Aaron Rodgers is playing better than you think


One productive half against the Chicago Bears could not realistically suppress all the panic surrounding Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers’ offense. The concerns draw from a yearlong decline in production. A recent column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel suggested Rodgers had fallen from the ranks of the greats as a result.

Since the start of the 2003 season, home teams have covered the spread at a 48.8 percent clip. That’s hardly surprising for weekly readers who have heard this point reiterated ad nauseum, but bettors may not realize than the edge in picking the road team only exists because of divisional rivalries.

After a slow start to the season, my system picks rebounded with a 4-1 performance in Week 7. Using Bet Labs data analysis software, I’ll look to continue that success with a new system that has gone.

The Browns’ best chance to win a game in 2016 comes this Sunday when they host the Jets. FPI gives Cleveland a 39 percent chance to win that game. The Browns’ chance to win is 33 percent or lower in seven of their eight games after Sunday.

FPI gives the Browns a 6 percent chance to lose all of their remaining games. That’s three times more likely than any other team. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams each have a 2 percent chance to lose out.

Part of the Browns’ ugly projection comes from what would be a tough schedule for any team. But that’s only part of the story.

Cleveland currently ranks 22nd or worse in offensive, defensive and special teams efficiency.

In 1987, the Bears had six quarterbacks throw at least 11 passes: McMahon, Mike Tomczak, Mike Hohensee, Sean Payton (the current Saints coach), Steve Bradley and Jim Harbaugh. Of course this was the strike season, which explains the situation.

That Bears team also made the playoffs, going 11-5 and losing in the divisional round to Washington. McMahon played quarterback in the playoff game.

Technically, the Browns have not been eliminated from the playoffs. So there is hope they could be like those Bears teams. Right?

But this week’s starter is a mystery.

Kessler is in the NFL concussion protocol and McCown still is trying to come back from a broken left collarbone. It’s possible Hogan will be the fourth different starter this season. Hogan played Sunday in Cincinnati and did OK given the circumstances, completing 12 of 24 passes for 100 yards and running for 104 more.

It marked the second time in a non-strike season a team has had six players throw a pass in the first seven games. The last: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976, when they went 0-14.

One other thing: If Hogan starts, he’ll be starting QB No. 27 since 1999.

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