San Francisco 49ers 11-7 @ Green Bay Packers 13-4 -5 47.5 GW [O]
Sometimes we need to be careful when it comes to looking at teams’ past performances. The NFL is designed to create thirty-two 8-8 teams. (Given the 17 game schedule add another victory or loss.)
A reverse draft order, adjusted schedules based on division standings, a salary cap and floor; controlled free-agency and trading of players, and first-round salary slotting makes it impossible to sustain a “great” team’s success.
Do you remember the talk of an Eagles “dynasty” after their Super Bowl win a few years ago? Wasn’t the Legion of Boom supposed to dominate for a decade? Look at Aaron Rodgers—an idiot when it comes to science and epidemiology--but easily one of the top five QBs in NFL history. How many Super Bowls has he won?
Unless a future HOFer like Mahomes falls into your draft slot and you can immediate divert resources to compliment his talent---because you control his financial hit to your cap for five years—it is virtually imposible to sustain elite status in the NFL beyond 2-3 years.
Unless you cheat…
As a side note, I don’t get after the evidence is reviewed, how you get from, ‘Belichick is an obsessive, proven cheater…’ to ‘Belichick is the greatest coach of all time…’
But that is a rant for another day…
Back to the Game
This week I think it’s instructive to look at Green Bay’s record. The first striking pattern we see is the Packers 13-4 record is no joke; their only bad loss was to the Lions in Week 18 when GB rested their best players.
The second pattern that pops out: against teams with an 8-9 record or better—the Pack had the third toughest schedule—Green Bay posted a stellar 8-3 record.
Even more striking was the tight margin of victory in those quality wins. Excepting an eight point win against the Rams, a ten point win against the struggling Steelers and a four touchdown shellacking of the Norsemen—also one of their quality losses—the combined MOV in their remaining quality win was 11 points.
A quick look at the Niners side of the same ledger shows a slow 3-5 start, then only two losses—Seattle and Tennessee—in their last ten games. They have convincingly won their last two road games against playoff teams.
This tells me Green Bay doesn’t dominate anyone, but knows how to win the close ones—so do the Gold Miners
Matchup stats clearly reveal San Fran fields a superior defense:
· 3rd in Opp. YPG
· 4th in Opp. YPP
· 6th in Opp. Rushing YPG
· 7th in Opp. YPR
· 6th in Passing Yards given up per game
· 9th in Opp. Yards/Pass 3rd in Sack%
On offense The Niners are #1 in YPP--a phenomenal 8.2 --and first in YPP Differential play—a benchmark stat—at one full yard...Green Bay's differential is less than half, at .4/yard.
Green Bay is best at protecting the ball and averages 1.5 take away per game—and they have Aaron Rogers.
This is our GOW because it will be close—probably an Overtime affair.
We’ll take San Francisco and the 5 five points; we bet the Over.