GREEN BAY – Sunday’s game at Lambeau Field features two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks.
That hasn’t been unusual in the Aaron Rodgers era. Since 2011, when he officially owned the mantle of Super Bowl-winning QB, this will mark the 19th game in which Rodgers’ quarterback counterpart also has led his team to a title (not including games before Rodgers’ or the opponent’s Super Bowl was actually won).
There are a couple of anomalies to note, however, as Joe Flacco brings Denver to Green Bay in Week 3.
For one, this is the first rematch between Rodgers and a Super Bowl-winning counterpart with a second team. Rodgers and Flacco first squared off in Baltimore in 2013, when Flacco was coming off his title with the Ravens. Now Flacco is quarterbacking the Broncos.
Moreover, the Packers must win this game for Rodgers to end a losing streak in these matchups. Overall, the Packers with Rodgers are 10-8 against other Super Bowl-winning QBs since 2011, but they’ve lost two straight – to New England’s Tom Brady and Seattle’s Russell Wilson last year.
Prior to that, Rodgers and the Packers had put together their longest winning streak in these games at four, covering wins in 2016 over the Giants’ Eli Manning and Wilson, followed by a playoff victory over Manning and a season-opening win in 2017 over Wilson again.
Rodgers and the Packers lost two straight one other time, in 2014 to Wilson and Brees, before ending it against Brady later that season.
With this matchup, Flacco becomes the fifth Super Bowl-winning QB to square off with Rodgers multiple times. Wilson leads the way with six head-to-head meetings, followed by Manning (five), Drew Brees (three), and Brady (two) and Peyton Manning (one).
The Green Bay Packers practiced inside the Don Hutson Center before Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos.
Also to note, Rodgers missed additional potential matchups with Eli Manning and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger in 2013, and with Brees, Flacco and Roethlisberger in 2017, due to injury.
Here’s the full rundown of the matchups and results:
Week 1 vs. Saints/Brees: W, 42-34
Week 13 at Giants/E. Manning: W, 38-35
NFC Div. vs. Giants/E. Manning: L, 37-20
Week 4 vs. Saints/Brees: W, 28-27
Week 12 at Giants/E. Manning: L, 38-10
Week 6 at Ravens/Flacco: W, 19-17
Week 1 at Seahawks/Wilson: L, 36-16
Week 8 at Saints/Brees: L, 44-23
Week 13 vs. Patriots/Brady: W, 26-21
NFC Ch. at Seahawks/Wilson: L, 28-22 OT
Week 2 vs. Seahawks/Wilson: W, 27-17
Week 8 at Broncos/P. Manning: L, 29-10
Week 5 vs. Giants/E. Manning: W, 23-16
Week 14 vs. Seahawks/Wilson: W, 38-10
NFC WC vs. Giants/E. Manning: W, 38-13
Week 1 vs. Seahawks/Wilson: W, 17-9
Week 9 at Patriots/Brady: L, 31-17
Week 11 at Seahawks/Wilson: L, 27-24
Total record: 10-7
All that said, this game isn’t really about Rodgers vs. Flacco. It’s about the Packers handling their 2-0 start the right way and continuing to take care of business at home while in the midst of a six-week stretch that includes five games at Lambeau Field.
The two early wins were big wins over division opponents, and they’ve gotten new Head Coach Matt LaFleur off to as strong a start as he could have hoped for. But while the Packers are capturing some attention nationally, LaFleur’s message is for his team to keep its attention internal.
“I think this league is extremely humbling,” LaFleur said Friday. “As soon as you start reading what people are writing about you and feeling good about that, you get humbled quickly.”
It appears that message is getting through to both his work-in-progress offense and hot-starting defense. Receiver Davante Adams mentioned “the big picture” several times this week, as the offense is focused on the work to do and not the 2-0 record.
“It’s a long season,” Adams said.
His teammates on the other side of the ball are tuned in to that mentality as well, no matter what they’ve accomplished thus far.
“Nobody’s getting complacent,” outside linebacker Preston Smith said. “Nobody cares about what we did the last two games. We care about what we’re going to do this next game.”