The Packers have three games left to earn what many consider is a huge necessity heading into the playoffs: a No. 1 seed.
But is it really necessary for this team?
The main component of the Packers’ gameplan is a consistent and reliable passing attack. Rhythm and timing are huge in the passing game but so is throwing and catching. When the temperature dips below zero the ball turns into a leather encased rock. And the average January high for Green Bay is 24 degrees. The low is a modest 9.
Aaron Rodgers hasn’t thrown an interception at Lambea Field since 2012. But when the wind starts howling and the temperatures get icy, his surgeon-like precision gets a little numb. He’s played four games in frigid temperatures, which is considered anything less than 21 degrees, and he has completed 61.7 percent of his passes with 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He’s also been sacked five times with a couple fumbles.
And remember when Greg Jennings caused the Packers’ fan base to have a heart murmur after saying this? “Absolutely, I would be on turf quick,” Jennings said in 2013 three days before the Packers hosted the Vikings in an NFC wild-card playoff. “Dome? Are you kidding me? Would you rather play outside?”
“No, no, that’s a politically correct answer,” Jennings said. “I’m done with politically correct right now. I’m realistic.”
Jennings left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths but he’s right. Especially with this team. Rodgers is arguably the most accurate passer of all-time. His greatest asset takes a severe hit when he cannot feel the tips of his fingers. Or when he delivers a fastball to Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb and they cannot haul it in because the cold turns normally soft hands into plywood.
“The ball gets harder,” Nelson said before the Packers hosted the 49ers in an NFC wild-card playoff that saw the kickoff temperature dip to 5 degrees with a windchill of -10. “It makes it a little harder to catch the ball when the ball is hard and your hands are frozen. The big thing is to kind of keep your hands as warm as possible, so you don’t get that sting.”
If you don’t think it matters where the Packers play, just go back to 2010. That team had the same principles this team does. A quarterback playing very efficient coupled with an array of weapons around him. Green Bay won road games in Philadelphia and Chicago that had kickoff temperatures at 30 and 20 degrees. But the best playoff game of that run was a trip to the Georgia Dome in an NFC divisional playoff. In an antiseptic environment when everything is equal, Rodgers was 31 of 36 for 366 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Packers routed Atlanta 48-21.
For his career, Rodgers owns a 68.8 completion percentage when playing in a dome along with 47 touchdowns and 9 picks.
Now I’m not saying that Lambeau should have a roof built over the top of it. But the way this team is constructed, playing games away from the icy threat of Green Bay would suit this offense just fine. Not just because of how it would affect the passing game, which is the meat and potatoes of the Packers’ offense, but because the running game has been very inconsistent this year.
It may sound sacrilegious to say, but a cold and windy Lambeau Field is more of a detriment to the Packers’ offense than the offense shivering on the other sideline. And that’s why the NFL usually has the Super Bowl in warm locales or domed stadiums because the weather can be a 12th defender if you’re reliant on the pass.
With 35 touchdowns and 3 picks this year, Rodgers is having one of the best seasons for a quarterback in NFL history. That cannot be argued. But even he isn’t invincible to the assaults of Old Man Winter.——————
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn
22 thoughts on “Cory’s Corner: Do the Packers really want a No. 1 seed?”
Sorry I have to disagree with you. I think the Packers would prefer to have home field advantage if possible. They are human and get cold like anyone else but they practice and play in this weather all year so they get accustom to it better than other fair weather teams!
FYI their practice facility is indoors…
We’ve seen over the course of years that the Lambeau mystique and the weather advantage the Packers once enjoyed has been diminished by tough defensive teams such as the Giants @ 2007 and 2011 and the 9er’s in 2012. Advancements in clothing, gloves, etc. has probably equalized the effect even for supposed warm weather teams.
Detroit, Dallas, Arizona, Saints, Falcons all play inside, but the Packers have mixed results in those venues. Seattle, 9ers and Eagles outdoors, but Packers have stumbled in those stadiums as well.
All in all, it’s a push. Packer fans don’t provide enough noise and intimidation to really create a decided ‘home field advantage’.
That’s something that I just don’t get either. With a sold out crowd why don’t the fans make the walls shake when the opposing team has the ball is beyond me.
It’s not the fans, it’s the venue. Some stadiums hold the sound. Others don’t.
The latest remodel has improved Lambeau in that respect
This sounds nuts, but I think that winter clothing diminishes the crowd noise significantly. The clapping doesn’t carry with people wearing gloves and noise get absorbed by 70,000 winter coats
There’s probably some degree of truth in that observation.
Crowd may have become spoiled somewhat. 96 title game was the loudest game I have ever been to anywhere
I have second thoughts on what you say. What is the temperatures at Seattle in January? As it looks now, Packers would play against Seattle. As it is harder to catch it is harder to hit or to be hit in lower temperatures. So that opens possibility for Eddie, also legion of boom could find themselves surprised when they “boom” in chill weather… Packers WR are customized to the turf in cold weather, how customized is legion of boom? There is so many factors that may influence the game that it is hard to be accurate when you are predicting.
Also, last year game (not 2012 as Savage wrote – 2012 was game in SF) was lost not because cold, but because of the injuries. I can not forget Andy Mulumba trying to stop Colin Kaepernick on one leg only. If Packers had 11 healthy defensive players, they would won that game as 4 & 8 (I think it was 8 yards) would never be converted… Never forget that Packers finished the game with 3 players seriously injured D player on the field. Sorry, but you did not count that in your calculation!
Croat, thanks for the correction. One thing – when you use speculation and possibility to indict what may happen as lacking credibility and then use that same approach to speculate as to a possible favorable outcome, the ideas don’t reconcile.
Explain why our record at home is so much better than away.
I think that you always want to play at home, regardless of the conditions. Look at the Packers production this season at home (41 points per game) versus on the road (23 points per game). Plus the Packers defensive performances have been much better at home than on the road. I realize that the frigid conditions may slow down Rodgers passing game somewhat but with the way the OL has been playing we should be able to get the ground game going effectively. You mention the 2 Giant games but in ’07 it was obvious that Favre was no longer the cold weather player that he had once been and in 2011 Rodgers had not played in 3 weeks after sitting out the final game against the Lions and having a first round bye. The offense was rusty and the team was dealing with the Philbin family tragedy. Another factor is if the Packers go down to the final game to win their division and earn the bye, having the week off to rest their bodies will be critical, after having played for 8 straight weeks. The margin of victory in Playoff games is very small, therefore I prefer to have any advantage available including a bye and home field advantage. Let’s get there first then debate the pros and cons. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61
Let’s see, Aaron Rodgers throwing a rock in frigid temperatures, or Russell Wilson throwing the same rock in frigid temperatures? A relatively quiet crowd at Green Bay or a rowdy, speakered-up booming noise at Seattle? Where’s the debate?
Last time we won the SB every one of our play-off games was on the road.
I believe extreme cold weather favors the better defensive team.
I also believe that the Pack’s style of offense fares better in non harsh weather conditions.
However, I also recognize that Lambeau has been a tough field to generate a pass rush on this year. Were we to be away and face a big pass rush, could we win? Sounds like this week’s game in BUF. Only difference is BUF doesn’t have a QB.
For the first three reasons above, I have to conclude the author may be right. Our chances may be better on the road in more hospitable conditions provide our OL can contain the pass rush.
Simply to avoid playing in Seattle they absolutely want the number 1 seed if they can get it. Playing in Az or any other field doesn’t bother me but going through Seattle will cause issues for us. We can beat them at Lambeau. Our OL communication in Seattle will be extremely tough. We can beat them in Seattle but doing so at Lambeau will be more probable. GoPack!
YES..YES THEY DO!
Although many a player will say it doesn’t matter but it does…there’s no place like home…regardless of any angle of analysis period. 🙂
Absurd concept. Of course the Packers want to play at home.
1. Yes, the 2010 team did well on the road. But while the 2014 defense is improved, the 2010 defense was still better, hands down. Defense is even more important on the other team’s home turf.
2. As Since ’61 mentioned, there were extenuating circumstances in 2007 and 2011. And the cold weather certainly didn’t seem to hurt the Giants much in either game, did it.
3. As others have mentioned the cold affects the other team just as much as it does the Packers.
4. Most importantly, the 2014 Packers have an offense much better suited to a cold weather game than the 2011 squad, with an offensive line that has gelled, the best ground game since the Ahman Green years, and most importantly, with McCarthy having found the play book chapter on screens and RB dump-offs that Philbin locked in a filing cabinet in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door reading “Beware of Leopard” when he left.
The defense and offensive line really benefit from the Home crowd.
“Do the Packers want the number one seed?” Absolutely stupid topic.
If it keeps them from going TO Seattle then yes the Packers need the #1 seed. Cold or no cold I’d rather have home field throughout the playoffs.
The only way the Packers have a chance at getting to the super bowl is to get that no. 1 seed period!! They are not good on the road but at home THIS YEAR they are a dominant team.
We all know it’s coming. Green Bay will have to face effin Seattle at some point. It makes sense based on how great they are playing at home to take these SOB’s on here vs. in that cesspool in Seattle.
I am going to say it right now. Green Bay needs to win out and get that no. 1 seed at all costs. If they do they are going to the super bowl. Nobody is going to beat them at home this season. If Seattle gets the no. 1 it they will repeat.
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