Although the Patriots came up just short in the quest for a completely undefeated season, they did manage to become the only team to go 16-0 in the regular season. Yes, I know the 1972 Miami Dolphins also went undefeated, but that was when the season was only 14 games long, so Mercury Morris, please go ahead and hold your emails. At 11-0, many people are beginning to talk undefeated season for Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers. But how do they compare with Brady’s Bunch?
Quarterbacks: Slight Edge to Tom Brady
While Aaron Rodgers should be the unanimous MVP this season – ironically enough, coming only a year after Brady completed the same feat – the 2007 season was one for the record books. Tom Brady set a new mark for touchdowns in a season with 50, and while Rodgers has an outside shot at that number, his 33 touchdowns means he would need to average more than 3 TD passes over the remaining five games on the schedule. Rodgers has a chance at a different record this year, passing Dan Marino’s single season mark of 5,084 passing yards, but it may be a little less special when you consider Tom Brady and Drew Brees actually both have better shots at eclipsing Dan’s record this year.
2007 vs. 2011 -- Through The First 11 Games
Comp/Att Comp% Yards TD INT Rating
Tom Brady 284/390 72.82 3,439 39 4 129.65
Aaron Rodgers 260/362 71.80 3,475 33 4 127.70
Running Game: Slight Edge New England
Continuing the eerie similarities between these two teams is the fact that neither has or had a consistent running game. In 2007, Laurence Maroney led the Patriots with 853 rushing yards. This season, James Starks leads the Packers with 560 through the first 11 games. Projecting his end of the year numbers would give Starks 813 rushing yards for the season. Although both Starks and Maroney averaged 4.5 yards per carry, Maroney scored 6 TDs to Stark’s 1 touchdown so far. I nearly pushed this category, but the Patriots were just slightly better in every category. The Packers average 3.8 yards per carry as a team – New England averaged 4.1 in 2007. This season the Packers are averaging 97.2 yards on the ground – the Patriots picked up 105.5 yards per game. And the final stat that made me give the edge to New England is the fact that he Packers are currently getting outgained on the ground, 1069 yards to 1,161 – the Patriots gained more yards than their opponents, 1,849 to 1,572.
Receivers: Randy Moss Breaking Record, Edge Patriots
While Tom Brady did throw 50 touchdowns in 2007, 23 of those tosses were to Randy Moss – which gave him the all-time single season receiving touchdown record. To put that in better perspective, the Packers’ top two receivers, Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, are only on pace to get 24 touchdowns combined. We could take the one-two punch of Randy Moss and, Linebacker, Mike Vrabel and still come up with a combined 25 receiving touchdowns for the 2007 Patriots. But least we not forget that the 2007 Patriots also had newly acquired Wes Welker to add 8 scores to their tally. The Packers may end up with a little higher total receiving yards, but there may have been a no greater single season wide receiving tandem than Randy Moss and Wes Welker in 2007.
Defense: Huge Edge To The Patriots
The 2007 New England Patriots had the No. 4 ranked defense in the NFL; the Green Bay Packers’ defense is currently sitting at No. 30. The 2011 Packers are giving up more than 100 yards per game than the 2007 Patriots did. In short, the Packers have made it to 11-0 by simply outscoring teams. The 330 points the Packers are projected to give up are 56 more points than the 16-0 Pats surrendered. And while the Patriots had the 6th
best statistical passing defense in the NFL in 2007, the only team worse than the Packers this year at defending the pass are, ironically enough, the 2011 New England Patriots.
Although on paper, the 2007 New England Patriots were the better team; this year’s Green Bay squad still has a real shot at a 16-0 season. The biggest hurdle may be their Week 13 matchup with the Giants in New York. After that, the Packers get the McFadden-less Raider, the everyone-less Chiefs, the Cutler-less Bears, and a Detroit Lions team which seems to be imploding by the week.
The New York Giants were the team to end the Patriots run at 18-0, might the 2011 Giants also be the ones to put the kibosh on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers? After watching the 49-24 throttling the Giants took from the Saints on Monday-night, it does not look real likely, but if the Giants can’t mustard up enough to get it done next week, the Packers may have clear skies all the way to a 16-0 season.
What does Football Nation think? Do the Packers have enough to make it all of the way to 16-0, and how would you rank them against the 2007 New England Patriots?