The Green Bay Packers are 11-3, which is the best record in the entire NFL. With a full game lead in the NFC, they control their own destiny and can clinch homefield advantage throughout the playoffs for the second year in a row. To get to this point, the Packers have had to fight through adversity, as all great teams do. From offseason drama and speculation to in-season injuries, this Green Bay team has already been through the gauntlet. In order to be here, with the NFL’s best record, they have needed contributions from some unexpected heroes. Here are three amazing statistics from three of those heroes so far this season.
Eric Stokes- 73.6 QBR Allowed When Targeted
Without Jaire Alexander, the task of guarding each opponent’s best wide receiver has fallen, for the most part, on Eric Stokes. The speedy rookie has taken some lumps throughout the season, but thus far has emerged as a CB-1 caliber defensive back. In fact, opposing quarterbacks are only completing 48% of their passes when targeting Stokes. He has only given up three touchdowns all season, most of which came early. As of late, he has been as good as any corner in the NFL.
That grade? According to PFF, Stokes was the highest graded player on the Packers’ defense last night. His 88.3 grade against the Ravens is considered High Quality/Elite. While the future of many parts of the Packers’ team is in question beyond this season, one thing is certain: the Green Bay Packers will have two of the best starting cornerbacks in the NFL for years to come.
Marcedes Lewis- Has Forced Nine Missed Tackles
Alright, so what? Big deal, right? Marcedes Lewis is a big dude. Of course he is hard to bring down. That does not tell the whole story, though.
Marcedes Lewis has forced nine missed tackles, which is seventh among tight ends in the NFL this year. Not bad, huh? The amazing part: he has only 21 receptions.
In his first three seasons with the Packers, Marcedes Lewis had 28 receptions for 302 yards. This season alone, he has 21 receptions for 212 yards. These are not mind-blowing numbers, but when Lewis gets the ball, things happen for the benefit of the Packers. Without Robert Tonyan, the Packers have had to rely on multiple tight ends to fill the gaps in the passing game. Without Marcedes Lewis doing that, in addition to his excellent blocking at the line, the Packers would not be where they are in the standings.
Davante Adams Has 65 Touchdown Catches from Aaron Rodgers
Prior to this season, Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams hinted that this season might very well be their last as teammates. Many wonder if Rodgers even will want to come back to Green Bay. Additionally, it seems less and less likely that the Packers will be able to afford the salary demands of Adams. In any case, they are together this season and are on the verge of history (again).
Aaron Rodgers has already tied Brett Favre for the most touchdown passes in Packers’ history (442). Davante Adams caught his 70th career touchdown, moving him into second place on the Packers all-time list. The next time the two connect for a score, it will be the most touchdowns Rodgers has thrown to any one player.
Side note: 130 of Aaron Rodgers’ 442 career touchdown passes have been to Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams. That is 29.4%. Neither of them was a first-round wide receiver.