Home > NFL > Sept. 1 – Fantasy Debate – Rodgers or Brees?, NFL Re-Preview (Part 7 of 8)

Sept. 1 – Fantasy Debate – Rodgers or Brees?, NFL Re-Preview (Part 7 of 8)

Let’s look at the top 2 QB’s today. Almost all draft boards have Aaron Rodgers at #1, and Drew Brees runner-up. Rodgers is the up-and-comer, who has made Green Bay forget what’s-his-name. He’s 26, in his 6th year (his 3rd as a starter). Brees, the reigning Super Bowl MVP, is starting his 10th year at age 31. This is his 5th year with New Orleans.

Let’s compare the two:

Completions: Rodgers has averaged 346 completions the last two years (350 and 341). His arm is insanely strong, and he has proven to be accurate as well. However, Brees is the better of the two in this category. He completed more passes last year than Rodgers (363), and did so in one less game. In 2008, he completed 413 passes, and in 2007 – 443. Although Sean Payton has tried to make his offense more balanced, the edge here goes to Brees.

Yards: This one is close, but I think the advantage again goes to the Saints’ quarterback. Rodgers has averaged 4236 yards passing over the last 2 years – about 265 yards a game. Last year he passed for 4434 yards, so he is improving in this category. Brees passed for 4388 yards last year – but in 15 games. Taking the average, 16 games would be around 4681 yards. In 2008, he passed for a monstrous 5069 yards. I’ll give the slight advantage to Brees, taking into account that Rodgers’ totals have been going up, while Brees’ declined last year.

Touchdowns: Rodgers passed for 28 and 30 TDs the last 2 years. Brees passed for 34 TDs each of the last 2 years. But the advantage here goes to Rodgers. Why? Rodgers’ legs. Rodgers has rushed for 9 TDs, and is known for his scrambling ability. Brees? – not so much. He has rushed for 2 TDs, and is a pure pocket passer.

Team: Both guys have very good, if not great, receiving corps. Colston, Shockey, and crew are reliable pass catchers. Greg Jennings is a budding star for Green Bay, and Rodgers can always find Driver in a pinch. Most tight end boards have Jermichael Finley near or at the top. When it comes to protection, Brees has the clear advantage. Rodgers is often rushed to get rid of the ball – the Pack need to improve the O-Line, and have started to do so with this year’s draft. The Saints also have the edge when it comes to passing climate, although Rodgers has not let the cold or snow effect his play. Slight advantage to Brees here, only because he has more time to find the open man.

Opponents: This is a draw – both teams have one good division rival (Atlanta, Minnesota). Green Bay will play the AFC East and NFC East. New Orleans will get the AFC North and NFC West. I don’t see an advantage to either QB either way.

Overall: Looking at the numbers, it’s hard to see why some boards have Rodgers almost a round higher than Brees. Rodgers has growth potential, no doubt, but Brees has been consistently elite over the past 4 or 5 years – really since he’s been in New Orleans. I like Brees more, and if I were picking with both on the board, I’d probably take the best RB available, hope Rodgers goes first because of the hype, and try to land last year’s MVP on the way back.

Now the NFC East:

Dallas Cowboys:

The Cowboys looked pretty good at the beginning of 2009, minus the loss at home to the Giants. The offense scored 30 points or more 4 times in the first 7 weeks. However, the offense lost its pop after that – they didn’t score 30 again the rest of the year. The defense was consistent, only giving up more than 30 twice – both times to the rival Giants. They beat both Philly and Washington twice, but losses to the Giants (twice), Denver, and San Diego at home hurt this team, and gave them a tough playoff matchup away from home. I went 9-6 with America’s Team, 7-8 in over/unders. 2010 Outlook :  This is another team analysts are predicting is Super Bowl bound – in their own new digs. They will need to stop the pass a little better, and also be more consistent on offense for that to happen. Beating the Giants once would help too. Their young core was kept intact, which is a good thing. I think they’ll do all of the above, and win the East. I’ll go 11-5 here.

New York Giants:

New Giant Keith Bulluck - courtesy Wikipedia

The 2009 Giants were hurt by injuries – specifically on defense. Key players went down for them at every position, and it showed. They only kept Washington, Oakland, and Tampa under 20 points all year. They gave up over 40 points four times (Saints, Panthers, Eagles twice). The running game disappointed. Although they did beat the Cowboys twice, they gave up 85 points to Philly in 2 losses. The model went 8-7 with New York, and 5-9-1 on over/unders. 2010 Outlook :  The Giants open up their new stadium in 2010, and expectations will be high, as they always are in New York. The defense will need a big rebound – and additions like Keith Bulluck and Antrel Rolle will help. I think the key concern for the Giants should be at RB and the O-Line. If they falter like they did at the end of last year, Eli will have no margin for error. I’ll give them 10 wins, and fighting either the Pack or Vikes for the last wild-card.

Philadelphia Eagles:

The Eagles went 11-5 in 2009, and for several weeks looked like a Super bowl team. Andy Reid still probably has nightmares about the 13-9 loss in Oakland. Win that game, and they get a bye and host a 2nd round game. Win that game, and they don’t have to worry about playing a Dallas team in the playoffs that had their number. Win that game, and maybe the team somehow stays together in 2010. Well that didn’t happen, and now the picture has completely changed. I went 8-7 with Philly, 10-5 on over/unders.2010 Outlook :  The Eagles are officially rebuilding. McNabb is out, Kolb is in. McCoy is your starting RB. Jackson and Maclin are your young receiving corps. The defense is mostly young blood as well. This team will grow together, but this is a rough division to grow in. I have the Eagles with 7 or 8 wins, and hoping their former leader doesn’t pass them in the standings.

Washington Redskins:

My model liked the Redskins – here’s why: The Skins scored between 6 and 17 points 10 out of the first 11 weeks of the season. They consistently either won or lost by a small margin in that period. The offense woke up for a bit toward the end of the season, almost beating the mighty Saints, but then faltered against rivals Dallas and New York. Another losing season in Washington led to an overhaul – see the outlook. I went 10-5, and 10-5 in over/unders.2010 Outlook :  New head coach who means business. New QB who has a winning track record. New RBs brought in (Larry Johnson, Willie Parker) to compete with Portis. It’s safe to say this team has changed personnel and philosophy more than any other this off-season. Ask Mr. Haynesworth. The only question is how long does it take them to meld into a team? I have them at 7-9, but looking forward to a brighter future.

Please feel free to post your thoughts on the fantasy debate or the NFC East. I’ll have the last NFL Re-Preview installment tomorrow.

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