Packers Performance Against the Average

Dantés

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Thinking about the margin of victory in the Eagles game yesterday, I started to wonder how the Packers tend to perform against the average performance of their opponents. So I decided to look at Green Bay's opponents' average scoring margins and compare them to the margin in the specific contest against the Packers. This perspective helps erase concerns about strength of schedule.

So below are their opponents so far. The first number is the average scoring margin for that team. The second number is the scoring margin in the Packers' contest. The last number is how much the Packers under/over performed the typical margin of the opponent. So if on the season the opponent has a negative average scoring differential, you subtract that from the Packers' margin. If they have a positive, you add it. Here's what we've got so far:
  1. Minnesota Vikings: Average -0.8; Packers +9; +8.2
  2. Detroit Lions: Average -6; Packers +21; +15
  3. New Orleans Saints: Average +8.8; Packers +7; +15.8
  4. Atlanta Falcons: Average +0.8; Packers +14; +14.8
  5. Tampa Bay Bucs: Average +5.3; Packers -28; -22.7
  6. Houston Texans: Average -2.9; Packers +15; +12.1
  7. Minnesota Vikings: Average -0.8; Packers -6; -6.8
  8. San Francisco: Average +0.6; Packers +17; +16.4
  9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Average -8.4; Packers +4; -4.4
  10. Indianapolis Colts: Average +4.6; Packers -3; +1.6
  11. Chicago Bears: Average -3.2; Packers +16; +12.8
  12. Philadelphia Eagles: Average -4.5; Packers +14; +9.5
Total: On the season, the Packers are +72.3 against their opponents' average scoring margin. That is almost exactly +6.0 points per game. In plain terms, this means that on average the Packers have been 6 points better than what their opponents have managed in their other games.

The Packers have problems, and some of those problems could prove fatal in the playoffs. But these data, which essentially bake in a measure against strength of schedule, demonstrate that they are playing way above an average level when compared to the rest of the league.
 

El Guapo

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Very good analysis. It certainly seems to paint a picture about how well the Packers are playing this season.

One of the things that I think is hard to account for in any analysis is the week-to-week strength of a team. The Vikings are a great example. They played like dog poo the first quarter of the season, so we should have destroyed them as we did. Then about the time we played them the second time, they were firing on all cylinders behind the play of Dalvin Cook. Now they are struggling again. You can look at a team using the season averages but it is hard to quantify or appreciate how a team was doing at a specific point in time that a game was played. It's almost like you need a financial statement and a balance sheet version of the analysis to give you both a view across a duration of time (financial statement/season average) and also at a specific point in time (balance sheet/Weeks 1 & 7).
 

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...and, games like a team in the shape the 49ers were when the Pack played them shouldn't count. And, when you say "compared to the rest of the league", what are those numbers (i.e., how do the other good teams score in this metric)?
 

Dantés

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Very good analysis. It certainly seems to paint a picture about how well the Packers are playing this season.

One of the things that I think is hard to account for in any analysis is the week-to-week strength of a team. The Vikings are a great example. They played like dog poo the first quarter of the season, so we should have destroyed them as we did. Then about the time we played them the second time, they were firing on all cylinders behind the play of Dalvin Cook. Now they are struggling again. You can look at a team using the season averages but it is hard to quantify or appreciate how a team was doing at a specific point in time that a game was played. It's almost like you need a financial statement and a balance sheet version of the analysis to give you both a view across a duration of time (financial statement/season average) and also at a specific point in time (balance sheet/Weeks 1 & 7).

Yep-- that's definitely true and nearly impossible to account for.

My sense is that every team will have its fair share of catching opponents at the "right time" and the "wrong time" and so it will all come out in the wash, but that obviously isn't a quantifiable, evidentiary argument.
 

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...and, games like a team in the shape the 49ers were when the Pack played them shouldn't count. And, when you say "compared to the rest of the league", what are those numbers (i.e., how do the other good teams score in this metric)?

The first number is each team's average scoring margin. You take their total points scored on the season, subtract the total points scored against them, and then divide by the number of games played.

So the Packers have scored 379 points this year, and have allowed 299, meaning that they're +80 on the season in scoring margin. Divide that by games played, 12, and they're +6.67 points per game on average.

The Vikings have scored 319 points this year, and have allowed 329, meaning that they'ree -10 on the season. Divide that by 12, and you get -0.83 points per game on average.
 

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In total differential, the Packers are 2nd in the NFC, and 5th in the NFL. Here's the top five:
  1. Steelers: 129 (only 11 games)
  2. Chiefs: 116
  3. Saints: 106
  4. Dolphins: 91
  5. Packers: 80
Here are the worst teams, league wide:
  1. Lions: -72
  2. Broncos: -95
  3. Jaguars: -101
  4. Cowboys: -109
  5. Jets: -173
 

Dantés

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Thanks. #5 I understood, #6 is what I was looking for.

Oh gotchya.

Yeah it would take a long time to crunch all the numbers and see how other teams compare. Maybe I'll look at another really good team, like the Saints, when I have a minute.
 

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I used to nerdily track stats for every Packers game to account for how teams were doing at the point of the season in which we played them. Even that was flawed. Like most things, there is no one way to get a clear picture. One must use multiple metrics to triangulate to a reasonable assumption.
 

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...and, games like a team in the shape the 49ers were when the Pack played them shouldn't count. And, when you say "compared to the rest of the league", what are those numbers (i.e., how do the other good teams score in this metric)?
Wrong.
Can’t penalize the Packers for catching a break in the 49ers game. We played 3 games early in the season with 35% of our roster on the injury list. Gotta be fair if your going to play that silly game. Take away the best and the worst results and get the average of the other ten games.
 

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Here's the Saints for a comparison:
  1. Bucs: +5.3 avg; +11 Saints; +16.3
  2. Raiders: -2.0 ave; -10 Saints; -12.0
  3. Packers: +6.7 avg; -7 Saints; -0.3
  4. Lions: -6 avg; +6 Saints; 0.0
  5. Chargers: -5.7 avg; +3 Saints; -2.7
  6. Panthers: -1.7 avg; +3 Saints; +1.3
  7. Bears: -3.2 avg; +4 Saints; +0.8
  8. Bucs: +5.3 avg +35 Saints; +29.7
  9. 49ers: +0.6 avg; +14 Saints; +13.4
  10. Falcons: +0.8 avg; +15 Saints; +14.2
  11. Broncos: -7.9 avg; +28 Saints; +20.1
  12. Falcons: +0.8 avg; +5 Saints; +4.2
So on the season, the Saints are +85, which is good for +7.0 per contest.

They were totally mediocre over the first half of the season. By the end of week 7, they were a mere +3.4, total, above the average scoring margins. That means they were only exceeding teams' average margins by a half point per game.

But starting in week 8 with the TB game, they've really turned it on. The stats are a little bit skewed in that they include the Denver game. I know every team, including the Packers, gets to catch some teams when they're really down (e.g. the 49ers game). But that week for the Broncos was very unique. When a practice squad WR has to start at QB, it's a little bit more than just a "down week."

If you give the Broncos a real QB that week and the Saints win by, say, 21, instead of 28, then the Packers' and Saints' numbers through 12 games are nearly identical.

Bottom line: the Saints are a little better and, if you adjust for the Broncos game, basically comparable.
 

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Wrong.
Can’t penalize the Packers for catching a break in the 49ers game. We played 3 games early in the season with 35% of our roster on the injury list. Gotta be fair if your going to play that silly game. Take away the best and the worst results and get the average of the other ten games.

If you take away best and worst for the Packers and the Saints, this is what you get:

Packers-- +78.6 overall, +7.9 per game

Saints-- +67.3, +6.7 per game
 

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Chiefs:
  1. Texans: -2.9; +14; 11.1
  2. Chargers: -5.7; +3; 2.7
  3. Ravens: +6.2; +14; 7.8
  4. Patriots: +1.6; +16; 14.4
  5. Raiders: -2.0; -8; 10.0
  6. Bills: +1.5; +9; 7.5
  7. Broncos: -7.9; +27; 19.1
  8. Jets: -14.4; +26; 11.6
  9. Panthers: -1.7; +2; 0.3
  10. Raiders: -2.0; +4; 2.0
  11. Bucs: +5.3; +3; 8.3
  12. Broncos: -7.9; +6; 1.9
So that's a total of +67.5 for the Chiefs on the seasons, or +5.6 points per game.
 

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Chiefs:
  1. Texans: -2.9; +14; 11.1
  2. Chargers: -5.7; +3; 2.7
  3. Ravens: +6.2; +14; 7.8
  4. Patriots: +1.6; +16; 14.4
  5. Raiders: -2.0; -8; 10.0
  6. Bills: +1.5; +9; 7.5
  7. Broncos: -7.9; +27; 19.1
  8. Jets: -14.4; +26; 11.6
  9. Panthers: -1.7; +2; 0.3
  10. Raiders: -2.0; +4; 2.0
  11. Bucs: +5.3; +3; 8.3
  12. Broncos: -7.9; +6; 1.9
So that's a total of +67.5 for the Chiefs on the seasons, or +5.6 points per game.
The Chiefs have shown some serious vulnerability the past few weeks offensively, particularly in the red zone. Of course, Mahomes and that offense is so good that many don't pay attention to it, but there's a blue print to beating them.

Hoping we get our shot in February.
 

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The Chiefs have shown some serious vulnerability the past few weeks offensively, particularly in the red zone. Of course, Mahomes and that offense is so good that many don't pay attention to it, but there's a blue print to beating them.

Hoping we get our shot in February.

Yeah they're interesting. Their peak is absolutely the best in the NFL because of how amazing Mahomes is, combined with that skill talent. So the general perception is that they're just head and shoulders above almost everyone.

However, their actual performance, while very, very good, has not been measurably better than the other top teams.

I think the Steelers, Chiefs, Saints, and Packers are a cut above the rest of the league right now, and we will see if that holds now that we're in the home stretch.
 

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Wrong.
Can’t penalize the Packers for catching a break in the 49ers game. We played 3 games early in the season with 35% of our roster on the injury list. Gotta be fair if your going to play that silly game. Take away the best and the worst results and get the average of the other ten games.

No problem with that. Eliminates the game I wanted out, so we agree, despite your red X. :) What happens to the rest of the ratings when that's applied?
 

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I think the Steelers, Chiefs, Saints, and Packers are a cut above the rest of the league right now, and we will see if that holds now that we're in the home stretch.
Even with the Steelers losing last night, I would think that most sane people would agree with that list. Of course, the end of the season can throw a curveball that threatens the current regime. Some other team will fight its way into the upper echelon. I'm conflicted about whether the Bucaneers will come into shape or run out of energy on the home stretch.
 

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Even with the Steelers losing last night, I would think that most sane people would agree with that list. Of course, the end of the season can throw a curveball that threatens the current regime. Some other team will fight its way into the upper echelon. I'm conflicted about whether the Bucaneers will come into shape or run out of energy on the home stretch.

I have always been skeptical of the Bucs because I think Brady and Arians are a bad marriage, schematically. However, they clearly have the potential to play at a high level because they've shown it. So it's possible.

Other candidates for that top tier:

The Rams are a legit, well-rounded team, but I don't trust Goff in a big spot. That's a key area to have a weakness.

The Seahawks are capable of big offensive showings, but they're too one dimensional for me. The whole team comes down to Wilson playing hero ball. They kind of remind me of the late stage McCarthy Packers.

The Colts, when Buckner is healthy, are a serious contender, but surprisingly, their running game sucks. So they have to put too much of the offense on Rivers' shoulders.

If the Bills' defense rounds into form down the stretch here, I would actually consider them among the elites. They can run, Josh Allen is playing well, they have nice weapons in the passing game... all that's missing has been that defense.
 

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