By any way you measure it, the Green Bay Packers have had a great season. They currently have the second largest point differential of any team in the NFL. Their DVOA, a stat created by Football Outsiders,which I hear is pretty good, ranks them at 23.8% good for 5th overall in the NFL and mere percentage points from 3rd overall. Football Outsiders also ranks them with the second best defense and fifth best offense (in DVOA), and if it wasn't for their terribly low special teams rank, they could be the best team in the NFL. All of their losses are by four points or less. The Green Bay Packers are a much better team than 9-6.
Their opponent on Sunday, the Chicago Bears, is just about the opposite in every way. They are practically an average team in DVOA, their offense is among the league's worst, and their point differential is second lowest among (if the season ended today) NFC playoff teams. The other team? St. Louis Rams. So, yeah. Seven of their eleven wins have come by less than one score. The Chicago Bears are a good team, but they are not this good.
In a world where the numbers are always correct and luck never comes into play, it would be the Chicago Bears playing for their playoff lives, and the Green Bay Packers who would be choosing between playing for the chance at home field advantage or resting their stars on the final weekend. Of course, the NFL is not a world dominated by numbers, and the Green Bay Packers need to win this Sunday if they want to control their own destiny. It doesn't take a math genius to point out that a Packers loss and subsequent missing of the playoffs would be a huge disappointment. Not only would it be a big win for the super annoying Brett-Favre-should-have-the-right-to-choose-when-he-wanted-to-leave goofballs, but it would just plain suck. We need an excuse to drink beyond this weekend. Plus, a team with this sort of talent, that can lose key players and carry on without missing a beat, just doesn't come around that often. This is a team with a chance to win the Super Bowl, and there is no way of knowing if that same chance will return next year. The Packers need to win on Sunday and see how far this thing can go. They have to.
But what if they didn't? What if they didn't make the playoffs? Then what? Continue reading →