First, make sure you visit our Green Bay Packers blog at Acme Packing Compnay.
To the numbers!
Traditional Metrics: Packers are 6th offensively with 362.2 yards per game. That's also where they are at per play, making them an efficient offense that moves the ball at a clip of 5.7 yards each down. They look a lot like the Redskins on 3rd down, converting an identical 44% of the time which is good for 12th in the league. A weakness, perhaps, as viewers from all overs saw last Sunday night, is their inability to hold on to the ball, losing six fumbles which is tied for
first worst. Still, they've only fumbled the ball 8 times, three fewer times than Your Washington Redskins, and we've played one less game. Fumble recovery is an inexact science and teams shouldn't be rewarded more for recoveries than they should bear blame for lost ones. A fumble is a fumble is a fumble and whatever happens to the ball after it leaves your hand is largely a function of lady luck; the player who fumbles deserves criticism even when it doesn't land into opposing possession. <- Just my opinion.
They aren't getting these yards on the ground as Green Bay is damn near last place in yards per game with 67.6, ahead of only Kansas City -- which is strange, since LJ is supposed to be so good, huh? They're averaging just 3.3 yards per carry (28th) which is likely skewed in virtue of over 13% of their entire rushing production this year having been managed on just one 44 yard play.
Passing is where we will live or die. No one has attempted or completed more passes or accomplished more yards in the air than the Green Bay Packers.
[A quick aside on Brett Favre: When it appeared as if Favre's career would've ended more gracefully had he just stepped away from the game, national writers of prominence were demanding precisely that. I think it's only fair that we demand their heads since they were indeed mistaken, if only briefly, and since their job is to have the correct opinions about sports then 'tis best to get out before you screw it up. Well you've already screwed it up, which Favre hadn't really done to any significant degree when his retirement was near demanded. Brett Favre has earned through 16 years of uninterrupted Hall of Fame level service to this National Football League the right to leave whenever the fuck he wants. He can be 45, stumbling over the field, dragging the Packers down with him, and he will still get my support so long as a coach is willing to keep playing him and he's willing to say yes. When I see talking heads question just how long he's going to stick around I bemoan the fact that they always ask the wrong questions! It isn't, "Will he play in 2 years" or "Can he play in two years" but "What degree or magnitude of awesome would it be if he were still playing in two years" at which time the talking heads slap hands and act as if they love the sport for more than the 15 minutes of fame they're sucking out of it. That's all I want.]
It isn't an all volume attack, either. The Packers are accurate (5th with a completion percentage of 67.1%), efficient (7.3 YPA, good for 13th) and surprisingly mistake free -- gunslinger Favre has thrown just 4 picks this season and sacked just 9 times, both above average numbers. Not that I care much for it as a statistic, but these Packers are the 7th most "efficient" passers in the NFL.
Reliable Metrics: Football Outsiders tells most of the same but some that may surprise. The Packers are not cellar dwellar runners as absolute figures would suggest but instead are 14th in the league behind their 6th ranked passing unit, combining for 5th in the league. No such luck for the Packers offensive offensive line, at least as regards the run, as they rank 30th. Saving grace is that they are 5th in adjusted sack rate, giving up a sack 3.6% of the time on pass plays, good for 5th in the league. (We're 3rd.)
Bring me the head of... You know who Brett Favre is, so I'll spare you that. I haven't really heard of any of the guys rushing the ball substantially for the Packers, though Brandon Jackson leads the team in attempts (38) and DeShawn Wynn leads in yards (165). This of course begs the question why DeShawn Wynn isn't running the ball more but what do I know? He's also the guy scoring (3 TDs to no one else's 2) and the one who broke off that sweet 44 yarder. Video of DeShawn Wynn below:
Of the receivers, we want the ball going to James Jones, credited with the two lost fumbles that lost Green Bay the game last week against the Bears. We don't want Donald Driver getting the ball as FO considers him pretty damn good. But really this is a very balanced attack with lots of targets being productive. Green Bay has 11 receivers with 3 or more catches and the yardage is spread relatively evenly among them.
I fear this offense more than I fear Detroit, though that wasn't the case about a week ago so hopefully our defense comes out and punches them in the kidneys.
Defense preview is pending though I'd be super appreciative if some go-getter reader(s) took care of it seeing as how I'm heading out of town tomorrow and am running out of daylight today (or you could just go read Redskin Report). Post your own thoughts in the comments section below. Cheers and HTTR.