Aaron Rodgers’ road vulnerability and other storylines from Packers vs. Chiefs

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 20: Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers talks with Aaron Rodgers #12 during the first half against the Oakland Raiders in the game at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 20: Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers talks with Aaron Rodgers #12 during the first half against the Oakland Raiders in the game at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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(Chiefs) GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – OCTOBER 20: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers calls a play from the line of scrimmage in the second half against the Oakland Raiders at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Chiefs schedule continues this week against the surging Green Bay Packers. What should fans know heading into the game?

I’m currently of two minds about this Kansas City Chiefs team. On the one hand, and this should go without saying, I’m disappointed that the team’s leader and the most exciting player in the history of the franchise will miss some time. I know there are reports that Patrick Mahomes is week-to-week, and he is practicing (on a limited basis) this week which is insane, but I’d be surprised if he doesn’t miss the next two games.

As I get older, I look back on some of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in my life. As you begin to reflect on those experiences it becomes painfully obvious how finite those experiences actually are. It’s this realization that leads you to emphasize enjoying every great experience you have to its fullest extent, knowing that it will be here one moment and gone the next.

That’s where we’re at with Patrick Mahomes. As a die hard Chiefs fan the last two decades, we haven’t had a lot to cheer about. Sure, we’ve had some good teams. I’m not trying to take anything away from the Dick Vermeil era or even the teams that made the playoffs in 2006, 2010, and the Alex Smith era. I’m simply stating the fact that Mahomes is the most exciting thing in sports I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.

Even taking a game or two, especially a prime time game against the Packers, from his career of hopefully 15 years or more is a small tragedy. I can tell you the NFL is surely glad he won’t be out the rest of the season, as he’s one of the biggest draws in the league right now. Imagine the epic montages that NBC will have to scrap for Sunday’s game given Mahomes and Rodgers won’t be meeting for the first time. It’s a first-world tragedy, for sure, but one nonetheless.

On the other hand, I have a quiet optimism about this team. They say that iron is sharpened in the fire, and this team has gone through the fire this year more so than almost any year I can remember. Week in and week out, they are missing a number of starters, and now they are missing their leader, the best player on the team.

What was so special about last Thursday’s game was the way the team responded. Losing Mahomes was an absolute gut punch, especially the way it happened. Like many fans, I’m sure there were a number of players on the field who thought there was a strong possibility Mahomes’ season was over. I can only imagine what was going through their heads, especially those that saw his knee.

What the team didn’t do was crumble. Multiple leaders who had been, to this point, overshadowed by Mahomes rose to the occasion. What was most shocking was the performance of the defense. It was like Mahomes’ injury lit a fire inside of every player on that defense, who then used that fuel to mercilessly crush the Denver Broncos offense play after play.

While I’m saddened by the loss of Mahomes for even a short period, this experience could be the refining element the team needs to be transformed into a true Super Bowl contender. Overcoming adversity is one of the most integral aspects of a champion, and the upcoming weeks will provide more than enough for this team. They have a big test upcoming this week and there are a few major story lines fans should know about.

Aaron Rodgers has some interesting trends in his career

There is a relatively large camp of people who believe quarterbacks should be judged heavily on their wins and losses. It makes sense, as the quarterback position is the most influential on the field. If you have the best quarterback in a given game, a lot has to go right for the other team in order for you to lose.

Just look at the Chiefs last season. They had the best quarterback in the game, and he took a historically bad defense to the the brink of a Super Bowl berth and likely a Super Bowl win. It hurts every time I write that, but it is what it is.

The interesting thing here is that Aaron Rodgers is widely regarded as not only one of the best quarterbacks in the current NFL landscape, he’s backing that up with an extremely strong start to the season, but as one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the league.

It’s actually pretty hard to argue that point. His picturesque deep bombs have painted the ESPN top-ten highlights for over a decade. He’s won the NFL’s MVP award twice, a Super Bowl, a Super Bowl MVP, and he’s been voted by his peers as one of the top 11 players in the league nine years running. He’s put up historic numbers in his career and is on pace to break most of the current passing records, assuming he stays healthy.

He’s a great quarterback, there’s absolutely no denying that. However, there are some interesting trends throughout his career. In his career Rodgers has played in 172 total games, with 85 of those being on the road. In these road contests, he’s won 41 games and lost 44. This is a pretty shocking statistic. Who would have guessed that Rodgers was a sub-500 quarterback on the road? That’s not the only interesting takeaway.

Of those 172 games, 74 have been close contests with the winner winning by seven points or less. Winning close contests is often the mark of an elite leader and quarterback. For instance, Tom Brady has won nearly 70 percent of these same contests. Shockingly, Rodgers has fared significantly worse winning at a clip of only 51 percent.

Finally, of these 172 games, 51 have been in prime time. Winning prime time contests is another metric that is usually used when referencing some of the greatest to ever play. There’s usually a lot more pressure in these types of situations, and the great ones are usually uniquely suited to handle that pressure. Once again, Rodgers has fared rather poorly in these situations winning only 55 percent of these games.

I’ll be honest, I think the wins argument is pretty shallow. Yes, the quarterback is the most influential player on the team but there are so many variables at play that it’s unfair to judge a quarterback’s career solely on wins and losses. That said, there are some interesting trends in Rodgers’ career so far and many of them will be put to the test on Sunday night. Here’s hoping the Chiefs can do enough to make those trends continue in their favor.