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Tuesday, December 07, 2004
A view through a wide lens...
by Mark Quarderer
People know their Packers. They watch the games, the replays, listen to the pre-game and post game, read the articles....and they blog. They can tell you what college the 53rd man on the roster went to.....they know who is on the practice squad.....and they can recite ad nauseum every mistake that Mike Sherman has made in the draft since he came to Green Bay.
But how much do they know about the rest of the league? I mean, the league plays 256 games a year. 16 of them are Packer games. Let's assume that somebody actually watched every play of the second half of the double header, the Sunday Night game....and the Monday night game.
That would mean that a total, die-hard, couch potato could watch a total of 4 games/week over a 17 week season....or 68 games. That's 26% of the games in the league. And I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that most of us don't watch even that much.......we watch about half of the non-Packer games that we could. So that means out of the 240 non-Packer games in the season, we probably watch PART of 24 of them....or 10%.
And on that basis, we form our opinions and make our judgements.
By now, some of you are probably wondering what my point is. Be patient....I'm getting there.
Last night, on MNF, Seattle blew a lead and lost to the Dallas Cowboys 43-39. This is the second time this season that Seattle has blown a big fourth quarter lead. And as we all know....Seattle is coached by Man-God Mike Holmgren, and we only have Mike Sherman.
But it wasn't just Seattle and Green Bay who got toasted this week. Buffalo and New England each got 42. Indianapolis got 51. All in all, 10 of the 32 teams that played this week scored 30 or more points....some of them in losses. The MEDIAN offensive output for an NFL team this past week was 26 points. In other words, if you went out and scored 24....you were below average!!!!
Many of you, like me, were raised in an era of 17-13 games, and although those games still occur, they're the exception and not the rule. Last year in the NFL, the winning team had MORE THAN 17 points 84% of the time. This means that if you don't score more than 17, you haven't given yourself a very good chance at winning, and conversely, if you can hold your opponent to 17 or less, you've given yourself a very good chance to win.
So I think we should resist the urge to lambast Sherman & Co. for giving up 44 to Philadelphia. 44 is a lot of points, no doubt, but it wasn't the highest score in the NFL last week, it wasn't Philadelphia's best showing of the season, and it wasn't even our worst showing of the season. BUT IT IS ONLY ONE GAME. The fact remains that of our 12 games this year we've held 8 opponents to 20 points or less and 7 of those opponents scored 17 or less. I think that if you look around the league you'll see that's pretty respectable.
So don't be fooled by a couple of big numbers, or the yardage totals. Look around at what is happening in the league and you'll see the same thing is happening several times each week.....and not just to bad teams. The Ravens are well known for their defense....yet they had a fourth quarter collapse against Cincinnati last week. It doesn't make them a bad defense......it's just the nature of the NFL right now.
The Packers may well rebound from the Philadelphia loss. Of their four remaining opponents, only one...Minnesota...is an offensive powerhouse. It is entirely within the realm of possibility that the Packers will finish the season with 10 wins and will have held 10 opponents to 20 points or less. I think that if at the beginning of the season somebody had told me we'd go 10-6 and hold 10 opponents to twenty points or less, I'd have taken that and been happy.