Seeding is nice and all, but let’s take a deeper dive into how strong these NFC playoff teams truly are, shall we? For this, I took a look at the rankings in each department. For instance, the Packers ranked 18th in rush offense (yards/game), eighth in passing, 10th in total yards and 10th in scoring. I did this for all seven NFC playoff teams, and probably should’ve weighted the rankings differently, but that’s too convoluted.
Re-Seeding Teams Using These Categories
The categories used are as follows (all ranks in the entire NFL):
- Offensive/Defensive Rush, Pass, and Total Yards
- Points Scored/Allowed
- Turnover Differential
- Point Differential
- Opponent Win %
So, a total of 11 rankings to give a good balanced idea of each teams’ true ranking lumped together. Now, keep in mind, while for a singular category, avg. would be 16th or 17th, when combing ALL of these rankings, it’ll be very tough to crack the top-5, and a team in the top 10 would be either very top-heavy in a few categories, or just a very well-balanced football team. Let’s take a look.
|Rush O.||Rush D.||Pass O.||Pass D.||Total O.||Total D.||Pts. O.||Pts D.||T/O||Pt. Diff.||Sched.||Strength|
Diving Into the Rankings
This turned out similar to where I thought it would rank these teams. The Packers, while showing the best record in football (or at least tied with Tampa Bay), did escape quite a few games by narrow margins while holding double-digit leads. While there’s something to be said for winning close games, there’s another to be said for putting teams away. Green Bay struggled to do that with the exception of:
- A backup QB-led Vikings team
- An awful Chicago team- even then, fell down fairly big, twice
- An awful Lions team
While many may think it’s a harsh outlook, or pessimistic, it’s at least an apples-to-apples type look at the rest of the NFC and to give a good gauge other than the lovely “eye test.”
Special Teams Rankings
The one department that’s tough to quantify is Special Teams. I know there’s a website that tracks this stuff, fairly similarly to what I’ve done with the above, but I never know how much weight to put on Specials. Is it important? It’s like a long-snapper…it’s not important until it is. However, it’s very interesting and the site is here: https://www.lineups.com/nfl-team-rankings/special-teams
For those rankings, it has the Packers ranked T-22nd, along with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The biggest areas of concern, as you could guess, are field goal % and even worse is Opponent Kick Return Yards (ranked 32nd). However, the highest ranked NFC playoff team is Dallas at 12th. So, as follows:
- Green Bay T-22nd
- Tampa Bay T-22nd
- Dallas 12th
- LA Rams 31st
- Arizona 16th
- San Francisco 21st
- Philadelphia 27th
Even then, Green Bay ranks the 2nd best overall special teams of the remaining NFC playoff teams, tied with Tampa. I’m not sure what to make of that, but it’s very interesting.
To finish, if we were to re-seed the NFC playoff teams based on my above rankings, it would be as follows:
- Tampa Bay
- San Francisco
- Green Bay
- LA Rams
The funny thing about stats, rankings, and well, numbers in general is that they can be easily manipulated and be used to manipulate. For what it’s worth, while I’m a huge Packer fan, I’m also considered a “negative” one – with that, I’m not too worried about any of these NFC teams coming into Lambeau and beating Green Bay. If the Packers lose, it’s because they didn’t play well and choked, not because they weren’t the better team.