The Key to Beating Dallas? The O-line

It won't be easy, but the data shows what's possible.

So, you look at all the numbers and you can’t help but wonder how Green Bay stands a chance against Dallas. Hot take: It can happen, but the outcome rests on the shoulders of the Packers’ offensive line. Allow me to explain with a quick trip from Title Town to Nerdville. 

For geeky NFL fans, the best thing about stats is how many of them there are. It’s also the worst thing. The treasure chest of numbers is so large that finding the real gems amidst all the costume jewelry can be a tedious slog. And if you mix and match enough of them a certain way,  you can make any outfit look good. 

This is why I focus mostly on models that assemble, blend and adjust for the noise of myriad individual data points, which constantly get thrown around with little thought, like Zach Wilson passes. The best of these models, in the view of many, is DVOA. It smoothes out the variables and accounts for context and situations that can skew individual data points. For example, not all three-yard runs are created equal: the quality of the opposing defense matters, as does the situation. A three-yard run when it’s third and three is more valuable than on first and 10. And so on. Rushing yards gained, therefore, is by itself not necessarily a useful metric; numerous other factors play a role in how to measure run-game success and its impact on the outcome. 

(Speaking of significant stats in the modern era, the record of cat teams (Lions, Panthers, etc.) vs. bird teams (Ravens, Cardinals etc.) now stands at 227-222-10 in favor of birds. This runs so counter to the laws of nature that Aaron Rodgers is urging everyone to look into it.)

What does the vast universe of data tell us about Sunday’s game in Dallas, and how the Packers might upset their old coach and his Cowboys? Let’s first look at a couple of individual metrics, beyond the obvious win-loss totals, that might or might not prove relevant:

— The Cowboys went undefeated at home this year, and only lost once there last year. Oh, and Dak Prescott’s passer rating at home this year was 120. 

— Dallas’s point differential this season was +194. Green Bay’s was +33. 

— Their field goal kicker never misses. 

No bueno, right? Packers fans certainly can’t deny that home-field advantage is a thing, but consider that the Cowboys’ strength of schedule at home this year was vastly inferior to its schedule on the road. Even the good teams that Dallas played at home, the Lions and Eagles, have less than stellar defenses. 

Meanwhile, while there is no question that Dallas has high-powered units on both sides of the ball, point differential can be skewed by outlier games with lopsided scores. 

The point is that Dallas is unquestionably a better team overall, but these kinds of stats offer little help in developing a game plan. 

Diving deeper, we know that Dallas has one of the best defenses in the league, ranking 5th in DVOA overall, and also 5th in defending both run and pass. (The Packers are among the worst teams overall in these categories, as we know all too well.)

But Dallas’ defense is not as consistent as it might seem. The Cowboys rank 20th in DVOA variance, meaning that from week to week their defensive performance varies considerably more than their overall rankings would suggest. (Shutdown defensive performances in several weeks, followed by getting whacked by some good teams, can account for this.) 

Dallas has the best pass rush in the league, owing largely to Micah Parsons, per ESPN analytics. But if one looks at the games that the Cowboys lost, their sack totals were below their season average of nearly three per game. Arizona, for example allowed only two sacks in beating Dallas, while Buffalo, San Francisco and Miami gave up only one each. That may seem like a small difference, but it isn’t. 

Even more striking is that the Cowboys’ run-stopping win rate, per ESPN again, ranks 27th. Dan Quinn’s defense sells out to disrupt the quarterback. It certainly has been successful overall, but not all the time, and it hasn’t been as strong of late. In fact, over the last three games, the Cowboys’ average sacks per game has dropped from 2.7 to 2.

Given its powerful offense, it is safe to assume that Dallas will get its points, if not close to its league-leading average of 29.9 per game. But as the data shows, its defense has some holes that can be exploited, giving Jordan Love and company a chance to keep up. And so the formula for an upset looks like this:

      1. The offensive line must control the game. The improvement in the second half of the season has been noticeable, particularly LT Rasheed Walker, who now ranks second in the entire league in pass rush win rate. (If a 2022 seventh rounder becomes the logical replacement for David Bakhtiari, Walker could end up being the draft steal of the century.) Keeping Love clean has been a big key to Green Bay’s late-season push, and it will be essential to the Packers’ offense on Sunday. 

      2. The O-line is clearly better at pass pro than run blocking, but the last two games have demonstrated what happens when Aaron Jones gains 100+ yards. Another strong game running the ball will help keep the Dallas pass rush at bay and the Dallas offense off the field. The O-line is vital to this as well. 

      3. Green Bay’s defense just has to continue its recent level of play. The Packers’ D has gone from an average sack rate of 2.6 per game over the first 14 games to 3.0 over the past three. Dallas’ running game is not nearly as strong as its passing prowess. If the Packers can disrupt Prescott enough it will give Joe Barry permission to do whatever it takes to take away Cee Dee Lamb and Brandin Cooks. Watch out for a steady diet of Jake Ferguson over the middle and Tony Pollard out of the backfield. Quay Walker and Keisean Nixon will have their hands full. 

None of this will be easy, but it’s possible. The game could then turn on intangibles, like turnovers and special teams, neither of which are in the Packers’ favor. Or the refs. On the other hand, Mike McCarthy’s game-management skills are questionable at best. 

It should be a helluva game. GPG.

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__________________________
Jonathan Krim grew up in New York but got hooked on the Packers — and on hating the Cowboys — watching the Ice Bowl as a young child.  He blames bouts of unhappiness in his late teens on Dan Devine. A journalist for several decades who now lives in California, he enjoys trafficking in obscure cultural references, lame dad jokes and occasionally preposterous takes. Jonathan is a Packers shareholder, and insists on kraut with his brats. You can follow Jonathan on twitter at @Jkrim.

__________________________

10 points
 

Comments (65)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Cheezehead72's picture

January 12, 2024 at 06:30 am

Good article and informative but most games if not almost all depend on the play of the OL and DL mostly.

Yes the OL has to play well. Dallas will get pressure with 4 and 5 rushers and Love is not as effective when under pressure as he is when not under pressure. The Packers must run the ball to keep Dallas' offense off the field and the score to be close. If the score is close they have a chance. If Dallas gets out to a two TD lead the Packers probably will not win.

One thing going for us is Dak tends to hold onto the ball so if our rush gets to him they can get a sack or hurry the throw if they play smart.

The only way the Packers win is to la it all on the line and do anything they can to win while playing smart football with very few penalites.

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Razer's picture

January 12, 2024 at 07:45 am

...but most games if not almost all depend on the play of the OL and DL mostly...

Amen. If our O-line plays well this will be a shootout. Love with Jones and protection will score - repeatedly. On defense, a D-line repeat of the Bears game is all we are asking.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

January 12, 2024 at 06:59 pm

Everybody talks about the defensive performance against the Bears, but what about in KC? It looked like every GB lineman was just determined to win their 1 on 1 matchups, and then went out and DID it! More games like that will silence all talk about the Packets supposedly being "soft."

GPG!

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ricky's picture

January 12, 2024 at 10:18 am

Against five or more pass-rushers this season, Love had completed 80 of 130 passes for 859 yards, 479 air yards, six touchdowns, one interception, and a passer rating of 93.1.
This is from PackerWire. His overall pass rating for this year is 96.4. So, yes, there is a slight drop off when he is blitzed, but it's not a huge difference.

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Cheezehead72's picture

January 12, 2024 at 10:35 am

Numbers on clean pocket: 302-444, 3,305 yards, 28 TD, 9 INT, 102.36 rating
Numbers when hurried/hit: 72-137, 858 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT, 75.6 rating

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

January 12, 2024 at 07:02 pm

That's a 68% completion rate vs 52.

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murf7777's picture

January 13, 2024 at 08:35 am

I think it’s fair to say, no QB does well when hurried or hit. What’s impressive is that Love does very good with 5 or more rushers. Let’s hope the line beats Dallas when rushing only 4, making them have to blitz!

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10ve 💚's picture

January 12, 2024 at 10:47 am

"Dallas will get pressure with 4 and 5 rushers and Love is not as effective when under pressure as he is when not under pressure."

Hmmm.... just curious... is there ANY QB who is better under pressure than when not under pressure?

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jlc1's picture

January 12, 2024 at 11:57 am

Yep, the LOS is certainly where seasons are won and lost and all but a few outlier games. It's really not as complicated as we like to make it seem with our endless chatter.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 12, 2024 at 03:25 pm

Big Plays win Playoff Games. Get the strip sack; get the fumble recovery; get the INT and swarm the guy with the ball. Create trouble. Be one step faster than Dallas. Attack them, don't get caught flat-footed.

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T7Steve's picture

January 12, 2024 at 06:50 am

Jonathan! Your article is well written, very interesting and informative. Some of the stats were unreal they were so fantastic.

The title kind of put me off though. Kind of like the cat calling the kettle black.

The OBVIOUS key to beating any team, especially in the NFL, is in the trenches. I see Cheezhead72 above beat me to it though.

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Razer's picture

January 12, 2024 at 07:57 am

...Jonathan! Your article is well written, very interesting and informative...

I enjoy Jonathan's articles as much as our fearless leader's Polluted Mindset. He is perhaps the most talented and entertaining contributor to the CHTV group.

...myriad individual data points, which constantly get thrown around with little thought, like Zach Wilson passes...

Now that he said it - it makes perfect sense. And like Jonathan, I too share a disdain for the Cowboys.

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LambeauPlain's picture

January 12, 2024 at 08:26 am

Agree. I spend as much time watching the trenches during games as the ball. The O and D lines are the foundations to building a football team. Build it on sand, and it will crumble when confronted with unexpected storms. Build it on solid rock, and it can weather the storm.

I believe the OL can handle the weather report in Dallas. The DL has the talent to do so, but is the storm preparation the correct action plan?

I have believed all year the DL has the foundation to play 3 men early and often as it has excellent starters (Clark, Slayton, Wyatt) and quality depth (Brooks, Wooden).

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HawkPacker's picture

January 12, 2024 at 06:58 am

Very good article Jonathan. I agree that the key is in the trenches on both sides of the ball.

As I have mentioned before, we are playing on house money and I just want to sit back and watch and enjoy. I am not thinking of them winning or losing but just want to be entertained by those surprising youngsters. Hopefully the coaching is great for this game. Both in the planning and in game as well.

I hope it is a fun game to watch and of course I want us to win. However, if I expect them to win and they don't, I just don't handle that in the best way so my thought process is to just sit back and enjoy!

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T7Steve's picture

January 12, 2024 at 08:01 am

Enjoy the game and no injuries. To either side. Let the winner of this game go to the next one as healthy as possible.

Don't want injuries or refs deciding the game. I'm a homer and will shade to a couple good or no calls in the Packers favor if they're involved at all. LOL!

GPG!

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

January 12, 2024 at 07:09 pm

I'd like to see GB play well. If they really do that for 60 minutes I think they can compete with all but a few teams as long as the coaches scheme things well. I do have to expect staff will be at their best for this Sunday. There's a lot of variables with how many players are at the top of their game even if they're cleared to play. Depth may really matter ...

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

January 12, 2024 at 07:03 am

The OL being the key to beating the Cowboys has been my thought since the Packers spanked the Bears. Keep Love clean and open the running lanes and the Packers can keep up with the Cowboys 🤠.

Come draft time a high percentage of fans want WR's and skilled players but come playoff time we have learned repeatedly for the past 30 years the team who dominates in the trenches usually win.

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Razer's picture

January 12, 2024 at 08:22 am

Thumbs way up to everything you said. Keep Love clean, control that LOS and open lanes makes everything possible. On defense, controlling the trench and collapsing the pocket minimizes the Dallas weapons. As the Mandalorian said "this is the way".

Like you, I want the investment in the trench players. Give me a Tonka truck and road grader and I'll build a city where the shiny WR toys can play. But I will take a new stud RB in the next draft. A little too thin for my liking.

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Boneman's picture

January 12, 2024 at 07:04 am

I love these 'keys to the game' takes. Some analysts (Andy Herman) go so far as to list up to 10 or 12 "keys"! To me it is very simple, compete and believe. Concentrate on your job every play and play with energy and violence, but with smarts too. Every player, all game. It doesn't matter if the line plays well but the receivers drop the ball or the running back fumbles. The team needs to play well in as many phases and at as many positions as possible. Your best players need to show up (sorry ARod of last few years). If this happens the Packers will compete and give themselves a chance to win. Can't wait, GPG!

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T7Steve's picture

January 12, 2024 at 08:06 am

"Every player, all game. It doesn't matter if the line plays well but the receivers drop the ball or the running back fumbles."

There are drops and mistakes every game. If you win in the trenches and force your will on the other team, you can overcome those mistakes. If not, you can't even win without mistakes.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

January 12, 2024 at 07:15 pm

I've been enjoying seeing the Packers make a LOT fewer mistakes in recent games :)

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Boneman's picture

January 13, 2024 at 04:25 am

This rarely happens in playoffs when you play only good teams. Sometimes you can "force your will" on other teams in the trenches but 90% of the time you battle to win enough times to make a difference.

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GregC's picture

January 12, 2024 at 07:24 am

The problem I have with "advanced" stats like DVOA is that I don't trust how the raw stats are being weighed against each other to come up with the final number. Yes, a 3-yard run on 3rd and 2 is more valuable than a 3-yard run on 1st and 10, but how MUCH more valuable? Twice as valuable? Ten times as valuable? It would take a fair amount of research to understand all of the variables and how they are weighted and then to decide whether or not one agrees with it. I would rather look at the raw numbers and come to my own conclusions. For example, a running back who has a low yards-per-carry average is more valuable if he has a lot of TDs and first downs. It's relatively easy to look at the raw numbers and get a good idea of the value of players as well as a team's performance.

Small sample sizes are another issue. How significant is it that over the last three games the Cowboys' average number of sacks has dropped from 2.7 to 2? All it means is that the Cowboys got 6 sacks in those three games instead of 8. And for the Packers defense to go from 2.6 sacks per game to 3.0 during that same span means that they got 9 sacks instead of 8. This is chicken feed.

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Cheezehead72's picture

January 12, 2024 at 07:36 am

I get what you are saying.

As they say 80% of stats are made up.

I would trust DVOA as possibly the best measure of a team without looking at the raw data. Yes you can study the raw data and some teams if not all probably do that but most people do not have the time to do it. The DVOA is derived from the same data you will be looking at and then more than you can digest.

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GregC's picture

January 12, 2024 at 08:54 am

It doesn't take long to look up the raw data. It is usually all on one page. Points, yards, and turnovers will tell you most of the story about the efficiency of an offense or defense. Rushing yards and passing yards are big too--raw totals as well as averages per play. When you get into stuff like 3rd down conversion rate, you are kind of moving into details, because teams that convert their 3rd downs are almost certainly going to gain more yards and score more points anyway, plus there are some offenses that move the ball so well that they face fewer 3rd downs than other teams do, in which case 3rd down conversion rate is less significant for them.

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dobber's picture

January 12, 2024 at 09:14 am

Like baseball, there are plenty of plays and bits and pieces to draw from to build these stats.

Unlike baseball--which is primarily a one-on-one game played in a team format--football is based on 22 players on the field who are utilized in different ways to do things that change wildly from game-to-game, possession-to-possession, and even snap-to-snap. These weird aggregated stats don't mean an awful lot, and the process of building them is always prejudicial in some way.

A pitcher throwing to a hitter might be impacted by number of outs, number of men on base, etc., but is still largely the same fundamental interactions. The whole "3 true outcomes" is a fabrication of out-of-control analytics, and it has been allowed to ruin baseball. Thank heaven they started outlawing the shift (which makes baserunning and situational hitting more important). Unfortunately, there are whole minor league systems populated with 3-outcomes prospects while toolsy, multi-talented players are less valued.

There's an outside chance we might wrestle strategy back from the analysts in MLB. Otherwise--even with the pitch clock--I can get as much from reading a box score as I do from watching an MLB game. Dull as watching grass grow.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 12, 2024 at 09:30 am

I agree with you Greg. About 20-25 years ago, I fell in love with DVOA and all of these other "calculated metrics". They're useful tools, I guess, but the bottom line is points. That's how the game is scored, that's how you determine the winner and losers.

Coldhardfootballfacts use to have a thing called "Lord Of All Stats" that they claimed had a higher correlation to victory than any other stat. It was your QBs passer rating minus your opposing QB passer rating. The team(s) that had the highest margin won an astounding percentage.,

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LambeauPlain's picture

January 12, 2024 at 09:58 am

That's an interesting correlation. Makes sense.

Turnover differential is also indicative. Of the 8 teams with double digit plus turnover differential., 6 are in the playoffs.

Of the 15 teams with a minus turnover differential, only 4 are in the playoffs.

Packers are even at 0 differential. Cowboys are +11.

Yet the lies, damned lies and statistics meme is here too: Giants lead the NFL at +12. And the Chiefs and Eagles are second worse at -11. (Browns are -9)

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GregC's picture

January 12, 2024 at 11:48 am

I remember about 10-15 years ago, somebody figured out that the team with the best defensive passer rating (in other words, the team that held opposing QBs to the lowest passer rating) during the season ALWAYS won the Super Bowl. This seemed pretty remarkable at the time. While one would expect there to be a strong correlation, this one was rock solid. I think the correlation did not happen the very next year though. It was a reverse engineered statistical correlation. If you look at enough stats, you can often find those kinds of correlations. But they don't really have any predictive value.

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Razer's picture

January 12, 2024 at 08:10 am

All facets of our team (minus Special Teams) are pointed up as we finished the season. These wins came against two teams that are worse than us but we did perform well. If we have a good plan and execute according to plan there is no reason we can't go toe-to-toe.

So as much as it rests on the players to have their heads straight this is about our coaches and what they put together as a game plan. Putting guys in a position to win is now on evidence for this team. Watching Joe Barry start with a 5 man front against the Bears was beyond my wildest dream. Keep it up Joe. Matt Lafleur has demonstrated that he is a head coach. We have watched him get out planned and out coached numerous times in the Rodgers years but this year he is becoming the MAN. Beating Dallas at home would be the definition of arriving - at least until we face the 49ers at home next week.

Go Packers.

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LambeauPlain's picture

January 12, 2024 at 09:05 am

I believe, base on this year's body of work, ML has finally been able to implement his vision of Illusion of Complexity Offense and it is most effective with a potent, chain moving run game.

He ran some IOL in 2019, but the learning curve was stunted due to the competing vision of Rodgers' insistence on chunk play perimeter passing...which he audibled into (mostly to Adams) more and more frequently.

Now the Offense is consistently following the script as Love quickly expands his knowledge and options WITHIN the IOC. It's working.

I still have doubts ML is an effective HC. He is showing to be a very good OC this season. However, he mostly delegates coaching responsibilities on D and STs.

As a HC he is very status quo in personnel management and hands off on D and STs. He is more OC and less a HC.

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Coldworld's picture

January 12, 2024 at 08:14 am

There’s a common theme in the Cowboys losses. Each time it’s been in a game where the opponent has established and sustained a successful run game.

When that happens it blunts both their rush and prevents the secondary being so aggressive. That’s the key to balancing this imbalance.

8 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 12, 2024 at 08:36 am

Throw metrics out the window. It's impossible to quantify what a playoff game means to a young team. Will it shake them, cause them to misfire? We know Dak Prescott historically has big game problems. I'd say observationally that Jordan Love looks as though he's got ambient music piped through his helmet headset during a game. He just looks so unflappable, a zen master. It's uncanny, similar to Eli Manning who always seemed like he was slinging it in his back yard.

4 points
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TXCHEESE's picture

January 12, 2024 at 08:42 am

You're spot on with the Love observation. He looks more like he's about to putt, than take a snap on third and eight.

3 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

January 12, 2024 at 09:12 am

I believe this too, CW. And the IOC is built on establishing the run game and passing out of similar formations and play action/motion.

And an effective, established run game not only does what you say to get Dallas off balance, it also keeps the Packers D off the field. Long chain moving, clock chewing, scoring drives is also the best Defense for the Packers vs the boys.

And best of all, it will get McCarthy off script. That is when he will be at his best for the Packers!

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LLCHESTY's picture

January 12, 2024 at 12:37 pm

I was surprised to hear they allowed over 200 yards rushing twice this year and even more surprised to see the 49ers game wasn't one of those. Against the Cardinals the QB had 55 yards but against they Bills they simply got steamrolled to 266 yards on the ground and +10 minutes in TOP.

The 49ers game was interesting because they held McCaffrey to a 2.7 yards average but still gave up 170 yards and a 4.1 yard average overall. I think that's the game the Packers should look at, if the Cowboys do a good job of bottling Jones up early get creative with some runs by Reed or Melton.

Watching Wahle's preview yesterday he pointed out they play with 6 in the box and their dime LB weighs 205 lbs. LaFleur can't be afraid to call a run for 4 or 5 easy yards when they lineup like that.

3 points
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White92's picture

January 12, 2024 at 08:19 am

Nice article. I love the cats vs birds stats. You can't get that anywhere else.

I'm hoping for an upset, but as bad as Mac is at clock management, MLFs in game decisions are just as bad.

4 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 12, 2024 at 08:26 am

Jonathan,

Your writing is consistently the most readable, informative and entertaining on the site. Well done again.

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Jonathan.Krim's picture

January 12, 2024 at 01:18 pm

Much appreciated.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 12, 2024 at 08:28 am

I read the first line and immediately thought about what I posted the other day on Confessions. So I figured I'd share what I said there. This is the post from Confessions. It was in response to MainePackFan. He had written that the Cowboys were averaging 37 points per game at home.

Cowboys are averaging 37 points per game at home this year.

But lets break this down a bit.

They are in the East division. They play the Commanders, the Eagles and the Giants.

-They scored a combined 83 points against the Commanders this year. At home they scored 45 against them. The Commanders are the 32nd ranked team in defensive scoring.

-They scored a combined 56 points against the Eagles this year. At home they scored 33 against them. The Eagles the 30th ranked team in defensive scoring.

-They scored a combined 89 points against the Giants this year. At home they scored 49 against them. The Giants are the 26th ranked team in defensive scoring.

They put up a lot of points against these teams, but all 3 of them were not good defensively this year.

The other defenses they have played at home this year are: Jets (#12 ranked scoring defense), Patriots (#15), Rams (#19), Seahawks (#25), Lions (#23)

Lets compare that to the defenses they have faced on the road. Cardinals (#31), (49ers #3), Chargers (#24), Panthers (#29), Bills (#4), Dolphins (#22)

As you said the Lions held them to 20. The week before the Dolphins on the road also held them to 20. Both of those defenses rank 22 and 23 in scoring. They faced 2 top 10 in defensive scoring. They scored 10 points against the 49ers, and 10 points against the Bills.

The last 4 games they have faced the #4 (10 points), #22 (20 points), #23 (20 points) and #32 (38 points) ranked defenses. They have averaged 22 points the last month.

The reason why I bring up the rankings. The Packers finished 10th this year. I don't know how but they did.

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Bitternotsour's picture

January 12, 2024 at 08:42 am

They finished 10th by playing a hybrid zone and keeping the game in front of them. It makes people's heads explode here on this board. They see a linebacker running across his zone with a wide receiver and assume that a linebacker is covering a wide receiver and not a zone on the field. That's a fundamental error in understanding. The defense is what it is but this game is offense dependent. It's highly unlikely that Dallas will be held much below their season scoring average, it's totally on the offense to score touchdowns. Lots of them. Bitch about Barry all you want, this game lands on LaFleur.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 12, 2024 at 09:21 am

I am guessing when they got to the end zone Barry couldn't have his CB's playing 10 yards off the ball, so that minimized how much running room WR's had.

Since Barry took over his defense has finished 10th (2021), 16th (2022), and 10th (2023).

Most of us want Barry gone. But the on credit we can give him, is that the scoring defense has been overall good.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 12, 2024 at 09:33 am

"""The defense is what it is but this game is offense dependent. It's highly unlikely that Dallas will be held much below their season scoring average, it's totally on the offense to score touchdowns. Lots of them.""

That's how I see this,too. I had a guy here yesterday who was telling me that a decent defense should be able to hold Dallas, on their homefield, to 24 points or less. I don't think so.

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dobber's picture

January 12, 2024 at 09:08 am

You hit most of the key points which says: Dallas beat up on the crappy teams in their schedule and not so much on the decent teams.

3-4 vs. playoff teams, 0.3-something SOV.

Now, the Packers weren't so good at beating on the crappy teams in their schedule, which also says something. But I agree that this game can be pared down in many ways that makes it feel less daunting.

1 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

January 12, 2024 at 09:29 am

The biggest difference is that the Cowboys are veteran led team. GB the youngest team in the league is supposed to have ups and downs. Those are to be expected. But the Cowboys going up against better teams and struggling is kind of an eye opener in that they are not without flaws.

I do like GB's chances in this game. I put down below my keys to winning this game for GB.

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LambeauPlain's picture

January 12, 2024 at 09:34 am

The Packers weren't so good beating crappy teams because the "Top 10" scoring Defense gave up late leads in games against them: The Falcons, Raiders, Broncos, Giants, Buccaneers.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

5 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

January 12, 2024 at 10:03 am

Also gave up an early 4th Quarter lead against the Steelers.

2 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 12, 2024 at 10:15 am

here's the statistic that truly matters. the packers are in the playoffs. you can't win the super bowl if you aren't in the playoffs.

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Johnblood27's picture

January 12, 2024 at 02:36 pm

That is NOT a statistic.

Data is NOT statistics.

Data are individual pieces of factual information recorded and used for the purpose of analysis. It is the raw information from which statistics are created. Statistics are the results of data analysis - its interpretation and presentation.

What is difference between statistics and data science?
Compare Statistics vs. Data Science
Basic Concepts. Data science involves the collection, organization, analysis and visualization of large amounts of data. Statisticians, meanwhile, use mathematical models to quantify relationships between variables and outcomes and make predictions based on those relationships.

Data is the raw information from which statistics are created. Put in the reverse, statistics provide an interpretation and summary of data.

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2 points
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packerbackerjim's picture

January 12, 2024 at 08:37 am

From Turnstile Tony 2.0 to not having his name called all game, Rasheed Walker has elevated his game exponentially this season. Enough that guard/center should be the draft priority when addressing the OL concerns.

4 points
5
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dobber's picture

January 12, 2024 at 12:45 pm

Ya know, I think between Tom and Walker there's enough positional flexibility that if the golden cow (franchise LT) falls into your lap, you'll find ways to get all those players on the field.

3 points
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TXCHEESE's picture

January 12, 2024 at 08:37 am

I haven't bothered to look it up, but I bet if you compared these two teams' stats over the last half of the season, they would be much closer than any Cowboy fan would like to admit, especially on the offensive side of the ball. It took a while but the young offense got it figured out the last couple of months, and are probably as good as anyone in the NFC.

5 points
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Handsback's picture

January 12, 2024 at 08:37 am

I agree that the Packers oline has to perform in order to win the game. However I don't agree that it's the key to winning the game.
IMHO, the Packers have to stop Dak and that passing attack. Disruption by pressure, interceptions, taking them out of their run game, are all and any ways for that to happen.
To me it's the defense that has to win the game for the Packers.
JMHO

5 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

January 12, 2024 at 09:15 am

These are my 3 keys to victory for GB.

Win in the trenches -
The Packers have to be able to open rushing lanes for Jones and have to allow Love time to throw. If they give Love time to throw, he will find the open guy. And to allow Love to throw, we need Jones to have a good game rushing. On the other side Dallas has one of the best OL's in the league. It won't be easy to win in the trenches. That is why some very timely blitzes will be needed. They can't afford to blitz all game long, but they need to have a few that get home. We also need our best players playing their best. Gary, Clark, Smith all have to have big games there.

Win the turnover battle -
The best way to take momentum away from a team is from turnovers. Dallas's defense can get turnovers. They had 17 interceptions on the year. 5 of them were TD's. GB on the other hand have only had 7 interceptions and 1 of them was a TD. If we can win the turnover battle, it will be huge!

Redzone scoring -
GB has to come away with TD's in the redzone. They can't settle for FG's. For Defense we need to try and hold them to FG's.

So as a recap. For the Packers to win, they have win in the trenches. they have to win the turnover battle, and they have to score TD's in the redzone. I will give another key, and that is starting fast. Getting the crowd out of it early will be a huge thing.

1 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 12, 2024 at 10:22 am

quiet the crowd. put the pressure on Dak to perform (from behind, preferably).

the most interesting aspect of this game for me is McCarthy offense v. MLF offense. People maligned McCarthy on this site for his offense (for years), it seems to be functioning at an extremely high level to me.

2 points
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Johnblood27's picture

January 12, 2024 at 02:40 pm

McCarthy took a year off after getting canned and completely rewrote his playbook with updates he should have made while coaching the Packers instead of skipping meetings to have his jellyroll massaged.

He even went as far as acquiring a 'staff' that worked with him analyzing the NFL plays and trends when he was rewriting his playbook.

He did not just pick up his toys in GB and drop them off in Big D.

2 points
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CanPackFan's picture

January 12, 2024 at 09:48 am

No question that the battle of the trenches is key to controlling a game both offensively and defensively. Of the 2, I think its harder to find good O lineman IMO. But finding the true O linemen gem in the draft is difficult. Is it brains, athelitism, or sheer meanness or a combination of the 3 that make a good O lineman? Does one of the attributes mean more when it comes to pass protection vs run blocking? I think so but it's hard to measure. And its sure as hell hard to identify in a young player fresh out of college!

Maybe the trend of pass vs the run in the modern game determines the important attributes? Probably. But I'm still a guy that feels that not every O lineman should possess the same attributes. Yes, I believe that higher atheltism/mobility for tackles is essential. However, for the center and 2 guards, I believe brute force/meanness counts for more.

So, Gutes, in the next draft, please NO athletic centers or guards with PHDs. We have enough athletic projects on the team. Find us the meanest, toughest hombres on this planet! Punish the defensive lines in front of us. Find guys like Kelce at center in particular. Do this and we will have a consistent running and passing game! GPG

5 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

January 12, 2024 at 10:19 am

" Do this and we will have a consistent running and passing game!"

I am one that is all for Gutey finding another RB that can run without a hole in front of him. I want a guy that can make something out of nothing. The OL is the key to it all, but what Jones has shown us is a special RB can make something out of nothing. He can take what should be a loss and turn it into a 5+ yard gain. So bring back Jones, and find at least one more RB that has wiggle and speed!

3 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

January 12, 2024 at 07:38 pm

#31 has wiggle, speed, and vision.

0 points
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Johnblood27's picture

January 12, 2024 at 02:43 pm

CanPackFan, in the immortal words of Sam Kennison to Rodney Dangerfield in 'Back To School" after RD said Truman was a pussy...

I like the way you think... Im gonna keep an eye on you...

0 points
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vin0770's picture

January 12, 2024 at 10:12 am

Last two games it looked like there was an actual defense, why? The D line has played great especially on third downs sacks/pressure and it transformed the entire defense. The first team to 40 wins worries me. Could the Packers offense keep up in a fireworks game, maybe for a while they’ve been on a roll, but we’ve seen teams have their way with our defense. If the defense plays and Dallas doesn’t lay a 40 burger on them it will be interesting.

2 points
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White92's picture

January 12, 2024 at 10:48 am

I saw a stat by someone saying Barry played more true defensive linemen the last 2 games. That has been the key in my opinion

2 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

January 12, 2024 at 12:42 pm

I think the bigger key was those D linemen getting pressure the last two weeks. There's a big difference between the Bears OL being down two starters and the Cowboys. Gary should be able to beat Steele pretty regularly, pulling the protection his way. The interior guys have to take get enough pressure to get Dak out of the pocket occasionally and hope he makes a mistake or two.

0 points
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Since'61's picture

January 12, 2024 at 11:47 am

The OL is usually the key to winning any game in the NFL. Win the LOS and the chances of winning increase significantly. In this particular game the Packers OL needs to win the LOS not just to score pints but also to keep the Dallas offense off the field. It will be difficult but the Packers need to keep Dallas at or below their average offensive PPG to have a chance in this game.

If the OL executes effectively Jones and Love will have strong games. Jones makes the Packers offense go both as a runner and receiver. If he gets off to a good start in the ground game play action will be more effective and Love will have more time to find open receivers.

If the Packers win the coin toss they should take the ball and hopefully drive for a score which will mitigate the home town crowd at least early in the game. If the Packers can open a 2 score or more lead the crowd impact will be diminished and the Dallas offense becomes one dimensional.

Execute on offense and take no prisoners on defense for the full sixty minutes. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

2 points
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White92's picture

January 12, 2024 at 12:00 pm

Interesting take on the coin toss. I think they have been taking the ball first on the road, or am I misremembering? Anyway, it might be a good idea so that the Cowboys aren't allowed to march downfield right away and the Packers are playing from behind the entire game.

3 points
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