Monday, January 22, 2018

Aaron Rodgers

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

NFL.com unveils its year-end quarterback rankings, with a couple interesting selections.

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com posted his year-end quarterback rankings Thursday. In a bit of a head-scratching move, Rosenthal ranked Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ahead of Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum. Rodgers was rated as the No. 11 quarterback and Keenum was slotted in at No. 14.

The 11-13 selections were labeled as the “Brilliant and Breif” category. The trio included Rodgers, Jimmy Garappolo, and Deshaun Watson, in that order. All were rated higher than Keenum, who helped lead the Vikings to a NFC North Championship, a No. 2 seed in the NFC, and a 13-3 regular season record.

Keenum had an 11-3 record as a starter and threw 22 touchdowns and only seven interception in 15 games played. According to Seth Walder of ESPN Keenum had the second-highest QBR among all NFL quarterbacks in 2017 (69.8). Only Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles had a higher rating (75.8). Keenum even surpassed Tom Brady of the Patriots, who was third with a QBR of 67.4.

The regular season stats of the signal callers are in Rosenthal’s QB Index. He wrote the following for each selection:

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image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings are nine-point favorites for Saturday night’s NFC North division collision against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, according to William Hill.

For readers from the UK: Check out betting lines for American football matches at William Hill.

The line for the Week 16 matchup was much closer to even prior to Green Bay’s decision to place quarterback Aaron Rodgers on injured reserve. Rodgers played in a loss to the Carolina Panthers last week, throwing three interceptions in his first game action since Week 6.

Since the Rodgers injury, the Packers are 3-6 with wins over Chicago, Tampa Bay (in overtime) and Cleveland (in overtime). Meanwhile, the Vikings have lost just one of their last 10 games.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

In Week 16 the (11-3) Minnesota Vikings travel to Wisconsin to take on the (7-7) Packers in Green Bay. The 2017 NFC North champions have already clinched a playoff berth, but winning this week would assure the Vikings a first-round bye.

The Vikings are looking good from a health standpoint, especially for this late in the season.

Green Bay, meanwhile, is dealing with multiple notable injuries. They’ll be without star quarterback Aaron Rodgers and leading receiver Davante Adams and could be without starting linebackers Nick Perry and Clay Matthews. Also, did I mention the Packers have officially been eliminated from playoff contention?

Even so, with things trending upward for the Vikings and the Packers being kicked while they’re down, it doesn’t mean Green Bay won’t try to play spoiler Saturday night. Let’s take a look at how the teams stack up by the numbers.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings are looking like a pretty healthy squad considering it’s Week 16.

Cornerback Tramaine Brock is the only Viking listed as out for Saturday’s game. He did not practice this week due to a foot injury. Meanwhile, starting safety Andrew Sendejo has battled injuries throughout the season and is listed as questionable. His backup, Anthony Harris, has played well when called into action and could see some playing time Saturday if Sendejo is unable to play.

Nickel cornerback Mackensie Alexander missed last week’s game against the Bengals with a rib injury. However, Alexander practiced in full Thursday so he appears to be good to go.

Starting left tackle Riley Reiff is working his way back from an ankle injury he suffered two weeks ago in the Carolina Panthers game. Rashod Hill has been Reiff’s replacement. Will Reiff be able to return for his first Vikings/Packers game at Lambeau Field as a member of the purple? According to Pioneer Press writer Chris Tomasson the team is hopeful, but don’t expect the Vikings to push it if he’s not 100%.

The Packers, meanwhile, will be without their star quarterback and leading receiver. Aside from missing their two offensive studs in Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams, they may also be without some key defenders. Starting linebacker Nick Perry is listed as doubtful and Clay Matthews is questionable. Starting cornerback Davon House is also listed as questionable, as is starting right guard Jahri Evans. Both would be significant losses for the Packers if they are unable to play.

Last week the Vikings offense took advantage of Cincinnati’s injuries on defense, particularly at linebacker. The group was able to open up holes all day in the passing game, especially for running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon.

Here’s a look at the injury reports for each team.

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image courtesy of Vikings.com

Drew Mahowald presents the 18th edition of the Skol Scale following the Minnesota Vikings’ Week 15 demolition of the Cincinnati Bengals to clinch an NFC North title.

Aaron Rodgers drops back to pass and feels the pocket collapsing around him. He finds a lane in which to escape the pocket, moving to his right.

Anthony Barr, assigned to spy on Rodgers, took off after the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback to either disrupt the play or even get a sack.

Just after Rodgers released his pass — which fell incomplete thanks to a drop by running back Ty Montgomery — Barr’s 6-foot-5, 260-pound frame wrapped up Rodgers and buried him in the U.S. Bank Stadium turf.