After the Green Bay Packers became the first team to clinch their division last week, the hoopla about them going undefeated intensified. This team seems like they might actually be able to go 16-0, and after several tough tests by teams that looked like they might be able to knock off the Green and Gold, Aaron Rodgers and company still have a zero in the loss column.
At this rate, the Pack will get a first-round bye, and will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. But this isn’t necessarily a good thing.
For starters, the average temperature in Green Bay from December-February is a whopping 27 degrees—and that’s the high. The average high for all the months of home games they’ve already played this season—62.
Second, as we all know, it’s harder to throw the ball in cold weather than it is in warm weather. The teams that generally win late in the season and into the playoffs are those who either are able to play in a dome and throw the ball, or those who can run the ball and win tough, hard-nosed slug fests in the cold and snow.
As crazy as it sounds, the Packers are not that team this year – they weren’t last year. However, during last year’s playoffs (when the current 18-game win streak started), they played half their games inside, and they had a better rushing attack last year than they do this year—last year, the Packers averaged over 100 yards per game on the ground both in the regular season and playoffs.
This year, Green Bay ranks 29th (of 32 teams) and is only averaging 96.5 yards per game—again, in warm months. Comparatively, they have over 300 yards of passing per game, third in the league to the Patriots and the Saints. Football common knowledge dictates this number will go down in winter, when it is harder to move the ball, especially against tougher competition.
It bears noting at this juncture that there are always exceptions to the rule, and that with all the offensive weapons and a defense that has kept them close in every game this season, the Packers might be able to win out and become the first team since the 1972 Dolphins to go undefeated on their way to winning a Super Bowl championship. The statistics, however, seem to go against the Green and Gold on this one. I’m not the first one to say it, I just thought it needed to be said.