Friday, January 18, 2013
What did we learn from the Packers' loss?
The Packers' season is over. The career of Donald Driver is almost certainly over. And the Packer career of Greg Jennings is probably over. Cue the sad trombone!
Cheer up, cheeseheads. Not all is lost. If there's a silver lining to be found it's that I can't imagine seeing Erik Walden ever don a Packer jersey again.
Moreover, last year, I posted a monster analysis of the ten most painful Packer losses of the last 25 years. This loss isn't anywhere near that list. This loss probably isn't even the most painful loss of the season. (Thanks, replacement refs!)
We all hoped the Packers had a Super Bowl run in them this year, and maybe it was possible. But let's face it: the ineffectiveness and injuries of key players on the offensive line and the front seven made another title a little unrealistic. So let's enjoy this season for what it was--a year that brought us a second straight division title, a fourth straight playoff appearance, a sweep of the Bears, double digit victories and a playoff win over the Vikings. I'll take it.
Hey, So How'd Your Prediction Pan Out?
I'm glad you asked. Let's break it down by looking at some of the claims I made.
1. The Packers found their identity and will be more prepared to play San Francisco than they were in Week 1. It's somewhat difficult to discuss the offensive game plan because the Packers seem to have abandoned it after turnovers and the defense put them in a multiple score hole after halftime. They did seem to be clicking in the first half and early second half, however.
As for the other side of the ball, Dom Capers' defensive game plan appears to have been "Hope." It turns out hope is about as good of a plan for running a defense as it is for running the country.
2. Regression to the mean could lead to Kaepernick turnovers and boost Green Bay's chances.
I was really feeling like a genius about four minutes into this one. But a funny thing happened after Sam Shields returned an interception for the 49ers: San Francisco's ground game was so strong that it didn't need to take a lot of chances through the air. Furthermore, when the quarterback's rushing attempts ended either in a touchdown or an easy stroll out of bounds after a 10-20 yard pickup, he's not too likely to fumble.
3. Green Bay's (and in particular, Erik Walden's) struggles to contain the outside run will be problematic against Kaepernick and the read option.
With regards to this prediction, I have never been so right about anything in my entire life.
4. Compensating against the read option, San Francisco will be able to exploit man coverage and connect on some deep passes.
Yeah, this happened too.
5. The Packers offensive line will not be able to stop the 49ers front seven.
I'm not quite sure how to evaluate this prediction or that Packers offense in general. Much has been made of the Packers getting dominated in time of possession. But much of that took place in a first half where the Packers scored a defensive touchdown and gave away an entire possession on a muffed punt. That will lead to a disparity. In any case, the Rodgers was only sacked once. But he was under pressure at times, and the offense just couldn't sync up in the second half.
So I predicted 27-17 and we got 45-31. I think my prediction was fairly accurate. You'll tend to miss the over/under when one team racks up 300 yards of rushing.
Labels: Green Bay Packers