So I made the mistake of turning on ESPN today and listen to Trent Dilfer talk about his play off favorites. For the AFC he chose the Ravens saying they are the most balanced team. I have no big problems with this pick (although still annoying since the Ravens are NOT the most rounded team because Flacco sucks this year), i have very tapered expectation for the Patriots and i can see the Ravens being the "safer" pick. Dilfer cites hat the Patriots defense is suspect to the pass and they are too heavy reliant on Brady and if he has a bad outing, then it might not look good for the Pats. So okay at this point, i have no quandaries since these are concerns most Pats fans have...Now here is the kicker, in the NFC he chooses Green Bay. See this would be a good choice if it wasn't completely hypocritical in reasoning. The same reasons he cites for not picking NE for the AFC can be cited for Green bay. Yet Dilfer says, Aaron Rodgers will be fine, and the defense is "seasoned" enough to step up...
Umm what? So Rodgers can never have a bad game and Greenbay's suspect defense is now "seasoned"? Okay lets hold on a second and do a comparison between the two teams. Lets ignore their records for a second and focus on purely the statistical part of the game which are:
NE: 32.1 points per game / 317.8 Passing yrds per game / 110.2 Rushing yards per game / 46% on 3rd downs
GB: 35 Points per game / 307.8 Passing yrds per game / 97.4 Rushing yards per game / 48% on 3rd downs
The Packers have a great offense, but the Patriots are not far behind. And for all the talk of the Patriots being Brady dependent on offense and one dimensional, the Pats ran the ball better than the Packers this year.
NE: 21.4 points per game/ 411.1 yards per game/ 293.9 passing yards per game/ 26 TD : 23 int / 40 sacks
117.1 rushing yrds per game
GB: 22.4 points per game / 411.6 yards per game / 299.8 pasing yards per game / 29 TD:31 int/ 29 sacks
111.8 rushing yards per game
Well what we have here is the worst passing defense in the league and the second worse passing defense in the league (and in NFL history) with the saints coming in third. Surprisingly the patriots are the latter due to the packers giving up a zillion yards to the lions. Still the numbers were similar even before this week. The difference is that the packers have more take aways, but they don't really have much of a pass rush...their 29 sacks is the third worse in the league. And even the sometimes non-existant pats pass rush have managed to come away with much more sacks this season. The Pats also managed to give up less points than Green bay on the season.
So looks like the teams are remarkably similar in nearly every facet of the game. Difference in the records is basically Brady have 3 bad games on the season and Rodger having one really bad game. Yet none of this matters going into the play offs since anyone can have an off day on any given weekend.
My point here is not that the Patriots are super bowl bound, no far from it. Rather i don't see how any person who bothers to look take a second and look at the numbers can say the Greenbay are destined for the superbowl, yet at the same time say the Patriots have too much defensive problem. If you say the NE are too flawed to make the SB that's fine, but don't then go and justify the Packers as the model team since in terms of their flaws and strengths;
both teams are in the same boat here (along with the saints to a slightly lesser degree).