Aaron Rodgers is the NFL MVP. He may not be the overwhelmingly most talented quarterback in the league anymore, although on a given night Rodgers gives Patrick Mahomes a run for his money, Rodgers is clearly the most valuable player in the NFL.
Let’s start with the basic stats. Rodgers leads the NFL in touchdown passes (47), TD:INT ratio (47:6), passer rating (119.4), and QBR(83.9). The only major statistical category where Mahomes leads Rodgers is in total passing yards, which means absolutely nothing to the total value of a quarterback. Rodgers has set record after record this season and is performing at a level only seen from Rodgers in his 2011 MVP season.
To put these numbers in perspective, Rodgers has only had 2 games this season with a passer rating under 100. Those were their Week 6 dud against Tampa Bay and the odd game against Carolina in Week 15. In comparison, Mahomes has had 6 such games, 4 of which have come in Week 13, 14, 15, and 16. Down the stretch, when his team needs him the most, Rodgers is playing absolutely out of his mind.
A Little More Advanced
But, with the basic stats laid down, let’s take a look at the more advanced metrics. When looking at DVOA, which is Defense Adjusted Value Over Average, Rodgers sits at 30.1% and Mahomes is at 31.5%. To give context on how incredible Mahomes and Rodgers are, the next closest QB is Josh Allen with 25.8% DVOA. If you look at non-defense-adjusted VOA, Rodgers is at 34% and Mahomes is at 29.9%.
So, why is it that Rodgers leads almost every basic statistical category, but Mahomes has a slight edge when you take into account the defenses he has played? Well, DVOA does not take into account the players around the quarterback. With that in mind, let’s dive in a little deeper.
On a basic level, Rodgers and Mahomes both have two very valuable passing weapons. Rodgers has Davante Adams and Robert Tonyan and Mahomes has Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Adams is 4th in the NFL in receiving yards and 1st in touchdowns, while Hill is 7th and 2nd respectively. You can make arguments for or against either weapon, but in a vacuum, they are both terrifying weapons for the defense to account for. Regarding the tight ends, Kelce is 2nd in the NFL in receiving yards and 5th in touchdowns while Tonyan is 70th and 6th respectively.
On a more advanced level, Adams and Hill are 12th and 14th in DVOA, and Kelce and Tonyan are 3rd and 1st respectively. Tonyan is the most efficient tight end in the NFL by far, but much of that can be attributed to gameplanning and Tonyan being wide open on the majority of his 10 touchdowns. Overall, Mahomes’ top 5 receivers have combined for 4,000 yards and Rodgers’ top 12 receivers have combined for 4,000 yards. Comparing two offenses is hard, but when you move past the top weapons, the Chiefs have a much deeper offense than the Packers on almost every level.
Finally, let’s look at the rest of the teams: running backs and defense. The Packers’ top two running backs, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, combined for around 1,500 yards. The Chiefs’ top two running backs, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le’Veon Bell, combined for around 1,000 yards. When you look at the difference between the total passing yards of Rodgers and Mahomes, you found them in the Green Bay running game and also in the 86 more passes that Mahomes has thrown.
Defensively, the Packers are completely middle of the road. The Packers rank between 13 and 19 in every advanced defensive metric, while the Chiefs rank between 11th and 23rd. The big difference is, the Packers’ defense spends way less time on the field. The Packers are 1st in the NFL with 33 minutes of average possession per game, and the defense spends an NFL low 60 snaps on the field per game. The Chiefs are 16th and 14th in those categories, both of which are extremely indicative of how successful an offense can be.
Any arguments concerning Rodgers’ success being because of the Packers’ defense is backward. The Packers’ defense is having success because of their limited snap count and being put in good positions by the Packers’ offense. Are Jaire Alexander and Za’Darius Smith incredible players having incredible seasons? Yes. But the Packers’ overall 15th ranked defense is identical to their 15th ranked defense in 2019 when Rodgers had his worst season as a starter yet.
Overall, Aaron Rodgers is leading the best offense in the NFL, highest offensive DVOA and highest points per game, with fewer weapons than Mahomes has at his disposal. I shudder to think what Rodgers would do with two Top 5 NFL receiving targets. Mahomes may be the youngster, the new face of the NFL, but Rodgers is the most valuable football player in the galaxy and deserves to be the National Football League MVP.
Follow MJ Hurley on Twitter @Mjhurley47
Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images