We hear it every week, we believe it, yet we don’t always pay attention to it. There were two very distinctive examples of this playing out on Sunday.
Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers is heralded as a great young quarterback. His current situation is completely different than what was presumed to have occurred before the season began, as Green Bay was thought to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders, but with eight of the Pack’s top 15 defensive players out and their starting tight end and running back gone for the year, Green Bay is looking at a .500 2010 campaign.
These facts aside, for the accolades about Rodgers, after Sunday’s overtime loss to Miami, he is 6-13 and 7-11-1 ATS in games decided by seven or fewer points. That is quarterback leading team to one score or in his case not doing so.
Over to New England. Granted, comparing Tom Brady to Rodgers is like staying at Caesar’s Palace suite compared to Bally’s regular room. Think about what Brady had to work with Sunday against arguably one of the best defenses in football against Baltimore. The running backs for the Patriots are BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead. Off the top of my head, can’t think of a team that has at least by presumed ability, two worse running backs.
With Randy Moss out of the picture, that means opposing teams will pay more attention to Wes Welker in the slot, leaving retread Deion Branch, two rookie tight ends (both have huge upsides), along with Julian Edelman and Brandon Tate to throw to. Trailing Baltimore by 10 in the fourth quarter, Brady and this collection of gypsies manufactured an overtime win over the Ravens. Yes quarterbacking does matter.
QB Numbers– If you place Rodgers against his contemporaries this is what you will find in touchdown difference games.
Jay Cutler 17-9, 9-16-1 ATS
Joe Flacco 6-9, 6-8-1 ATS
Matt Ryan 11-6, 9-8 ATS
Cutler comes thru in the clutch, but doesn’t necessarily play well the entire game. Flacco is a bit of a risk at this point for team with Super Bowl aspirations and Ryan is on target to be Brady-type.
Bay of pigs – Keeping with the theme of quarterbacks, Alex Smith and Jason Campbell showed Sunday why they will never be elite quarterbacks. No question the continual change in offenses stunted their growth as signal callers, having so many voices in your head over the years creates a certain level of confusion. Nonetheless, you can’t throw the ball when the receiver has already made his break or get nervous feet in the pocket when pass rushers are near (not close) you and pull the ball down. San Francisco or Oakland are not going anywhere anytime soon and their situation is exacerbated by coaches that probably wouldn’t have been hired under normal circumstances.
Mike Singletary and Tom Cable were hired as replacement coaches and it isn’t a stretch to think that either would not have been hired going thru a normal job interview process. Singletary is 14-17 and 16-11-4 ATS and has appeared overmatched in the role as favorite with coaching changes and player complaints. The Cable guy is 11-23 and 15-19 ATS and is very much like a golfer who talks a good game, but never backs it up.
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