Some things, can’t be explained by numbers. They just are that way. Tim Tebow is one example. The Green Bay Packers are another team that defy (some) stats, especially defensive ones. Having Aaron Rodgers, the best quarterback in the league, is one thing. Allowing nearly 400 yards a game is something else, and yet the Packers are 12-0.
The Packers’ Defense allows 21.8 points per game, 16th in the NFL. The wow comes when you look at the yardage they give up – 397.8 yards per game, with only the New England Patriots giving up more, 412.1 per game. Conclusion? When you think about the fact that the Patriots are tied for the AFC lead with a 9-3 record, you figure out that maybe yards aren’t that big of a deal.
Aaron Rodgers said it himself, when being asked a few questions about his team’s ability to win despite the amount of yards the defense gives up each game – Well, the only team that gives up more yardage than us are the Patriots, and I think they’re doing OK. Offenses bring you championships. The defense plays a part, a big part, but I’m one of those who believes you can’t win a Super Bowl without having a good offense.
This defense, despite ranked 31st in the league in yards per game, excels in plenty of other stuff, which might shed some light on numbers that are pushing away from the essence of the Packers’ success. The Green Bay Packers have a risk taking game plan, on both ends of the ball. Their secondary, which gives up over 290 passing yards per game, is built out of ball hawks. And not only the defensive backs are in it for the interceptions.
The Green Bay Packers lead the league in interceptions by a wide margin. With 23, they have six more than the Texans, Patriots and Chiefs. Maybe the amount of turnovers you create has a lot more to do with winning than the amount of yardage your defense gives up. Great players are play makers, and risk have a certain cost. Still, based on belief and confidence in the offense, this allows the Packers to go for the pick every time.
The Packers also lead the league in interception touchdowns with four TD and 421 yards off those picks. Charles Woodson is second in the NFL with six interceptions this season. Kyle Arrington of the New England Patriots leads the league with 7. Again those Partiots.
When the Indianapolis Colts won the Super Bowl after the 2006 season, it came when their defense was ranked in the bottom half of the league in terms of yards per game, allowing an NFL worst 173 rushing yards per game. The popular theory during the regular season was – As long as the Colts don’t find a way to plug those wholes on defense against the run, Peyton Manning won’t get his Super Bowl. Indianapolis were third in the league in points on the board.
It’s pretty simple – when you jump to early leads, the other teams has to pass. A great offense can live without a great defense. Great defenses can win, but they need a decent offense at least. The Chicago Bears, that lost in the Super Bowl that year, were a good example.
Eventually, the number that matters the most is points per game. The Green Bay Packers put 35 points per game on the board. Teams haven’t found an answer to Aaron Rodgers and the receiving core. Their defense doesn’t need to be great all four quarters. Just good enough, be it by creating turnovers or by stops. Aaron Rodgers does the rest.