My vote for Stat of the Year, courtesy of Big Lead superstar/PFR family member JKL: the Packers haven't trailed by more than seven points at any point this season. Let's take a look at Green Bay's six losses:
- In Chicago, the Packers got up 7-0 and 10-7, trailed 14-10, took a 17-14 lead, and lost 20-17.
- In week five in Washington, the Packers led for most of the game before the Redskins scored 10 fourth quarter points to force overtime. Washington won 16-13. Yes, Washington beat this team.
- The following week, the Packers trailed 7-3 and 13-10 against Miami, and an Anthony Fasano touchdown reception gave Miami a 20-13 lead. Aaron Rodgers rushed for the tying score, but Miami won in overtime, 23-20.
- In week twelve, the Packers lost another close one in Atlanta. The teams exchanged scores all game, alternating with a Falcons field goal, Packers field goal, Falcons touchdown, Packers touchdowns, Falcons touchdown, Packers touchdown, Falcons field goal.
- The next week, a loss in New England without Rodgers looked disastrous in the standings but respectable on the field. The Packers got up 3-0 and then 10-7 and 17-7. Two Patriots touchdowns made it 21-17, but Green Bay responded with another touchdown. The Patriots scored last, winning 31-27.
The Packers never trailed by a score in any of their 13 victories, either. Even trailing early wasn't an impediment to a big game, like when the Falcons went up 7-0 in the playoff game. So how rare is it for a team to go an entire season without trailing by more than 7 points? As you could guess, extremely.
The 1942 Redskins. George Halas' 1948 Bears. And the 1962 Detroit Lions, a team that had to compete with the buzzsaw that was the 1962 Packers. Head to head, the Lions outplayed Green Bay's greatest team Under Vince. Detroit dropped the first game in Green Bay 9-7, on a field goal in the final minute; the Lions crushed the Packers in the rematch, racing out to a 26-0 lead before a couple of late scores made the final tally 26-14.
Those three teams are the only teams since 1940 to never trail by more than 7 points, unless the Packers keep their streak going in Super Bowl XV. Green Bay would become the first team in the Super Bowl era to never trail by more than a touchdown, an incredible feat in any season, but especially so given the injury-plagued year the Packers endured. What's the biggest margin some other great teams have faced? The table below lists the "low point" on the season for each of the first 44 Super Bowl champs:
The '84 49ers and '72 Dolphins combined to lose just one game, and neither faced a deficit of more than 10 points at any time during the year. Outside of them, only Hank Stram's '69 Chiefs didn't have to deal with a two-touchdown margin on the scoreboard at least once during the season.
Here's a list of all teams that never trailed by more than 20 points in a season, from 1940 to 2009:
I'll admit it: I'm always curious to discover the opening point spread for the Super Bowl. This year, the line opened at Green Bay -2.5, meaning the oddsmakers view the Packers as a slight favorite. This surprised a lot of people, considering how the AFC looked like the stronger conference all season and Pittsburgh's history of dominance in recent years. The Packers were hot, of course, but still have the taste of the 6 seed in the mouths of some. Who wouldn't have been surprised? Anyone looking at the updated Simple Rating System standings. Here they are, through the conference championship games:
|New England Patriots||17||11.5||3.0||14.5|
|Green Bay Packers||19||10.3||2.0||12.3|
|New York Jets||19||3.9||3.5||7.4|
|San Diego Chargers||16||7.4||-3.1||4.4|
|New York Giants||16||2.9||-0.8||2.1|
|New Orleans Saints||17||4.4||-3.2||1.2|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||1.4||-2.4||-1.0|
|Kansas City Chiefs||17||0.8||-2.8||-2.0|
|San Francisco 49ers||16||-2.4||-3.6||-6.0|
|St. Louis Rams||16||-2.4||-4.6||-7.1|
That's right: the SRS views the Packers as 2.3 points better than the Steelers, as they've been the second best team in the league this season. The Packers' SRS score was aided by the best post-season game of any team, a 27-point road victory against a team 4.5 points better than average. The best win of the year came from the Patriots in their 45-3 shellacking over the Jets. The home victory means a margin of victory of 39 points against a +7.4 team, for an SRS grade of 46.4. The Raiders 59-14 win in Denver (48, -9.4, 38.6) and the Patriots' 36-7 win in Chicago (32, +3.9, 35.9) round out the top three.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 at 12:51 pm and is filed under Simple Rating System, Statgeekery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.