The Packers have officially clinched the NFC North with a dominant win over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football. The game did not start off well for the Packers after Aaron Jones fumbled the ball on the first drive and Aaron Rodgers throwing an interception. However, with the defense dominating the Vikings offense the Packers only went into the second half down 10-9. Once the second half started, Aaron Jones showed up and scored two touchdowns and finished with 154 yards.
After such a dominant performance from Jones against a Vikings’ defense who has only allowed five rushing touchdowns all season, it raises the question who is the best Aaron on the Packers?
The Case for Aaron Rodgers:
Aaron Rodgers is considered by many as the most talented quarterback to ever play in the NFL. Ryan Clark broke down in the clip why he believes that Rodgers is the most talented quarterback he has ever seen.
The talent of Aaron Rodgers is undeniable. He has made throws in games that have left fans in awe. One of Aaron Rodgers’ best traits is his decision making. Rodgers currently is 11th in the NFL for touchdowns thrown this season with 24 and only three interceptions which is the least among any quarterback who has started at least seven games this season. There are quarterbacks such as Flacco, Stafford, and Manning who have played half the games as Rodgers this season, but have thrown more interceptions. Rodgers takes care of the football, and puts his players in the best position possible to win the game.
Rodgers also has shown flashes of his past this season with his five touchdown performance against the Raiders, four touchdowns against the Giants, and three touchdowns against the Chiefs. Granted those are not the best defenses in the NFL, but that is what good quarterbacks are supposed to do. Great players dominate bad defenses. The most impressive game this season against the Raiders came without his best receiver Davante Adams. He relied on receivers Jake Kumerow, Geronimo Allison, and Allen Lazard to win the game for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers has been a leader for the Packers all season and has shown that he can still lead a team to Super Bowl contention.
Case Against Aaron Rodgers:
I cannot believe I am about to type these words, but Aaron Rodgers has been inconsistent this season. I mentioned earlier that he had dominant performances over the Raiders, Giants, and Chiefs, but he has also had three games with throwing under 200 yards and 0 touchdowns this season. This is the first time in Aaron Rodgers’ career that he has had three games in a season where he was held without a touchdown. It could be blamed on the lack of receivers that Rodgers has to play with, but when you are an elite quarterback you make it work. Rodgers is also posting his worst QBR of his career with a rating of 54.0.
With one game left in the season, Rodgers might post the least amount of passing yards and touchdowns thrown in his career for any season where he played at least 15 games. Is Rodgers still a talented quarterback? Absolutely. Has he started his decline? It appears so. Rodgers has noticeably missed throws and has not made the big plays that we have become accustomed to.
Case for Aaron Jones:
Aaron Jones is having himself one of the best seasons of any running back to wear green and gold. He currently leads the NFL in most rushing touchdowns (16) and total touchdowns (19). With one more touchdown, Jones will tie Ahman Green with the most touchdowns in a single season in Packers’ history. He is solidifying himself as one of the best running backs in the NFL, and has the potential to be one of the best in Packers’ history if he continues this play in future seasons.
Jones is only 16 yards away from having his first 1,000 yard season in his three-year career. Jones has been relied on heavily for the Packers this season, and has been the leader on the offense for most of the season. Jones has six games with over two touchdowns including a four touchdown performance against the Dallas Cowboys.
Jones has not just been dominant in the run game, but he has improved tremendously in the passing game. In Jones’ first two seasons with the Packers he had 35 receptions, 228 yards, and one touchdown. In 15 games this season Jones has beat each of those numbers with 47 receptions, 431 yards, and three touchdowns. He has been one of Rodgers’ most reliable targets and is third on the team in receiving yards this season.
Case Against Aaron Jones:
Just as I mentioned before for Aaron Rodgers, the biggest knock against Aaron Jones was his inconsistency. Jones has been extremely impressive this year, but has had games with 18, 19, and 21 rushing yards. In the three games the Packers’ have lost, Jones ran for less than 40 yards.
One knock on Jones this season has been when his backup, Jamaal Williams, out performed him. Williams had more rushing yards than Jones against the Vikings, Broncos, 49ers, and the Giants. Do not get me wrong, Jones is a talented running back, but when you are one of the top running backs in the league, your backup should not outperform you.
I believe that at this point in his career, Aaron Rodgers is still the most important player on the Packers. If Tim Boyle took over for Rodgers, the team immediately takes a step back. However, if Jones needs to miss a game, Williams is more than capable of filling in.
Even though Rodgers might be the most important player, I think that Aaron Jones is the best Aaron on the team. He is leading the league in multiple categories and has single handedly led the Packers to victory multiple times this season.