Most people agree that examining the overall regular season stats of the Green Bay Packers and the Atlanta Falcons says little about how the two teams will match up when they take the field on Sunday. The same holds true for trying to compare the two teams based on their week 8 head-to-head contest, as many of the stars on each team either weren’t playing then but now are, or vice versa.
Aaron Rodgers certainly is playing on a whole different level now than he was back then.
Instead, let me throw out a few numbers concerning how the two teams have performed over their last eight games (counting the playoffs).
On the offensive side, here are the yardage averages, and points scored, for the teams over each’s last eight games:
- Packers: 107 rushing, 278 passing, 385 total, 32.1 ppg
- Falcons: 125 (*107) rushing, 276 passing, 401 (*380) total, 33.9 (*32.9) ppg
On the defensive side, here are the yards allowed averages, and points allowed, over that same time span:
- Packers: 101 rushing, 280 passing, 381 total, 18.2 ppg
- Falcons: 119 rushing, 223 passing, 352 (*364) total, 19.6 ppg
What the Statistics Suggest
The two teams are pretty evenly matched.
The Falcons have scored about two points more per game, but they have given up about 1.5 more points per game.
The Falcons have rushed for about 17 more yards per game, but they have also given up about 20 more yards per game than the Packers.
The teams are nearly even in passing yardage, 278 to 276.
In passing yardage given up, the Falcons are clearly the better defenders, as Green Bay has yielded 280 yards per game, versus only 223 for Atlanta.
As to total yardage, the Falcons have gained about 17 more yards per game, and the Packers have given up 29 more yards per game.
These numbers suggest that the Falcons have a discernible advantage overall, the major difference being that they have a substantially better pass defense.
I have one major caveat to this statistical analysis, however. The Falcons-49ers game of December 18 skews the stats. San Francisco played so poorly and lethargically in that game that the Falcons had a 550 to 272 total yardage advantage.
If you exclude that farce of a game, the Falcons’ average total yardage drops from 401 to 380 (five fewer than Green Bay’s), the average rushing yardage drops from 125 to 107 (the same as the Packers), and the average total yardage yielded by the Falcons’ defense jumps to 364. This would also change Atlanta’s scoring average to 32.9 points per game, within one point of Green Bay’s average score. These changes are marked with an * above.
It’s old news, but defensive coordinator Dom Capers needs to find a way to cut down on that average of 280 yards given up through the air. The team failed to do so against Dallas, which gained 326 yards via the pass last Sunday.