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Lambeau Effect? Ponder, Vikings Struggled Outdoors in 2012

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Lambeau Effect? Ponder, Vikings Struggled Outdoors in 2012

The Green Bay Packers' 2-4 record over the last six home playoff games will be a fact beat to death this week, but here's a record that might have more relevance for Green Bay's NFC Wild Card matchup with the Minnesota Vikings Saturday: 0-4.

In four games outdoors this season, Minnesota does not have a single win. While sites such as Yahoo! and ESPN list the Vikings' 23-6 win over the Texans in Week 16 as "outdoors," Houston had the roof closed at Relient Stadium that day. Technically, the game should be considered indoors.

If fine with counting Houston, the Vikings ended up playing a remarkable 12 games indoors this season. Eight came at the Metrodome (where the Vikings finished 7-1), while road games in Indianapolis, Detroit, St. Louis and Houston were played under the controlled conditions of a roofed stadium. Overall, Minnesota was 10-2 indoors.

When the Vikings had to leave the comfort of such a setting this season, however, Minnesota—and its quarterback—struggled.

In October, the Redskins jumped out to a 31-12 lead over Minnesota and held on to a 38-26 decision. A month later, the Seahawks ran away with a 30-20 win to drop the Vikings to 5-4. In back-to-back weeks to close November and start December, Minnesota was outscored 51-24 by Chicago and Green Bay.

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy didn't put much stock into Minnesota's record outdoors.

"I really don't care about their statistics. I know how we play," McCarthy said. "This is the atmosphere you prefer to play in. Personally, I think football should be played outdoors."

However, the Vikings' inability to win games outdoors can be traced back partly to the stat splits of second-year quarterback Christian Ponder.

In 12 games indoors, Ponder completed over 62 percent of his passes (209/336) for 2,171 yards, 13 touchdowns and just six interceptions. His passer rating was a respectable 86.3.

The numbers dropped significantly outdoors. Without a roof over his head, Ponder completed 91 of 147 passes for 764 yards (191 yards/game), five touchdowns and six interceptions. His passer rating dropped to just 69.6.

Other numbers emerged as reasons for the Vikings' losing ways outdoors:

  • Minnesota had 10 turnovers outdoors but forced just four. In each game, the Vikings lost the turnover battle. The overall turnover differential of minus-six was well off Minnesota's plus-five mark indoors.
  • The Vikings defense allowed 1,477 yards outdoors, or over 369 a game. In 12 indoor games, Minnesota allowed almost 25 less yards a contest. Points allowed were a similar story, as the Vikings gave up nearly 30 a game outdoors. Minnesota stayed under 20 a game indoors.
  • Despite the Packers failing to register a sack of Ponder in Week 13, teams were still able to get to the Vikings quarterback 10 times outdoors this season. Ponder was sacked just 22 times indoors. The difference is almost a sack a game.
  • In the final three games outdoors, teams averaged 37:20 time of possession against the Vikings.
  • Opposing quarterbacks had their way against the Vikings secondary. Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers combined for eight total touchdowns and a passer rating over 105.0.

Four games isn't a large sample size, but the limited results available for the Vikings' 2012 season do point to these potential trends: Ponder plays considerably worse in road games outdoors, the Vikings turn over the football at a higher rate outdoors, an otherwise strong defense becomes merely average without controlled conditions, Ponder isn't protected as well, teams can control the clock and opposing quarterbacks produce efficient, productive stat lines.

The Packers will have to continue a handful of those trends Saturday to help buck their own recent trend of playing poorly at home in the postseason.

"It's a home game. It's Lambeau Field," McCarthy said Tuesday. "That definitely tilts the field towards us."

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (37) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

BeddarCheddar's picture

I remember when Favre was undefeated at home when it was cold outside. That gave me a lot of comfort heading into the playoff game against Atlanta in 2002 or 2003... then Vick ran and threw all over us and stats like this didn't seem to matter anymore. I agree with McCarthy. What matters more is how the teams are playing now. I still think the Packers will win, but I don't put much stock in these numbers, particularly since Ponder and the Vikings are playing better football now than earlier in the season.

Idiot Fan's picture

Totally agree. I also remember 2004/5 when a Viking team in disarray backed into the playoffs, and we were so sure that we would kill them.

I won't feel good about this game until the clock says 00:00 in Q4 and we're ahead.

hayward4president's picture

Yea and I'm pretty sure a good run game is what u want outside....n who has that hmmmmm.

Ruppert's picture

By that logic, the Vikings should never lose outdoors.

Jamie's picture

(drops mic)

cow42's picture

gotta add to that, hayward...

"Yea and I’m pretty sure a good run game is what u want outside...IN THE COLD".

The weather, the slow track, the 50-50 crowd split are just a few of the many factors that are pointing in the Vikings' favor.

as for Ponder - how many of those poor outdoor performances were against teams that he was playing a SECOND TIME? maybe it wasn't the environment... maybe it was going up against good defenses for the first time.

the Vikings have figured out how to attack the packers' defense. this means that the packers are the team that is going to have to change it's game plan. one team has 6 days to completely change it's defensive strategy ... the other team gets to use, essentially, the same game plan that was so successful just a few days back.

John's picture

50/50 crowd split????????? LOL, wont even be close

cow42's picture

remember the Giants game last year?

oh - and i've been to packers/Vikings games @ Lambeau... tons of purple.

Chad Toporski's picture

I have a feeling less Packers season ticket holders will be selling their tickets away, since the next game would be away in San Fran.

But I could be wrong.

2 share owner's picture

I call BS.....

John's picture

so successful???? The Vikqueens barely won

cow42's picture

talkin' about the offense... 37 (could have been 41 if they wanted it to be.

i'd call that damn successful.

Point Packer's picture

Can you take your comments to another site?

Real Packer Fan

Kparis99's picture

Cow42: the packers suck, they will lose, they don't have a chance in hell of winning, I'm a packers fan.

cow42's picture

a person can be a fan of a team and at the same time realize that they're not all that good.

i want the packers to win.

i just don't think they will.

Sara's picture

I agree that stats aren't always the best to go by considering they change constantly, but this isnt talking about completion percentage or just the amount of games won. He's breaking it down to where these games were won. In the SEC the last place teams want to play is LSU at home, because it is so incredibly hard to beat them in Death Valley! The environment, the fans, everything makes it very intimidating! (the team is also usually intimidating but not this year) Lambeau to me is the same as Death Valley. It's very arguable that the Packers have the best fan base in the NFL (craziest goes to the raiders), and they fill the stadium, so that is an intimidation factor plus the fact that it's outside in Wisconsin in January! If Zach was writing that they are undefeated and he HOPES this will be a factor that would be silly but it's not crazy to think that this is a difficult playing field for them. It is for anyone.

cow42's picture

i've been to a LOT of packer games at Lambeau and never once have I walked out after a game thinking "that crowd was INSANE... what a force!"

lotta old people and locals who just yell at you to sit down... like they own the place or something.

Kparis99's picture

That's it.... You insult the Packers fans at Lambeau? Are you f-ing kidding me? You are the one that needs to sit down and shut up. ....Tell me how to block from seeing cow42s comments? Is there a way? There needs to be.

Kparis99's picture

One more thing, THEY DO OWN THE PLACE. idiot.

cow42's picture

not everyone who has a ticket owns a share.

there are a lot of people who agree with me regarding the fans at Lambeau... do they love their team? yes. are they loud and intimidating? not in the least.

Lambeau's dirty, little secret. lots of people are nodding their heads right now. but they would never say it.

the following venues are all more intimidating...

kansas city (when they don't blow)
new orleans

and that's just off the top of my head.

Kparis99's picture

You are a fool.

"lots of people are nodding their heads right now."

Your comments of negativity annoy the heck out of me and a lot of other people who spend their time reading this blog. Most of your points and facts are outlandish assumptions, like a reporter with an agenda.
Your posts are all the same. The Packers suck, they will lose the game. OK now let’s dig for facts and information to support my argument of negativity.

So whenever I read one of your foolish posts, I'll write a foolish post of my own that proves the obvious. You are not a Packers fan, you are a Packers hater. Since I cannot block you, it’s my only path to sanity, sorry

Matt Lambeau's picture

This Border-Battle video says it all. It's a four letter world...

hayward4president's picture

Agree with them using the same game plan. Disagree with the 50 50 way. A lot of vikings fans there sure but it will still be mostly green n yellow in the crowd. Back to the game plan tho, we need to run almost the same D just a little bit more fancy on the blitzes and just TACKLE A.D.E.S........(All Day Except Saturdays).

Ct Sharpe Cheddar's picture

No visiting team gets 50/50 not the Steelers (best travelling fans) not the Pack(*2nd best) In this economy fans can't afford the travel or the extra expence of tickets

PackerBliss's picture

50/50 crowd split? Have you ever been (or even watched) a Packer game. Just another comment that shows the majority of what you say is nonsense. I bet you believe everything Skip Bayless says, maybe he is your source for your so called "facts".

cow42's picture

have you ever been to a packer/Viking game?
I have.
i'm always surprised at the amount of purple in the crowd... and those weren't playoff games.

this economy?
the amount owners can get for their tix?

just wait.

there is no question that when this game is diagnosed on Sunday, everyone will be talking about the number of Vikings fans that showed up... kinda like the Giants game last year.

PackerBliss's picture

Yes I have been to the Packer / Viking game at Lambeau for the past 12 years. Never once seen anything close to a 50/50 split. Maybe your percentages are as skewed as your football insight. A lot of purple? Yes. But you know it is no where near 50/50. You have been wrong so many times before with your post on this sight so it's ok to admit your error in judgement again.

CSS's picture

Not my research, but interesting nonetheless:

"Dome teams are 6-30 SU since 2001 after Week 14 in "cold" areas. They are only 12-23-1 ATS. Dome teams tend to struggle in the cold. The Vikings are 0-4 SU and 0-4 ATS outdoors this year.

From 2002 to 2006, Zero out of 8 dome teams in the data set won in cold weather 20 degrees or below, and only 3 out of 23 (13%) have won in temperatures 30 degrees or below."

PackerBliss's picture

Now this information I find very informative.


FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Neither Ponder or their rookie kicker Walsh have. EVER played in an NFL game in which the temperature was under 40 degrees. Just thought I'd throw that out there.


Evan's picture

I think Walsh said he has never kicked EVER in the cold.

(Speaking of Walsh, his senior year he made only 21 of 35 FGs. Just found that interesting considering the rookie year he's had.)

hayward4president's picture

NFL channel ever :-)

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

The last time the queens won a game in sub-zero temps? 2004... I won't say where.

KurtMc's picture

I call double BS and a knock. 50/50 not even close. 80/20 at best.

C'mon folks. can the secondary have another shi$$y game like last week?

The Vikes D was only helped by MM and poor play calling. Thevreturn on 18 running slot routes, plus a good running game ( go get 'em Harris) means a victory.

in the past, I might have been a Little more worried. not now.

Go Pack!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jack's picture

I can't believe how many tickets are available for this game on the secondary market. I hope some Packer fans show up.

hayward4president's picture

Longest week ever! Cmon Saturday!

Deepsky's picture

I have been to many Packer games. Even at Bears games there are not that many fans compared to the number of Packer fans that travel. The most opponent fans I've ever seen at Lambeau are about 5-10%. The Vikings couldn't even sellout all their games in the Mall dome this year. No way is it anywhere close to 50/50.

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