The AccuScore computers have simulated every game of the 2008 NFL season at least 10,000 times and have calculated each team's chances of winning their division and making the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers was forecasted to play well with a season passer rating over 90. However, the Vikings win the NFC North 42.2 percent of the time with the Packers winning 35.6 percent (Chicago 17.4 percent, Detroit 4.8 percent).
Overall, the Packers made the playoffs in 47.5 percent of simulations which was good enough for sixth highest in the NFC. If you use average season simulation performance, AccuScore says Rodgers is good enough to lead the Packers to the playoffs as a wild-card entry. Not bad at all for a first-year starter.
The simulations were re-run to see how much of an impact Brett Favre would have on the Packers' postseason chances. With Favre as the starting QB, the Packers win the NFC North 56.5 percent of the time. The Vikings finish second at 30.3 percent. The Packers' chances of winning the division increase by 14.3 percentage points and their playoff chances increase to 71.9 percent (a +24.4 percentage point increase). Favre gets the Packers back to where they were last season. Their playoff chances are second highest in the NFC.
NFC North (With Favre in Green Bay)
Favre's simulation passer rating is 93.5 which is slightly lower than last season's 95.7 and virtually the same as Rodgers' 93.2. Rodgers actually has a slight edge in simulation completion percentage and a lower interception rate. So why is Green Bay doing so much better with Favre? Favre is taking fewer sacks (sacked just 15 times all last year) and is a more prolific touchdown passer than Rodgers. Even though Rodgers is playing well between the 20s, it seems that AccuScore computers favor Favre's proven ability to perform well in the red zone.
The current simulations give Favre an 80-percent chance of starting, Rodgers 20 percent. AccuScore's Custom Simulation Tool allows me to analyze subsets of the full simulation based on certain criteria. For example, in Green Bay's Week 1 match-up against Minnesota, the Packers are winning 63 percent of simulations. However, in simulations where Rodgers started the Packers won just 57 percent of simulations. With Favre starting, the Packers win 65 percent of simulations.
Favre's proven track record of performance is more beneficial to the Packers than Rodgers' potential.