So Far

Jackson is often criticized for lacking the same arm talent of the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers but he sure can run. He has a 30-7 record as a starter and was an MVP for a reason.

Lamar initially started his professional career as a backup to Joe Flacco, who had been such an instrumental figure in recent Baltimore history. He won Super Bowl 47 MVP after the Ravens’ 2012 season saw them lift their second ever Lombardi Trophy. In similar fashion to Eli Manning at the New York Giants, it is not easy to say goodbye to figures that have bought you success in the past. On 18th November 2018, Lamar earned his first start, in a 24-21 win against the Cincinnati Bengals.

He may not have thrown for a touchdown pass in the game but it was the start of the Lamar Jackson era in Baltimore. He finished the 2018 season with 1,201 passing yards and 6 touchdowns thrown for.  He also recorded 695 rushing yards and ran for 5 touchdowns. Their season was ended by the Los Angeles Chargers in the Wildcard Round.

Lamar’s MVP Season

When the Ravens took Jackson 32nd overall in 2018, Jackson said that they were going to get a Super Bowl out of him. This could have easily been construed as an over confident comment. However, he backed this up with a sensational season, which won him the MVP award. Jackson threw for 3,127 passing yards in the regular season along with 36 passing touchdowns. He also ran for 1,206 rushing yards and 7 rushing touchdowns in 2019. Additionally, he was responsible for breaking various NFL records as he had a season for the ages.

2019 saw Lamar break Michael Vick’s 2006 record for rushing yards recorded by a quarterback in a single season, with his total of 1,206 beating the 1,039 recorded by the former Atlanta Falcon and Philadelphia Eagle. Jackson had more rushing yards than the whole Miami Dolphins and New York Jets offenses. He had as many rushing touchdowns as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions, with his seven TD’s more than the Jets (5) or Jacksonville Jaguars (3) managed all year.

Jackson is the only quarterback to amass over 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in any single-season and is the only player in NFL history in his position to record over 1,000 rushing yards whilst also passing for 30 touchdowns or more. Along with Aaron Rodgers in 2011, Jackson’s 9% in 2019 is only topped by Peyton Manning (9.9%) for any single-season touchdown rate. Jackson (9) broke the record set by Vick (6) in 2004 for consecutive games with 60 rushing yards or more and Jackson stands as the quarterback with the most ever fantasy points (417.7). He posted a perfect passer rating (158.3) on two occasions, something only Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has previously achieved. He also had a quarterback rating of 100 or more in nine games.

No quarterback has recorded more rushing attempts than Jackson in 2019 (176), with only 22 players in the entire league recording more than Lamar that season. This shows the faith Baltimore and head coach John Harbaugh have in Jackson using his feet.

The Baltimore Ravens went 14-2 during the 2019 season, with those two defeats coming in weeks 3 and 4. They won their next twelve games, earning themselves the number one seed in the AFC and a playoff bye, with many expecting them to go to and battle it out with the Kansas City Chiefs for a place in Super Bowl 54. Quarterback Lamar Jackson would later earn an MVP award but the Ravens suffered a shock defeat to the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round, losing 28-12 at the M&T Bank Stadium.

A Difficult 2020

Despite the surprise defeat, many predicted Baltimore to challenge once again during the 2020 season. Their week 3 matchup against the Chiefs was seen as the preview to the AFC Championship. However, the Ravens were outplayed in the 34-20 defeat and Jackson openly referred to the Chiefs as his kryptonite. The Ravens would go on to win their next three games before only winning one of their next five games, with their playoff hopes in serious jeopardy. They won their final five games, albeit only one of those wins coming against teams with winning records. This included a thrilling 47-42 win over AFC North rivals the Cleveland Browns.

Baltimore got revenge on the Titans in the Wildcard Round but the Buffalo Bills would eliminate the Ravens out of the playoffs in the Divisional Round. He may have finally ended the tag that he couldn’t win a playoff game but there still remains doubt over his arm.

Finally Giving Lamar Weapons

One factor that was often used in support of Lamar was the lack of talent to throw to. Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown had an encouraging rookie season in 2019 but struggled for large parts of the 2020 season.

Ravens have addressed the wide receiver issue, with the acquisition of Sammy Watkins via the Chiefs in Free Agency. He spent three seasons in Kansas City, where he won Super Bowl 54. He is reunited with Greg Roman, who was his offensive coordinator when he played for the Bills. Watkins had his best season in terms of yardage whilst with the Bills and alongside Roman. He also recorded two of his three best touchdown scoring seasons during his time in Buffalo. His 2015 sophomore season saw him record more touchdowns than his three seasons with the Chiefs combined.

He was not the first choice receiver in Kansas City but he was for the Bills. Watkins will be the first or second choice receiver in Baltimore, which may see him put up numbers reminiscent of his time with the Bills.

Baltimore have also drafted help for Jackson, with the addition of two wide outs within the first four rounds of the 2021 draft. Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman was taken with the 27th overall pick before selecting Oklahoma State receiver Tylan Wallace with the 131st overall pick.

Bateman played thirteen games in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons. He recorded 704 yards and six touchdowns from 51 receptions in his rookie year. This works out as 13.8 yards per reception and 8.5 receptions per touchdown. His sophomore season saw Bateman improve on his stats, with 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns from 60 receptions. This amounts to 20.3 yards per reception and a touchdown every 5.5 receptions.

The 2020 COVID-19 affected season saw Bateman play just five games and record 36 receptions. Bateman recorded 472 yards and two touchdowns despite his limited game time, resulting in 13.1 yards per reception.

Wallace spent four seasons in college and had impressive numbers, particularly his second campaign. 2017 saw a limited role, with just seven receptions recorded. In 2018, Wallace manage to tally up 1,491 receiving yards, 12 touchdowns and 86 receptions at a rate of 17.3 yards per reception and a touchdown every 7.2 receptions. Wallace also recorded 903 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2019 and despite the pandemic, Wallace scored 6 touchdowns and tallied up 922 yards in 2020.

With Brown, Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace to throw to along with tight end Mark Andrews, Lamar has plenty of talent to work with.

Will The Loss Of Orlando Brown Prove Pivotal?

In April this year, the Chiefs traded for Ravens offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. The Chiefs gave Baltimore their first, third and fourth from this year’s draft along with a fifth round pick from 2022. This was in exchange for Brown and the Ravens’ second rounder from this year along with a sixth-round selection in 2022. Many felt that this would impact the Ravens going into the upcoming season.

Lamar Jackson was the thirteenth most sacked quarterback in 2020 and the Ravens have gone out and beefed up their offensive line this offseason despite the loss of Brown. Former New York Giants guard Kevin Zietler has joined the franchise in Free Agency along with guard Michael Schofield and offensive tackles Alejandro Villanueva and Ja’Wuan James.

Brown will be a hard act to follow, but Baltimore have certainly replaced him along with adding depth to their offensive line. This will help them when it comes to divisional games.

Can The Ravens Claim Back The North?

Speaking of divisional games, the Ravens are in one of the NFL’s toughest divisions. The Steelers won the AFC North in the 2020 season, starting 11-0 before only winning one of their final five games. They were embarrassed by the Cleveland Browns in the Wildcard Round, starting the second quarter 28-0 down. The loss of linebacker Bud Dupree to injury coincided with the end of their unbeaten run and the struggles down the stretch. He left the Steelers in Free Agency, as did cornerback Mike Hilton, running back James Conner and Villanueva. Wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster has struggled to make the jump from a number two to a number one receiver, with his TikTok dances causing nothing but a negative impact.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger showed signs of a decline in 2020, with the upcoming season widely expected to be his last. With the excellent head coaching of Mike Tomlin along with linebacker T.J Watt and wide receiver Chase Claypool, who impressed in his rookie season, they will still look to be a contender. This is especially so with the excellent head coaching of Mike Tomlin.

Last season saw the long wait for a Cleveland Browns playoff appearance and playoff win come to an end as the Browns made it all the way to the Divisional Round where they came ever so close to reaching the AFC Championship, narrowly losing to the Chiefs. The Browns have continued their momentum with an excellent offseason. They added safety John Johnson and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney in Free Agency, the latter who is a great player when he decides to turn it on. They have also added linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who is seen as one of the top prospects of the draft in his position. These players will join a franchise with a roster already filled with a plethora of talent.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield had a resurgent season in 2020 and has Jarvis Landry to throw to along with Odell Beckham, who saw his season cut short thanks to injury. It is safe to say Beckham’s time in Cleveland has not gone to plan so far, with his relationship with Baker on the field yet to develop. On his day, he can be an excellent receiver and the Browns need to find a way to make it work. There is also the best running back duo in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. All of these offensive weapons have a great offensive line ahead of them, with Jedrick Wills, Joel Bitonio, JC Tretter, Wyatt Teller and Jack Conklin. Defensively, Clowney will line up in the defensive line alongside one of the league’s best in Myles Garrett.

The Cincinnati Bengals have an encouraging quarterback in Joe Burrow who will be reunited with his college teammate Ja’Marr Chase, who was seen as the top receiver in the draft. However, they are too early in their rebuild to aim for the AFC North but can beat any of their division rivals on their day. They can have an impact on the overall division standings, even if they won’t be the ones benefiting.

Baltimore has a tough task in winning the division, as do all four teams in the AFC North. The Ravens defense is excellent and will take them far. Calais Campbell, Patrick Queen and Marlon Humphrey all make the Ravens a threat on that side of the ball. If they are to win the division, they need Jackson back to his 2019 form, with the addition of the receivers and offensive lineman likely to play a big part in Lamar’s success throwing the ball.

3 GMs that lost this NFL offseason

Did the Packers GM lose this offseason?

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

The NFL offseason is now more than halfway complete. Between free agency, trades, and the draft it has been eventful as always. Teams have opened camps and players are coming together to start preparing for the upcoming season. The goal of every offseason for a GM is to make roster moves that will improve the team moving forward. Most of the GMs were able to accomplish that this year, but there are some that definitely did not. There are teams that will head into the 2021 season in a worse situation than 2020 because of decisions made by the GM of the team. Here are three that were the biggest losers this offseason.

Green Bay Packers: Brian Gutekunst

The Packers find themselves in a very messy situation right now, and that is mostly because Aaron Rodgers is unhappy with the direction of the team. He feels so strongly that he has not yet reported to the team for camp and rumor has it that he will refuse to play for them this year. He wants out of Green Bay and at least for now is apparently insisting that he would rather sit out this season than play for the Packers if he is not traded to another team. If Rodgers is this unhappy, it is an epic fail by the front office lead by Gutekunst.

Like it or not, when an organization is lucky enough to have a quarterback like Rodgers, they must do everything in their power to keep him happy. He is a once-in-a-lifetime type of player and widely considered a top-five quarterback in NFL history. He is a three-time NFL MVP, a Super Bowl champion, and a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. For as long as he is there, the organization needs to cater to him. He gives the team a real chance to win every game each season no matter what the rest of the roster looks like. He is an absolute luxury and they should be grateful to have him. If organizational decisions have made Rodgers so unhappy that he refuses to play for them anymore, then Gutekunst failed massively at his job.

In addition to the Rodgers disaster, the Packers made some questionable roster moves this offseason as well. First, they gave running back Aaron Jones a big contract extension. This is a bit of an odd decision because they just used a second-round pick on AJ Dillon, who has looked good. The money used on Jones could have better been used to keep center Corey Linsley while transitioning the starting running back job to Dillon. The Packers also gave cornerback Kevin King an extension but still used a first-round draft pick on another corner, which is a questionable strategy as well. All things considered, Gutekunst had the worst offseason of any GM this year and if Rodgers really does not come back, it was historically terrible.

Indianapolis Colts: Chris Ballard

The Colts made an enormous gamble this offseason by trading for quarterback Carson Wentz, who struggled so much with the Eagles last season that he lost his starting job to rookie Jalen Hurts. A strong case can be made that Wentz was the worst starting quarterback in the entire NFL last season after throwing 15 interceptions in just 12 games and recording an abysmal 57 completion percentage. This didn’t stop Ballard from acquiring him in hopes that head coach Frank Reich could get Wentz back to his old form before the injuries and extreme drop-off in production. After all, Reich was with Wentz in Philadelphia when he was playing by far his football.

The idea that Wentz is going to magically return to an MVP candidate after how bad he has been, is a serious long shot. The move may have been worth the risk for Ballard if the price was cheap enough, but that is far from the case. Besides the huge financial burden that Wentz brings with him, which is over 20 million in 2021 and 27 million in 2022, the Colts had to surrender valuable draft picks as well. They sent to the Eagles a third-round pick in 2021 as well as a 2022 conditional pick that will be either a first or second-rounder. The condition is that if Wentz plays at least 75 percent of the snaps for the Colts this season, the pick becomes a first-rounder.

The condition set on the pick is a losing one for Ballard unless Wentz becomes a superstar immediately, which is highly unlikely right now. The Colts can only retain their first-round pick if Wentz does not play over 75 percent of the snaps. There are only two ways that can happen and neither of them is good. It would mean either Wentz once again got injured or he continues to play so terribly as he did with the Eagles that he loses his job in Indianapolis as well. If he does play enough snaps, he would have to have a spectacular season to justify the price tag of a first and third-round pick to go with a nearly 50 million dollar salary hit over the next two years. When weighing risk versus reward, this was a terrible trade by Ballard and is the reason why he was one of the biggest losers this offseason.

Las Vegas Raiders: Mike Mayock

What Mayock did to the Raiders offensive line this offseason was baffling. He turned one of the best units in the entire NFL into one of the worst and didn’t get any real value for it in return. Tackle Trent Brown and center Rodney Hudson are elite at their positions and two of the better offensive lineman in the entire league while guard Gabe Jackson is a very solid player as well. All three of them were traded away this offseason, in addition to two seventh-round draft picks, and in return, the Raiders received just one third-round pick and two fifth-round picks. Rebuilding and retooling is sometimes a good idea and maybe Mayock felt it was time to do that to the offensive line. The problem is not necessarily what he gave away but there is no denying that he did a terrible job at getting back proper value.

Since taking over as the GM of the Raiders, Mayock has been questionable at best when it comes to the NFL Draft. He has often reached on players by over-drafting them when they would likely be available for him to select at a later time. A good draft strategy should be about getting the best value for your selection and Mayock has not done a great job at that. This year was no different when he selected offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood with the 17th overall pick. He may very well be a great tackle in the NFL but if that was the guy they wanted, they could have traded down to get him while receiving additional draft capital at the same time. Mayock did an awful job at maximizing the value of his transactions and that is why he had one of the worst offseasons.

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