AFC East QB Showdown: Why Josh Allen Is Now Better than Aaron Rodgers

Josh Allen has been the AFC East’s undisputed top QB in recent years. But along comes Aaron Rodgers – can Allen hang on to the top spot?

Aaron Rodgers’ life was easier without Josh Allen hanging around.

There’s never been a question that Rodgers was the division’s – heck, the whole conference’s – top QB during his years in Green Bay.

But now, the 39-year-old future Hall of Famer comes to the QB-rich AFC. And he doesn’t have to look any further than his own AFC East division to see a new rival – Buffalo’s Josh Allen.

I think Aaron Rodgers takes a back seat to Allen in 2023. Here are a few reasons why.

Reason 1: Statistics

Any fantasy football aficionado can tell you Allen is a consensus top-3 pick at the position (with Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts) while Rodgers hangs somewhere around 12th to 15th. Let’s take a closer look at the reasons.

Last season, Allen was fantasy’s No. 2 QB. Patrick Mahomes took the top spot, throwing for 1,000 more yards than Allen along with six more TDs and two fewer interceptions.

2022 Quarterback Statistics

PlayerCompletionsAttemptsPass YardsTDsINTsRush YardsRush TDs
Josh Allen3595674,28335147627
Aaron Rodgers3505423,6952612941
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Yet in standard scoring, Allen was only 15 points behind Mahomes because of his versatility. Allen carried the ball for 762 additional yards and seven scores on the ground. He operates as another fullback in the red zone and adds a dimension to the Bills’ offense the Jets simply won’t enjoy with Rodgers.

Speaking of the new Jets’ QB, Rodgers had his lowest passing total (3,695 yards) in a full season since 2013. Despite bringing along some familiar targets such as Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, I think Rodgers struggles to reach the lofty stats projected for him this year as well.

Along with an adjustment to a new system, he’ll need promising Garrett Wilson to develop into his Davante Adams as a go-to guy and lead a team who wants to win games with their stifling defense.

Aaron Rodgers Garrett Wilson

As a rusher, Rodgers was never Josh Allen, but he hasn’t carried the ball more than 38 times in a single season since 2019. He may get you a couple yards on a sneak or scramble into the end zone once or twice, but your fantasy league mates won’t be too impressed if you draft Rodgers for his running.

Reason 2: Team Success

As Allen enters his sixth season, the biggest knock on the Bills’ QB is that he “can’t win the big one.”

Playoff struggles in Buffalo are nothing new, and the last few years have seen the Bills repeatedly run into the wrong team at the wrong time.

Both the 2020 and 2021 seasons ended at the hands of Mahomes and the Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium, the latter a 42-36 overtime finish that caused the NFL to change their rules for settling overtime games in the playoffs.

Allen was incredible in that effort, throwing for 329 yards, four TDs (two in the fourth quarter) and bringing the Bills back from three separate deficits.

Last season, the Bills fell at home 27-10 to the Bengals in the divisional round on a day that was surely not Allen’s best. He threw for 255 yards, but no touchdowns and committed two turnovers in the loss.

Allen vs Bengals

Following that performance, Allen enters the 2023 season with plenty to prove, especially with a QB like Rodgers and his big-game reputation in the division.


As it turns out, Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have that great a big-game reputation either! Sure, he’s won a Super Bowl… in the 2010 NFL season, also known as “Josh Allen’s freshman year in high school.”

Since that time? Here is a list of Rodgers’ playoff losses:

2011New York Giants37-20 GiantsPackers -8
2012San Francisco 49ers45-31 49ers49ers -3
2013San Francisco 49ers23-20 49ers49ers -3
2014Seattle Seahawks28-22 Seahawks (OT)Seahawks -8.5
2015Arizona Cardinals26-20 Cardinals (OT)Cardinals -6
2016Atlanta Falcons44-21 FalconsFalcons -6.5
2019San Francisco 49ers37-20 49ers49ers -8
2020Tampa Bay Buccaneers31-26 BuccaneersPackers -3
2021San Francisco 49ers13-10 49ersPackers -5.5
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Yikes. No wonder everyone thought he’d want to sign with San Francisco.

But in all seriousness, Rodgers’ playoff record since the Super Bowl win is 7-9, with three of the losses coming as a favorite. His team only covered one of the six games where they were underdogs, and he hasn’t been back to the Super Bowl in 12 years.

Josh Allen hasn’t won the big one, but for the time Allen’s been in the NFL, neither has Aaron Rodgers.

Who’s Better: Josh Allen or Aaron Rodgers?

Now that we’ve torn down Rodgers a bit, let’s build him back up.

There’s no doubt the QB is headed to the Hall of Fame in Canton, OH five years after he retires. Two more healthy seasons will rank Rodgers in the top-five all time in passing yards.

Rodgers Vs Allen

He’s already there for passing touchdowns and trails only Mahomes for career passer rating.

Wins? Barring disaster, he’ll pass John Elway and Dan Marino this year and move into fifth place in that category.

I may not love his 2023 outlook, but Aaron Rodgers is a remarkably accomplished quarterback.

So… can Josh Allen approach or surpass Rodgers over a full career?

What Does Joe Allen Need to Do?

Allen will need that Super Bowl victory to do so. Fair or unfair, it’s the number-one criterion for quarterback success in the game. It’s why Joe Namath, Terry Bradshaw, and Troy Aikman – successful signal callers with merely above-average statistics – are remembered as legends while players like Warren Moon, Jim Kelly, and even Marino are somewhat diminished by history.

If the Bills win a Super Bowl in Allen’s time in Buffalo, he’ll be an immortal in that city. Buffalo lost four straight Super Bowls at the start of the 1990s and hasn’t been back since. With no exaggeration, it would be an accomplishment on par with LeBron bringing the title to Cleveland in the NBA back in 2016.

Statistically, his chances to match Rodgers come down to one thing – longevity. Allen’s advantage is that he started almost immediately in Buffalo, while Rodgers famously sat behind Brett Favre his first three seasons in Green Bay. Thus, Allen’s already attained numbers it took Rodgers until he was almost 30 to reach.

Rogers Vs Allen

Back to the Stats

Rodgers has three peak statistical seasons – at age 28, 33, and 37. That’s not easy to do. He’s started 223 games since 2008, missing only 17 games due to injury (all but one of those games occurring in two seasons – 2013 and 2017.)

Strangely enough, one of Allen’s greatest attributes – his running ability – could be the greatest hindrance to his chances of catching Rodgers on an all-time list.

Even in the days when he could affect a game with his running, Rodgers never carried the ball more than 67 times in a full season. Allen has flown past that total in each of his five seasons (and to be fair, he’s remained remarkably healthy doing so, never missing a start since taking the full-time job in Buffalo in 2018).

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Allen has good speed, but his standout trait when running the football is his willingness and ability to run through and initiate contact with his 237-pound frame. It’s effective, it’s game-changing… historically, it’s not conducive to a long, healthy career, however. How many running backs do you see going strong at Aaron Rodgers’ age?

So there you have it. For the 2023 season, we project Josh Allen as a better quarterback than Aaron Rodgers. But Allen’s got a long way to go before we can compare him to the Jets’ new QB over a full career.

2023 NFL Odds

Here are a few potential futures bets surrounding Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers, and their respective teams entering the 2023 NFL season:

(All odds courtesy of BetMGM)

AFC East Division Champion

Buffalo Bills+120
New York Jets+250
Miami Dolphins+300
New England Patriots+800
Aaron Rodgers Josh Allen

NFL Most Valuable Player

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills+750
Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets+1600
Aaron Rodgers Josh Allen

Most Passing Touchdowns

(Player must lead the NFL in passing TDs to win)

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills+450
Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets+900
Aaron Rodgers Josh Allen
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