The Green Bay Packers were manhandled by the Pittsburgh Steelers offense on Sunday. Some might say the Packers were exposed. I might say the Packers were outcoached.
Scratch that. I would say the Packers were outcoached.
Still, that doesn’t particularly matter at this point. The Packers are 9-5 and, if they beat the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday, will likely find themselves in the playoffs.
The Packers aren’t playing for anything more than a wild card at this point, and statistically speaking it’s not all that bad that they lost a game down the stretch.
If the Packers had beaten the Steelers and run the table, they would have reached the playoffs with an eight-game winning streak. Not that I would consider this a Super Bowl-caliber team, but the Packers would have to win four more games to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, meaning they would be on a 12-game winning streak overall.
Only five teams (11%) in the Super Bowl era have gone on winning streaks of 12 games or greater, including the playoffs, and won the big game. They are New England in 2003 (12 wins), the New York Giants in 1986 (12), the 49ers in 1984 (12), the Raiders in 1976 (13) and the undefeated Miami Dolphins team of 1972 (17).
The odds of winning a Super Bowl with a 12-game winning streak – not that great.
If the Packers adjust, play well and win their last two regular season games, they’ll be going into the playoffs with both the momentum and the odds on their side.
On the other hand, if the Packers end up losing two of their last three, there’s a good bet they’ll be one and done in the playoffs.
For a few other stats that may interest only me, check out Greg Bedard’s column from last week looking at winning streaks and their affect on playoff success.