Packers are Really Good, but not Dominant…For Now

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The Packers inability to bury a team like the Saints is one reason Green Bay isn't quite dominant.

The Green Bay Packers are 6-0 and should be 7-0 after feasting on Christian Ponder and the bumbling Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

The Packers have been the more talented team on the field for each of their games this season, sometimes by a wide margin. But despite the Packers fast start and obvious talent superiority, I wouldn’t call this team dominant….yet.

Extremely good? Yes. Ultra-talented? Yes. The best team in the NFL? Yes. Dominant? Not quite.

Here’s why:

  • The Packers are 31st in the NFL in passing yards allowed. Opposing QBs have racked up 1,798 passing yards on Green Bay, an average of almost 300 yards per game. Passing numbers are up around the league, but this number needs to come down for the Packers to be dominant.
  • The Packers are third in Football Outsiders DVOA ratings and Pro-Football-Reference.com’s simple ratings system. I don’t put too much stock in this type of analysis this early in the season, but these numbers do tell us that the Packers are not miles ahead of everyone else like a dominant team would be.
  • A dominant team would have put away the Saints and the Panthers (and probably the Bears) much earlier than the Packers did. Instead of putting these games out of reach, the Packers let both teams hang around. A dominant team also would not have been shut out by the Rams in the second half, even if that dominant team was bored like the Packers probably were on Sunday.
  • The Packers schedule hasn’t exactly been mind-blowing. Strength of schedule is something the Packers can’t control, but it at least needs to be mentioned in this discussion. Wins over the Panthers, Rams, Broncos and (probably) Vikings aren’t going to make many people turn their heads and say “Whoa, that team sure is unstoppable.”

No, the Packers shouldn’t be labeled dominant right now, but there’s a lot of season left. They have the best QB in the NFL and have outscored opponents by 83 points. Their turnover differential is plus-8 and it wouldn’t surprise me if their defense improves as Tramon Williams gets healthier, Sam Shields returns to last season’s form and Dom Capers continues adjusting to life without Nick Collins.

If the Packers figure out a way to shore up their pass defense between the 20-yard lines, improve their tackling, and bury teams when given the opportunity, they will without a doubt become dominant.

Besides, if the Packers keep winning, who really care if they’re labeled dominant or not?

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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  • Savage57

    The Packers killer instinct – why is it absent? Is it a reflection of MM’s structured, steady approach to everything about this team as opposed to a highly charged emotional make-up? Or is it an exposure of real deficiencies in certain aspects of the team? Mind’s a whole lot greater than mine spend a whole lot more time trying to answer that question.

    One thing I do hope is that if that instinct is lying dormant in this team, it awakes and emerges in the Vomitdome. This game could be the lynchpin of a historic season. If they can get the Queens down early, then step on their necks with one foot while mashing the accelerator with the other, they can go into the bye with real belief that they can dominate anyone, anywhere and re-start the 2nd half of the season with fully founded and perhaps unshakeable confidence.

    • Adam Czech

      I have two theories:

      1. Yes, the Packers have the most talent in the NFL. But the talent level isn’t night and day. The NFL is still about parity. It’s just really hard to blow teams out week in and week out, even if you have talent like the Packers do.

      2. McCarthy gets a little conservative with a lead later in the game. Aaron Nagler at Cheesehead TV has a good post on this today. He talks about McCarthy playing the percentages by running more with a lead later in the game.

      http://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/mccarthy-everything-we-do-starts-with-running-the-football

  • J

    I wouldn’t want them to be dominant now, if it means they peak too early. So I’m fine with where they are now

    • Adam Czech

      Good point.

  • Chad Lundberg

    To add to your reasons of how the Packers could become dominant, don’t forget Mike Neal. Last year, everyone was wondering about James Starks and when he would be activated because it seemed as though he was the missing piece to the puzzle. Neal, in my mind, is in a very similar position. The defenses’ woes lie mostly in the secondary, but the moment Neal comes back (and possibly preseason star Vic So’oto too), the pass rush should immediately pick up, therefore allowing the secondary to work a lesser load, and give Green Bay the advantage.

    • Savage57

      Good point as to the potential impact of Neal on his return, but I am starting to wonder if he is one of those athletes that is just so bound by the muscular limits due to his strength that the connective tissue in his body can’t absorb all of the demands the extreme requirements of playing in the NFL over 16 games requires.

  • Ron LC

    Those who would like MM to play like an NCAA Division I team trying for the BCS are not likely to ever see that happen. MM plays the percentages and never varies.

    As someone who wishes MM would keep the pedal to the metal a little longer, I must admitt I have a hard time arguing with his success. NFL football is a team sport and no other team in the league exemplifies this more than the Packers. He is winning and who can argue with that.

    For the sake of my aging body, I’d sure like to see some blow outs, but that’s just me.

  • Chad Toporski

    There are two different podcasts I have listened to that come to mind right now.

    The first one is Donald Driver’s interview on the Cover Two with Steve Wyche and Bucky Brooks. (Which I highly recommend listening to.) In the interview, DD talks about the Packers’ goal to start delivering the “knockout punch.” McCarthy has been trying to send this message, and I think without those drops on Sunday, they would have delivered like they did against the Broncos.

    The second podcast is Bill Simmon’s BS Report. This week he talked with regular guest Aaron Schatz of FO, and they touched upon the Packers being third. Aaron was of the opinion that while, yes, the Packers aren’t first, they will be eventually. He said they are more likely to improve their game as the season goes on than the 49ers or Ravens.

    So take that as you will…

  • Tarynfor 12

    The kind of dominating play many want to see happen would have many leaping and jumping for joy and boasting power.

    However,I wonder if the risk of player safety is worth that power.The more you play for embarassment sake of another,AKA Dominance,the more probable a cheap shot comes from nowhere and creates a possible future of then being dominated.

    Super Bowl rings dictate ones dominance,stats are for those with empty fingers.

    Just Win Baby…in memory of AL Davis.

    • Ron LC

      Well said Taryn!

      • Adam Czech

        Running up the score and being dominant are two completely different things.

        • Tarynfor 12

          I disagree and believe MM does also.Those drops pissed him off as they would have extended possessions and aided in clock killing.If MM wanted too,he could still have removed the leash off this offensive attack but,the 21 points was all he needed and new it and chose not to roll up the newspaper for the swatting.

          • Adam Czech

            He called a vanilla game in the second half because he didn’t want to show too much against a worthless team, not because he was showing the Rams any mercy.

            • Bubbaloo

              I agree with that to a certain extent, McCarthy does NOT want to give other teams reason to “Get Up’ for the Packers, they all have their reasons and running up scores won’t help. But on the other hand, McCarthy’s teams have never had the “Killer Instinct”, and in years past this has come back to bite him. This team might be, and maybe needs to be, better than what we’ve seen thus far. I for one am hoping this is just the Packers typical “Slow Start” they seem to have every year. Injuries have added to this somewhat, and that should iron itself out with time, there are NO rookies in December. For now I’ll happily take 6-0, but I won’t look past anyone

  • Bearmeat

    I think all the things you mentioned will get fixed as the season drags on. With the exception of 07 and 11 MM’s teams have started slow and played their best ball in the last half of the season. Expect that to continue.

    If further injuries stay away, Neal can provide pass rush when he comes back, the OL can consistently run block, the secondary cleans up like they should and the kick coverage gets better.. then yes, they’ll be absolutely dominant. :)

    But we need to remind ourselves that you don’t have to pulverize the other 31 in the league at every single aspect of the game to win it all. We have close to enough strengths right now to overcome our current deficiencies to win the SB.

    • Packet

      Ok, everyone talking about Mike Neal coming back and providing answers. Who can give me back up material for this? What’s he shown to say he can be the upgrade on pass rush? And…who is the current non-starter to make the biggest impact in the second half of season?

      • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

        Watch the Washington game from last season. Neal was in the backfield all game. He was just starting to come on strong.