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Monday, September 26, 2005
The Patriots vs. the Packers, Similarities and Differences
Numbers-wise, the 2005 Patriots don’t look all that much different than the Packers in several categories. The Patriots have committed 29 penalties for 250 yards. The Packers have committed 28 penalties for 206 yards. The Patriots rank 10th in total defense and 18th in scoring defense, while the Packers rank 16th and 15th respectively. The Patriots have just 1 interception on defense. The Packers have 1 interception on defense. The Patriots’ defense has allowed a 3.4 yards per carry rushing average. The Packers’ run defense has held opponents to 3.3 yards per carry. The Patriots have turned the ball over 6 times. The Packers have turned it over 9 times. The Patriots have one of the NFL’s worst ranked running games, with 64 rushing yards a game and 2.5 yards a carry. The Packers have rushed for 79 yards a game and 3.3 yards per carry. The Patriots have run the ball 25.7 times a game. The Packers have run the ball 24 times a game. Corey Dillon has 160 yards rushing through 3 games. Ahman Green has 170.
Those are quite a few similarities. The primary differences can probably be narrowed down to two factors: The Packers have allowed Joey Harrington, Trent Dilfer, and Brian Griese---three mediocre-at-best quarterbacks---to compile a combined 105.8 passer rating in 3 games, while the Patriots have held Collins, Delhomme, and Roethelisberger to a combined 78.3 passer rating.
The other difference is, of course, the performance of the quarterbacks. Yesterday, for example, Brady went 12 for 12 for 168 yards and no interceptions in the 4th quarter against one of the NFL’s best defenses. Favre was 2 for 6 for 10 yards and 2 interceptions in the 4th quarter against one of the NFL’s best defenses. Brady played brilliantly in the first game against the Raiders. The Patriots lost their only game when Brady played poorly in the 4th quarter of the game against the Panthers (8 of 16 for 62 yards and a lost fumble). But that’s what usually happens: Games usually come down to how well or poorly the quarterbacks play. Especially in crunch time.
And it’s been Brady, the AFC’s current passing yards leader, who has made Belichick look like a genius for 4 years now.