(Sports Network) – The two quarterbacks who succeeded a certain camera-toting No. 4 in Green Bay and New York, respectively, will get together this Sunday in the swamps of New Jersey to determine whose team has progressed further since Brett Favre made his dramatic exits.
Is it Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, who’ve won 21-of-39 regular-season games and made a playoff appearance since the married father of two took his act to the East Coast?
Or is it Mark Sanchez and the Jets, who parlayed the one-year circus surrounding Favre into a two-win postseason thrill ride last January and have begun year No. 2 AJ (after Jenn Sterger) with five wins in six games?
Either way, it’s clear the healing has firmly taken hold for the Jets in 2010.
Rodgers and Sanchez scored victories over the now drama-laden Minnesota Vikings — Favre’s current team — within 13 days earlier this month, with the Jets getting 191 yards and no turnovers from their new signal-caller in a 29-20 win and the Packers receiving 313 yards and a touchdown from their replacement of Favre in a 23-20 triumph.
Their predecessor’s snapshot from those games — 30-for-63, 476 yards, four touchdowns, four interceptions.
Still, diplomacy reigns in the aftermath.
“It worked out, I’m sure, for Brett and for the Jets,” New York coach Rex Ryan said in regards to Favre’s departure and the drafting of Sanchez. “We got a guy that’s going to be the quarterback here for the next 10 years, probably. And Brett Favre’s a great player. Last year, those statistics, I kept saying, That can’t be right. I mean, the guy’s a once-in-a-lifetime quarterback.”
Sanchez’s progression this season has been due in large part to added offensive weaponry at his disposal, along with less of a tendency to make mistakes.
He threw no interceptions in the initial five games of 2010 after racking up 20 last season. His first two picks of this year came against Denver in Week 6, a game the Jets won, 24-20, with a late touchdown drive.
Rodgers, on the other hand, has ably continued his offense’s swashbuckling ways, surpassing 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons and beginning this year with 1,841 yards, 12 touchdowns and a 63.9 percent completion rate through seven games.
His ground game options were limited when 1,200-yard back Ryan Grant was lost for the season with an injury back in the season opener, but Rodgers has been buoyed by six receivers with at least 17 catches — including veterans Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, who’ve combined for 54 receptions and eight touchdowns.
Green Bay enters the weekend tied atop the NFC North at 4-3, while the 5-1 Jets are knotted with New England for first in the AFC East.
“I would have liked to play better,” Rodgers said after the Minnesota win. “It was a little more special because of where we are in the season, because it’s our biggest rival, because it was a close game and the way it ended. It was a special night for us and me.”