What we had heard all along, yet sometimes doubted, has finally been confirmed: Aaron Rodgers is the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. Brett Favre is out of the picture going forward in Green Bay. As of tonight's pre-season game against the Cincinnati Bengals, this is Rodgers' team. No pressure. But, what if Brett Favre had comeback (from the beginning or when it was discussed recently)? How different would the Packers season be with Favre from its current outlook with Rodgers? The simple answer is two wins, but ending in the same position (a loss at Dallas in the Playoffs).
At WhatIfSports.com, we specialize in the "what if" questions. "What if Brett Favre were to come back and play for the team he led for 16 years without skipping a beat?" is definitely one of those questions. Our pre-season, pre-Favre, with Aaron Rodgers Power Rankings placed the Packers 14th overall. After simulating every game in the 2008 NFL season 1,000 times, the team was predicted to go 9-7 and earn the Wild Card in the NFC behind the Vikings (11-5) in the NFC North. Ultimately, after winning at Carolina in the NFC Wild Card round, the Packers will lose to Dallas in the NFC Divisional Playoffs. The Cowboys go on to play in the Super Bowl.
Brett Favre's comeback would mend what is anticipated to be the team's most exploitable weakness, pass offense, and would bump the Packers up to the fourth spot in our power rankings behind New England, Indianapolis and Dallas. Doing the exact same simulated analysis with Favre as the starter in all 16 games, Green Bay competes in the 2008 NFC Championship, making it a step further than our projection without him, yet the team still loses to the Dallas Cowboys on the road. The team's record improves to 11-5.
Favre would rank second on our fantasy football rankings for quarterbacks, just behind New Englands Tom Brady, with 4,033 passing yards, 33 TDs and 13 INTs. In our original projection, Aaron Rodgers and Brian Brohm (Rodgers' fragility means four starts for Brohm) combined for 3,291 passing yards, 22 TDs and 15 INTs.
With Favre on hand, improvement at other positions is evident as well. RB Ryan Grant would advance from the 11th spot to the eighth in our fantasy projections for running backs. Behind Rodgers (and Brohm), Grant gains 1,550 total yards and scores 13 touchdowns. These numbers would increase to 1,640 total yards and 15 touchdowns with Favre at QB.
Favre also enhances the performance of wide receivers Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, who our fantasy projections for WR previously ranked 22nd and 31st, respectively. The two would improve to 12th and 18th with the current Jets starting QB. Favre's addition, would yield nine touchdowns for Jennings and eight for Driver. With Rodgers (and Brohm), Jennings and Driver are predicted to score six touchdowns each.
Tight end Donald Lee would benefit with Favre at QB, too. He would advance from to the 12th to the ninth position on our fantasy rankings, increasing predicted touchdowns from 3 to 5 and receiving yards from 517 to 606.
Packers' kicker Mason Crosby would increase his points scored from 151 with Rodgers/Brohm to 156 with Favre. In whole, the team would average exactly five points per game more with Favre under center than with Rodgers/Brohm.
An updated schedule and season results is featured below:
Current Projected 2008 Results:
|4||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||57||21-20|
|12||@New Orleans Saints||55||26-24|
Projected 2008 Results With Favre:
|4||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||79||26-20|
|12||@New Orleans Saints||66||34-28|
As shown, Favre's presence would make the Packers more competitive. The winning percentages increase in almost every scheduled game with the addition of Favre. Further, the Packers are victorious over the Vikings and the Panthers, teams against which they were originally predicted to lose.
Once again, Favre could have proven to be a huge influence in each game and the overall season outcome (unfortunately, he may have influence on every Jet and Packer game any way). Favre is undoubtedly a driving force to his team's success. Check here to see how Favre will do on the Jets.
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