Many of you, like me, probably don’t watch a lot of NFL football other than Green Bay Packers’ games. But you’ll likely be watching Sunday’s game – and most agree, it will feature the NFL’s two best teams.
So, it’s a good opportunity to compare and contrast – to see how the top teams play versus how the Packers played this past year (and generally in recent years, too). Below are some items that might make for good comparisons, and might give us a clue why these two team are better than Green Bay and the rest of the NFL.
I’m nerdy enough that I just might keep a scorecard, and report back post game, on what these teams did better, and not as well, as the Packers.
Is there a balance of pass and run plays (at least 40 percent running plays)?
Are the receivers routinely getting open or creating enough space that the QBs are quickly and confidently throwing to the play’s primary or secondary targets, not being forced to scramble or throw the ball away?
Do several offensive plays feature misdirection or an element of trickery (end arounds, reverses, etc.)?
On play-action passes, are the QBs committed to selling those fake handoffs so it’s at least momentarily difficult to tell who has the ball?
Are a number of play calls unexpected, especially given down and distance?
How disciplined and focused are the offensive players? Are they committing false starts, lining up in illegal formations, running the wrong play, etc.?
Are two-minute type drives at the end of each half well organized, whether or not successful?
Are receivers repeatedly dropping passes?
Are those handling the ball protecting it and avoiding fumbles?
Are running backs being made an integral part of the passing attack?
Are the tight ends being properly utilized in the passing game?
Are the plays being called on third or fourth downs ones that the offense has high confidence will be successful?
Is a hurry-up offense being frequently deployed, and if so, are they productive?
Are defenders frequently using bump and run tactics to contest receivers at the line of scrimmage, throw them off their routes, and disrupt the timing of plays?
Are defenders tightly guarding receivers (especially on short pass routes), or are they laying back and playing soft?
Do DBs and/or LBs seem noticeably faster/quicker than their Packers’ counterparts?
How well do defenders disguise their pass rushing and blitz schemes? Are they stunting and trying to confuse the QB and offensive line on nearly every play?
How often does “miscommunication” happen among pass defenders? Is “busted coverage” often allowing receivers to go uncovered and have running room after the catch?
Do players look to make turnovers by trying to punch the ball out, by linemen deflecting passes, by occasionally jumping a pass route, etc.?
Are the play calls being made quickly from the sidelines or are we seeing rushed plays, delay-of-game penalties or timeouts used to prevent such penalties?
Are substitutions promptly made by both the offense and the defense? Are there ever too many or too few players on the field or other signs of confusion?
Do the players commit stupid or hot-headed penalties, such as lining up offsides, taunting, unnecessary roughness, unsportsmanlike conduct after a play is over, etc.?
Are all three units – offense, defense, and special teams – playing fully energized and all out, every play – and are substitutions being made as needed to prevent fatigue?
Are the punters and kickers consistently avoiding shanks, kicks going sideways, blocked or nearly blocked kicks, or punts going into the end zone?
Did these teams simply appear to have better players than the Packers? More talented, more athletic, more experienced, faster, more inspired, better trained, more in-shape, greater endurance, a deeper roster?
I gotta say Rob, for a lot of Packer fans in here, readers or writers, i could not agree more with you on your first 2 paragraphs. But in the future, don’t just limit yourselves to one game.
It is never too late to learn.
Do we really have to watch the game to answer your last 2 questions?
Pretty sure I already know the answers to most of the questions for how they will apply to Sunday’s game. I didn’t record the Packers / Titans game from last November, but I believe that all the Packers problems described so eloquently by Rob were put on display in that game. The only play in the whole game that was done right was the opening kickoff and in reality that was a one player play. Again, this is based solely on an old guys fading memory, but I am confident that at least 3/4 of Rob’s points above would be checked off for that game. After that November performance, it was truly amazing that essentially the same team went to Dallas and won a playoff game!
When keeping the scorecard it may be of interest to Packer fans as to how many good or bad plays are being made by free agent, waiver wire, or traded players acquired before the season or in season by both teams.
I think i’ll just enjoy the game, instead of trying to overanalyze the shit out of it. And at the end of the day wouldn’t mean shit anyway.
I know what the Packer are, their weak, points, strong points, without watching a Patriots/ Falcons game.
The Packers problems can be answered by better coaching. it starts with McCARTHY who is a fat head with no imagination, continues with Capers who doesn’t teach his players that tackling involves grabbing the player sought to be tackled by the legs, and finally, the Playcalling which is boring, predictable, and terrible. This team is and has been one of the biggest wastes of talent in the NFL since McCARTHY came aboard. If they ever have a down year in talent, they will be so bad as to be unwatchable.
….in other words, if Rodgers is hurt and not playing.
I`m from Rhode Island and I happen to be a Packers fan(for over 50 yrs. I have Patriot fans all around me every day and have to hear about how they are the greatest of all time and Brady this and that. I`m also tired how “everyone can learn from them” because they`re so much above every other team/franchise! Atlanta blew this game! You`re ahead 28-3 and you fail to score again with the No.1 offense in the NFL. i don`t care who you are playing if you are ahead 28-3 you should win the game. The Packers need a top level defense and then they will be close to the Patriots. They don`t have to learnom them. They need to decide are we just going to be good enough to make the playoffs or are we going to go “all in” as Aaron Rodgers said and build a team that taeon anyone at any time.