The NFC Conference Championship game takes place tonight. It's the Green Bay Packers vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in a contest that will see legendary quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady go head to head.
The two former MVPs will meet for only the third time in their storied careers. Brady is 2-1 in those games, but of course, he was in the blue, white, and red of the all-conquering New England Patriots in one of the times he emerged as the victor. As a Bucc, Tom Brady is one up against Aaron Rodgers, as Tampa dismantled Green Bay 38-10 back in wk-7 of the regular season.
Tom Brady vs Aaron Rodgers pits two of the best QBs in NFL against each other
It's hard to wedge a blade of grass between these two quarterbacks in terms of ability: Aaron Rodgers has the better arm and has been tipped to be this season's Most Valuable Player (MVP), but Tom Brady is the GOAT and probably has a better set of receivers to aim at, so it's anyone's guess who comes out on top when you simply compare the two.
Ultimately, this QB battle will likely boil down to 3 main components:
1) The Running Game
An effective running game forces the opposition defense to push up to stuff the ground attack. In doing this, big holes tend to be left in coverage and that is when the likes of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are really able to showcase their ability to move the dingus downfield.
Buccs RB, Ronald Jones lll is NOT on the IR report today, meaning both he and Leonard Fournette (also capable of big yards) will be available for tonight's encounter. In the previous game between these two teams, Ronald Jones lll bossed the Packers' defense, chalking up 2 TDs and 113-yards on the ground.
Aaron Jones, the Packers' RB, had a day to forget down in Tampa. He averaged 1.5 yards per-carry against the NFL's number-1 ranked run-stopping defense (Buccs allowed just 3.6 yards per-carry during the regular season).
Verdict: Packers RB, Aaron Jones is the best running back on display in tonight's game, but he couldn't get going last time the two teams met due to Tampa's staunch run defense.
In my opinion, the Buccaneers' D gives them a slight advantage in the run game, so Tom Brady should have more options available as the game progresses... that is if he can avoid...
2. ... The pass rush
Tampa's Jason Pierre-Paul (9 sacks), and Devin White (9 sacks) take some stopping, and without possibly the league's best-left tackle, David Bakhtiari, the Packers could be in for a long afternoon trying to keep Aaron Rodgers safe behind the line.
The Packers pass rush, led by Ze'Darius Smith (12.5 sacks) is also exceptional, so it's not as if Tom Brady is in for a pleasant afternoon either.
Whichever QB can buy himself the most time back there is in with a great chance of winning the QB battle. Aaron Rodgers is slightly more mobile than Tom Brady, but Tampa's pass rush is slightly better than Green Bay's.
Verdict: A slightly more mobile Aaron Rodgers could be pivotal in tonight's game -- I'm not saying Green Bay's number 12 is Lamar Jackson; just that he's more mobile than Brady is.
Also Read: How Much is Aaron Rodgers’ Net Worth?
3. Which offensive line can hold out
Tampa QB, Tom Brady has faced pressure on 24% of his dropbacks this season (fourth-lowest in the NFL) and that's while playing for Bruce Arians, a coach famous for throwing the pigskin deep downfield and thus inviting a ton of QB pressure. Tom Brady is anything but mobile, so the Tampa offensive line has a lot to do with his success here. PFF has the Buccs OL ranked at 4th best in the NFL.
On that same PFF list, you will find the Packers' offensive line at number 2 (Browns ranked 1st), though, giving them a slight edge here even without a fit Bakhtiari at LT, in my opinion at least.
Players such as C, Corey Linsley (ranked 1st in his position in the NFL) have given Aaron Rodgers an age to throw the dingus to the league's most prolific WR, Davante Adams and this could prove to be pivotal in a game such as this where tiny details are likely to make all the difference.
Verdict: The Packers have a marginally better offensive line, so Aaron Rodgers should have a tad more time in which to load up his cannon arm, giving him the advantage.
Tom Brady vs Aaron Rodgers - Final verdict:
Aaron Rodgers wins 2-1 on this list against Tom Brady, so I vote that he has the better evening.
But, it's the playoffs so who knows. Just enjoy the spectacle!
Also Read: What is Aaron Rodgers’ Contract Breakdown?