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Aaron Rodgers Kills the Noise

Despite all the outside distractions this season, Aaron Rodgers continues to thrive — and he has the Packers sitting as the favorites to win Super Bowl LVI.

In frigid temperatures at Lambeau Field on Sunday night, Aaron Rodgers completed 29 of 38 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns in a 37-10 Green Bay Packers blowout of the division rival Minnesota Vikings. The victory secured the NFC’s lone first-round bye and home-field advantage straight through conference championship weekend.

With 35 TD passes this season to just four interceptions, the 38-year-old is currently an impressive betting favorite to win his second consecutive NFL MVP award (and fourth of his career), checking in at -400 at FanDuel.

And even more importantly, despite a regular season full of unprecedented distractions, Green Bay has the current top odds to win Super Bowl LVI at +380.

Rodgers 1, Noise 0.

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It’s notable that Rodgers’ successful season was far from a certainty just two months ago. After testing positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 4, it was revealed that the future Hall of Famer was not vaccinated and had previously misled the team and the NFL by maintaining that he was “immunized.” This led to significant blowback heading into the Packers’ Week 9 date with Kansas City.

In that 13-7 loss, reserve QB Jordan Love’s inability to engineer a win further illuminated AR12’s value. He’s also dealt with a toe issue since late November (and the snarky debate over whether it was “COVID toe”), with frequent calls to “The Pat McAfee Show” offering as a safe haven from all the outside criticism he had faced.

FanDuel futures odds to win NFL MVP following Sunday’s Week 17 games

But winning cures all ills, and that’s certainly been the case for Rodgers and Green Bay. The team has now won five straight and is 8-0 at home this season, increasing an overall regular-season win streak in Wisconsin to 13. And Rodgers is the single biggest reason why Green Bay leads the NFL pack.

Just pick a stat. Any stat, really:

  • No.1 in the NFL in passer rating (111.1)
  • No. 1 in QBR (67.7)
  • No. 1 in lowest percentage of throws leading to interceptions (0.8%)
  • No. 1 among quarterbacks with at least 500 pass attempts in rate of completions going for first downs (39.4%)
  • No. 1 in percentage of his throws that lead to touchdowns (6.8%)
  • No. 2 among QBs with at least 500 pass attempts in adjusted yards per attempt (8.8)
  • No. 3 among QBs with at least 500 pass attempts in completion percentage (68.6%)
  • Tied for No. 3 in touchdown passes (35)
  • No. 4 among QBs with at least 500 pass attempts in yards per attempt (7.8)
  • Tied for No. 4 in completions of 40+ yards (10)
  • No. 7 with 53 completions of 20+ yards (53)
  • No. 8 in completions leading to first downs (204)
  • No. 9 in passing yards (3,977)

Perhaps his most improbable accomplishment, however? That all this rip-roaring success has come despite not only his outspoken COVID controversy earlier this season, but as his future in Green Bay has fallen into legitimate doubt.

After very loudly and publicly restructuring his contract over the summer, Rodgers will be a free agent after the 2022 season; this could easily be spending his 17th and final campaign with the historic franchise that gave him the keys to their kingdom.

He remains the only NFL player to ever sign two separate $100 million contracts, and could very well sign a third in the coming months. There’s still a giant pile of money to earn this year, of course — per Spotrac, Rodgers has a chance to secure several big bonuses:

  • $100,000 for playing at least 72.5% of Green Bay’s offensive snaps
  • $100,000 each for leading the league in passer rating, completion percentage, interception percentage, yards per attempt, or TD passes
  • $120,000 for making a divisional playoff game
  • $130,000 for making the NFC championship game
  • $150,000 for making the Super Bowl

As we’ve learned in the past with the Packers, however getting to the Super Bowl even with home field advantage is far from assured.

Green Bay’s last home loss? A 30-26 NFC title game defeat one year ago to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are a plausible playoff foe this time around.

“Last year we didn’t get that good Green Bay weather,” Rodgers said Sunday. “Tonight was one of those nights. We haven’t had a game like this in a while temperature-wise. This was different. It is different, the whole feel of it. I feel like teams can break a little bit easier when it is this cold because there’s an excuse — the weather.”

FanDuel futures odds to win Super Bowl XLVI following Sunday’s Week 17 games

Rodgers and the Packers have reached the NFC Championship Game in four of the last seven seasons, and they lost each time. Can this be the year they finally break through and make and win the Super Bowl for the first time since 2010?

With AR12 still at the height of his powers but his future in Green Bay very much up in the air, it may be now or never for winning ring No. 2 as a Packer.

It may also be the best chance he’s had.

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