The Packers are the Chargers of the NFC: a paper tiger that simply can’t translate dominance on the stat sheet into dominance on the scoreboard.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers boasts the best career passer rating in history (98.4) — normally a sure sign of success. Defensively, Clay Matthews was among the league leaders with 13.5 sacks. The Packers ranked No. 2 in scoring defense (15.0 PPG), No. 1 in Defensive Passer Rating and No. 1 in Passer Rating Differential, just ahead of the 14-2 Patriots.
All Green Bay has to show for its statistical dominance is a 10-6 record, the No. 6 seed in the NFC and a road game Sunday at Philadelphia.
Green Bay should be a 13- or 14-win team. But something’s just not clicking in key moments on the field.
Packer fans are only too familiar with that final sentiment.
While the die-hard fan in me wants to argue Bryne’s point, a big part of me fears that its true as it pertains to the offense. Under Mike McCarthy, the Packers have continually stubbed their toes at the worst possible times (goalline fumbles and dropped passes turning into interceptions) and repeatedly played down to the level of their competition (Washington, Miami and the second Detroit game anyone?) all while putting up impressive numbers on offense.
But all the numbers in the world don’t mean a thing if you can’t play your best football when you need to, namely, in the playoffs where things are do or die. In a way, the expectations for this team are out of hand – a good portion of the national media is picking them to win on Sunday, mostly because they see a more talented all-around team.
But when it comes down to the final two minutes and the Packers have to make a play to keep their season alive, the defense had better be on the field. Because when it comes to the offense, apart from the opening game of the 2009 season against the Bears and the last minutes of the game in Atlanta this season, you have pretty much been able to count on them choking away whatever chance at victory the Packers have.
You hear me talking Mike and Aaron? Prove me wrong.