Friday Beer Run: Seattle at Green Bay

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 10, 2008



We break down each divisional match-up with the vigor of a world-class keg-stand champion, using our Quality Stats to determine who really has those little advantages that help win football games in January and February.
 
We went 3-1 straight up and vs. the spread in the wild-card round.
 
Also see:
 
 
 
SATURDAY, 4:30 p.m. EST
SEATTLE at GREEN BAY
Teams
11-6
Overall Record (incl. playoffs)
13-3
2-2
3-1
+2.8 PPG
+5.5 PPG
+3.9 (9)
+8.3 (5)
17.69 YPPA (2)
17.23 YPPA (4)
14.206 YPPS (12)
13.634 YPPS (7)
21.0 (23t)
7.67 (4)
9.0 (4)
8.67 (3)
6.33 (13)
7.26 (3)
73.0 (2)
75.6 (6)
+/-0 (12t)
+19 (4)
15.8 (16)
11.8 (5)
+8.5
Line
-8.5
42
Over/Under
42
* Indexes reflect regular-season finishes only. 
 
Vs. Quality Opponents
The Seahawks, who played just three Quality Opponents in the regular season, passed their first test of the postseason with the wild-card round win over Washington, leaving them 2-2 and +2.8 PPG. But the Packers are a step better at 3-1 and +5.5. 
 
Advantage: Slight edge to Green Bay
 
Relativity:
This stat measures how the performance of each team relative to the average performance of their opponents. Green Bay was No. 5 at 8.3 PPG above average. Seattle No. 9 at +3.9 PPG. Without even resorting to a calculator, we can tell you this means the Packers were 4.4 PPG better than Seattle during the regular season.
 
Advantage: Edge to Green Bay
 
Seattle's offense vs. Green Bay's defense:
Seattle's offense struggled vs. an average Washington D in the wild-card round, and should be no match for Green Bay's well-balanced defense. Green Bay's No. 3 Defensive Hogs are way ahead of Seattle's No. 23 Offensive Hogs, and the Packers rank higher in the Bendability/Scoreability matchup and the Passing YPA/Defensive Passer Rating matchup. The Seahawks' offense doesn't crack the top 10 in any of the three offensive Quality Stats, while Green Bay is in the top seven in each defensive measure.
 
Advantage: Big edge to Green Bay
 
Green Bay's offense vs. Seattle's defense 
Brett Favre's great season was no fluke, but the Packers didn't see many secondaries as good as Seattle's during the regular season. Green Bay's offense, which ranked No. 3 in Passing Yards Per Attempt, will be tested vs. Seattle's No. 2 Defensive Passer Rating. Same goes for the Packers' No. 4 Offensive Hogs vs. Seattle's No. 4 Defensive Hogs. Seattle does have a small statistical advantage in Bendability (No. 2) vs. Green Bay's Scoreability (No. 7).
 
Advantage: Even
 
Special teams
The Seahawks were dead average, 16th overall in the Special Teams Index with an average rank of 15.4 in the five categories. Their only strength is punt returns, where Nate Burleson lifted them to fourth at 9.97 net yards per punt return (figuring for fair catches). Josh Brown has been solid on FGs (11th) but his strong kickoffs have been underdone by subpar coverage. The Packers are in the top 10 in punting, kickoffs and punt returns, and rank 5th overall on our Special Teams Index.
 
Advantage: Edge to Green Bay
 
Big Plays
Seattle broke its game open against Washington with Big Plays, but a similar scenario is far less likely against the Packers. Green Bay was +19 on the Big Play Index during the regular season, good enough for fourth in the NFL, while Seattle broke exactly even – 46 Big Plays for and 46 Big Plays against. The Packers allowed just 38 Big Plays, eighth in the league, despite six games in the NFC North against Big Play-makers Minnesota (No. 2 in Big Plays made), Chicago (No. 3) and Detroit (No. 5)
 
Advantage: Big edge to Green Bay
 
Significant injuries
The Packers are the healthiest team in the postseason. They didn't lose a single key player over the course of the season, and should be fully intact for Saturday's game. Seattle is also fairly healthy, although WR Deion Branch missed the first playoff game and could be out again this week.
 
Advantage: Even
 
Weather
According to the Weather Channel, the tundra won't be frozen. But it will be chilly by Seattle standards in Green Bay, with temps in the low 30s and a probability of some snow flurries.
 
What does a monkey think? 
Our beloved Bonzo the Idiot Monkey was a prognosticating genius this regular season, using his patented coin-flip method to beat the experts from CBS Sports.com and finish at 146-109 overall. He went just 1-3 last week in the wild-card round, but remains confident, in an inscrutable simian kind of way.
Bonzo's coin likes ... Seattle (+8.5)
 
Summary
No team in the NFL this year is more balanced than Green Bay, not even mighty New Enngland. The Packers rank in the top seven in all nine of our Quality Stats and show no weaknesses anywhere on the field. Seattle, on the other hand, is average offensively and on special teams, but with an excellent defense. But the Seahawks will find no mismatches to exploit, and mismatches are a requirement for winning in the January snow at Green Bay.
 
The final score: Green Bay 27, Seattle 13

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