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Packers might have two Pro Bowl receivers

11/17/2014

GREEN BAY, Wis. – In a matter-of-fact manner, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said this about his leading receiver, Jordy Nelson:

"Obviously Jordy is having a Pro Bowl season," Rodgers said after Sunday's 53-20 rout of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Few, if anyone, would argue that.

Nelson ranks third in the NFL with 998 receiving yards and is tops among NFC receivers (although the Pro Bowl is no longer organized by conference). He trails only Denver's Demaryius Thomas (1,105) and Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown (1,070) in that category. Nelson ranks sixth in the league with 60 catches. And his nine touchdown catches puts him tied for second among all receivers.

All of that is the very definition of a Pro Bowl lock.

But what about Randall Cobb?

He's the only receiver in the league with more touchdowns than Nelson and those he's tied with for second. Despite not catching a touchdown pass on Sunday, ending a streak of six straight games with at least one score, Cobb's 10 touchdown catches still leads all NFL receivers and is second overall behind only Broncos tight end Julius Thomas, who has 12.

Sunday marked the second time this season that Cobb (with 10 catches for 129 yards against the Eagles) and Nelson (four catches for 109 yards and one touchdown) each had 100-plus yards receiving in the same game.

How much has Rodgers relied on that duo this season?

He has 19 of his 28 touchdown passes to them. He has completed 73.2 percent of his targets toward Cobb and 65.2 percent of his targets to Nelson, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He has averaged 10.9 yards per attempt when throwing to Nelson and 10.8 yards per attempt when throwing to Cobb.

Against the Eagles, he was 13-of-22 for 226 yards and a touchdown when throwing to those two receivers.

Cobb and Nelson have been the perfect complement to one another. Nelson's size and speed on the outside make him a big-play threat, which opens up the middle of the field for Cobb, a prototypical slot receiver.

Against the Eagles, Rodgers hit Nelson for a 64-yard gain down the right sideline on the game's opening series, and the offense took off from there.

"People like to double him a lot, so it frees up Randall and I," said Packers receiver Davante Adams, who also caught a touchdown pass against the Eagles. "So we get to move around a little bit, move around a little more freely when in man coverage. Just getting him the ball, if he doesn't score, one of us will.”

The Packers have had only two receiver pairs make the Pro Bowl together in the last 32 years. Greg Jennings and Donald Driver did it for the 2010 season, although Driver was an alternate. James Lofton and John Jefferson did it in 1982, a strike-shortened season.