How Aaron Rodgers' Passer Rating Helped Green Bay Win in 2016

Passer rating is a complicated football stat.

Most of the game’s stats are straightforward. Run the ball five yards? Cool, here are five rushing yards. Do you play defense and happen to catch a pass from the other team’s quarterback? Awesome, you just got an interception.

Sitting in the corner by himself is the passer rating equation. I won’t bother trying to explain it succinctly, because even the NFL’s own help page is over 600 words.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The higher the number, the better.
  • The lowest possible passer rating is 0.
  • The highest possible passer rating is 158.3.

There are a lot of stats to pay attention to during a game, especially if you play fantasy football. If you’re interested in trying to determine whether the Packers (or your favorite team) to win, passer rating can help predict the outcome.

Using the NFL’s weekly passing totals for each quarterback, I’ve connected a quarterback’s passer rating with the outcome of their team that week. As a baseline, I excluded any quarterback who threw fewer than 10 passes in a game. In cases where a starter and backup both met this criteria, both are included.

Does a higher passer rating help your team win?

Yes, it does. Also, the sky is blue and the Packers play their home games in Lambeau Field. The quarterback is the most important position on a football team – with a good one, you’ve got a shot at a Super Bowl and without a good one, you’re toast.

Here’s the breakdown for all qualified quarterbacks during the 2016 regular season:

The data says if a quarterback has a passer rating over 90, their team has a better than 50/50 shot at winning the game.

Just how often did a quarterback finish a game last season with a passer rating over 90 last year? Less often than you’d think:

Aaron Rodgers’ passer rating

Let’s take a look at the Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. When he’s started a regular season game throughout his career, he’s met or exceeded the 90 passer rating in games 70 percent of the time:

Green Bay’s taken some hard luck losses in the postseason – the NFC Championship Game against the Seahawks and a pair of last-minute losses in Arizona against the Cardinals. Has Rodgers played worse in those games?

The data says Rodgers has actually improved his game in the playoffs. He’s posted a passer rating over 90 in 12 of his 16 career playoff games:

Quarterbacks’ passer rating against the Packers in 2016

Last season, the Packers secondary struggled to contain their opponent’s passing attack. Green Bay allowed the second-most passing yards of any team (New Orleans finished last), and quarterbacks threw for an average of 270 yards a game.

While the end result could be frustrating to watch and caused the Packers’ offense to score more to win games, opposing quarterbacks went above the 90 passer rating threshold only 10% more often.

Only twice during the Packers’ 2016 regular season did the quarterback with the higher passer rating lose:

  • Week 5: Packers 23 (Aaron Rodgers: 65 passer rating), Giants 16 (Eli Manning: 78.2 passer rating)
  • Week 9: Colts 31 (Andrew Luck: 74 passer rating), Packers 26 (Aaron Rodgers: 94.8 passer rating)

Ultimately, when the Packers defense allowed a quarterback to outperform Rodgers, the Packers quarterback responded with a terrific statistical performance. In those six games, Green Bay went 1-5 and Rodgers’ average passer rating was 91.1.