The Green Bay Packers (and their fan base) have spent a lot of time talking about the importance of getting home field advantage in the playoffs, a goal they achieved in the 2020 NFL regular season that now puts them in a position to host the NFC Championship Game.
While there will not be a full stadium of Green and Gold adorned fans, the weather element just may play a big factor in the contest. Here’s a stat that may (or may not) be a deciding factor in which team, the Packers or the Tampa Bay Bucs, goes to this year’s Super Bowl.
Early weather forecasts indicate the temperature at Lambeau Field will be around 28 degrees at kickoff. Did you know:
- Tampa Bay played only one game outdoors in 2020 where the temperature was under 50 degrees. That was a 25-23 win over the New York Giants on November 2, 2020. The temperature was 39 degrees.
- The Packers played 11 games outdoors in 2020, eight of them under 50 degrees. The eight games under 50 degrees were the most played by a team in the league in 2020.
- Of the 12 outdoor games the Bucs played in the 2020 regular season, the average temperature was 75.9. Of the 11 outdoor games the Packers played this season, the average temperature was 47.4.
- The last time Tampa Bay played a game outdoors where the temperature was under 32 degrees was on December 24, 2000 against the Packers in Green Bay. The Pack won the game 17-14 in overtime. The temperature at game time for that contest was 15 degrees.
- In their history, the Bucs are 0-13 in games played outdoors where the temperature was under 32 degrees. In fact, Tampa Bay is 21-64 (.247 winning percentage) all-time in regular season and playoff games where the temperature is under 50 degrees.
- The Packers are 78-46-3 (.626) in regular season and playoff games since 1970 where the temperature is under freezing (32 degrees). When those games at played at home, the Pack is 65-28-2 (.695).
Will the Frozen Tundra live up to its nickname and have a positive effect on the Packers hope for another Super Bowl appearance?
Written and Compiled by Jerry Tapp
Here are some of the numbers that helped define the Packers 32-18 playoff win over the Los Angeles Rams in Green Bay on Saturday, January 16, 2021.
- The Packers will appear in the NFC Championship Game for the second consecutive year. The last NFC team to appear in back-to-back NFC Championship games were the 2013 and 2014 Seattle Seahawks. The Packers also appeared in back-to-back NFC title games in 1996 and 1997.
- This will be the third NFC Championship Game played in Green Bay since the NFL merger in 1970, The Packers hosted the title game in 1996 (a win over Carolina) and in 2007 (a loss to the New York Giants)
Green Bay has now won four straight home playoff games. Since 1982, the Packers are 14-5 in home playoff games.
- The Pack has now won six of their last seven meetings with the Rams. The two teams, however, are tied in their all-time series, 47-47-2.
- Green Bay is 13-2 in playoff games since 1970 when they score 30 or more points. They are 14-1 in playoff games when they hold the opposition under 20 points.
- The Packers scored first in the game on a Mason Crosby field goal. They are 17-8 in playoff games (in the Super Bowl era) when they score first in a playoff game.
- Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams connected on a TD pass in the second quarter. It was Adams’ seventh career playoff TD reception. That puts him in a tie for second place on the all-time list for the team with John Kuhn (yes, that John Kuhn). Antonio Freeman has the team record for most playoff TD receptions with 12.
- The Packers defense had four sacks in the contest. They are 12-4 in playoff games since 1966 when they have four or more sacks in the game.
- Aaron Rodgers had a rushing TD, the fourth of his career in the post-season.
- Green Bay had a 19-10 lead at halftime. They are 17-1 in playoff games since 1966 when they have a lead of nine points or more at halftime. The only playoff game they have lost when they had a nine-point lead at halftime was on January 18, 2015 when they led 16-0 at halftime against Seattle and ended up losing 28-22 in overtime.
- The Pack scored three of their four TDs in the game from one-yard. The Packers scored 27 of their 66 TDs in the regular season from five yards or shorter.
- Aaron Jones had 99 yards rushing on 16 carries. The 99 yards was a career playoff high for Jones. He also had a TD run in the game, the fourth career playoff rushing TD. Jones has five career playoff TDs in three playoff games.
- The Packers offensive line did not allow a sack in the contest. It was the fifth playoff game in team history where they did not allow a sack. The team is 4-1 in those games.
- Green Bay had 36:12 of Time of Possession in the game. It was the third highest TOP for the Packers in a playoff game. The team is 12-3 in playoff games when they have 32:00 or more TOP in a post-season game.
- Green Bay had 188 yards rushing on 36 attempts. The 188 yards was the fourth most rushing yards in a playoff game since 1970.
- They also had 484 total yards in the game. They fell nine yards short of the team record for most total yards in a playoff game; the team had 493 in a January 10, 2010 post-seaosn game against Arizona. They lost that game 51-45 in overtime.
- The defense help the Rams to only 244 total yards. They have won their last five playoff games when they hold the opponents under 250 total yards.
- The Packers scored in every quarter. In the Super Bowl era, they are 11-3 in playoff games when they score in each quarter.
- Aaron Rodgers completed 23 of 36 passes for 296 yards and two TD. He had no interceptions and a Passer Rating of 108.1 in the game. The team is 8-1 in games when Rodgers has a Passer Rating of 100 or higher in a post-season game. They are also 8-0 in playoff games if Rodgers has two or more TD passes and no interceptions. Green Bay is 2-7 in playoff games when Rodgers has one or more interceptions.
- Green Bay did not have a turnover in the game. It was the 11th game this season (regular season and playoffs) where they did not have a turnover. That tied the league record held by the 2010 and 2016 New England Patriots teams. The Pack could break the all-time record with 12 games if they do not have a turnover in their NFC Championship Game versus Tampa Bay
In football, whether it be Pop Warner games or all the way up to the NFL, the premise is quite simple: When the offense has the ball… SCORE. In the NFL, scoring a TD is the first objective, but if that fails, at least kick a field goal and get three points on the scoreboard.
For the 2020 regular season, the Green Bay Packers were the league’s best at scoring when they had the ball. We can go a step further and say that the Pack had the league’s “most effective offensive unit” this season.
Based on stats cultivated from Pro Football Reference.com, the Packers led the league by scoring on 49.7 percent of their offensive drives. Green Bay had 161 offensive possessions in 2020, and scored 80 times on 64 TDs’ and 16 field goals.
(Note: Of those 161 offensive possessions, the Packers actually had 17 possessions that were either at the end of the half or the end of the game and the clock ran out on their possession. We can make a case that in many end-of-the-half and end-of-the-game possessions a team does not get a chance to finish their drive and a chance to score. If that was the case in the Packers 17 possesions at the end of the half or the end of the game, their offensive drive effectiveness was probably closer to 56 percent. That’s a debate for another time.)
What makes this weekend’s divisional matchup between the Packers and Rams so interesting is that it features the NFL’s most effective offense against the league’s most effective defense. The Rams defensive squad topped the NFL this season by allowing their opponents to score on only 27.9 percent of their possessions.
There were 5,567 offensive possessions in the NFL this year with teams scoring a TD or field goal 2,217 times; that’s scoring just under 40 percent of the time (39.8 percent to be exact). Of those 2,217 scores, 1,405 were touchdowns, 812 were field goals.
Of the eight teams still in the playoffs, six finished in the Top 10 of most effective offensive units. On the defensive side, five of the eight teams remaining in the playoffs finished in the Top 10.
Here’s a look at the eight teams remaining in the playoffs and on what percentage of offensive possessions they scored and on what percentage of possessions their opponents scored. (Each team’s rank in the regular season in these stats is noted.)
Offensive Possessions Effectiveness
Green Bay (#1) 49.7%
Buffalo (#2) 49.4%
Kansas City (#5) 47.9%
Tampa Bay (#6) 47.8%
New Orleans (#7) 45.5%
Baltimore (#8) 45.3%
Cleveland (#15) 40.6%
L.A. Rams (#25) 34.2%
Defensive Possessions Effectiveness
L.A. Rams (#1) 27.9%
Baltimore (#3) 30.0%
Tampa Bay (#6) 33.7%
New Orleans (#7) 34.7%
Kansas City (#9) 36.1%
Buffalo (#15) 39.4%
Green Bay (#16) 39.9%
Cleveland (#20) 43.0%
The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered an embarrassing first-round playoff loss to their division rival Cleveland Browns last Sunday, a loss that included a 28-0 first quarter deficit and five turnovers. It was the first time that a team had five or more turnovers in an NFL playoff game since the Arizona Cardinals had seven turnovers in a 49-15 loss to the Carolina Panthers on January 24, 2016.
It was also the 79th time in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) that a playoff team had five or more turnovers in a game. Teams have a record of 9-70 (.114 winning percentage) in those games. This was the fourth time in Steelers’ playoff history (since 1966) that they had five-plus turnovers in a post-season game; ironically, however, it was the first time they had lost a playoff game when they had five or more turnovers in a playoff game. They are the only team since 1966 to win more than one playoff game (they won three) when committing five or more turnovers in a contest. That trend did not work for them in this year’s playoffs.
All of that leads to this obvious statement: Turnovers are a key factor when looking at playoff success. To put some numbers to that statement, let’s look at the last 10 years of NFL playoffs, 2010-2019, a total of 110 playoff games.
Here are the records of playoff teams from 2010-2019 when they committed zero, one, two, three or four-plus turnovers in a post-season game:
Turnovers in a playoff game, Record
Zero: 38-20 .655
One: 43-30 .589
Two: 24-28 .462
Three: 3-20 .130
Four or more: 2-12 .143
A couple of interesting stats jump off the page when you look at these numbers:
1. Playoff teams in 2010-2019 were 81-50 (.618) when they committed one or no turnovers; they were 29-60 (.326) if they committed two or more turnovers. That’s a winning percentage difference of .292.
2. Just under 60% of the playoff teams in this timeframe had zero or one turnover in playoff games during this time.
3. Playoff teams that had no turnovers were 38-20 (.655) while those that had one or more turnover were 72-90 (.444). Again, a significant winning percentage difference (.211).
Just look at the first weekend of this year’s playoff games. In the six playoff games played last weekend, the six teams that won all had zero or only one turnover. Ten of the 12 teams last weekend had either zero or one turnover; the other two teams were the Steelers with five turnovers and the Seahawks with two turnovers. When you look at all six of the games, the winning teams had three turnovers, the losing teams had nine.
For Packers fans, the turnover stat in the playoff has some very distinctive numbers. In the Super Bowl era, the Packers have played 48 post-season games. Here is their record in those games based on the number of turnovers:
Packers turnovers in a playoff game Record
Zero: 11-1 .917
One: 10-4 .714
Two: 5-5 .500
Three: 1-3 .250
Four or more: 1-7 .125
If we break it down just one more step, we see that Green Bay was 21-5 (.808) in those playoff games when they committed one or no turnovers and were 7-15 (.318) when they committed two or more turnovers in one of those playoff contests.
Here’s one more stat on the Pack: Green Bay is 28-20 in the 48 playoff games since 1966. In the 28 wins, they had 27 turnovers (.96 per game); in the 20 losses, they had 57 turnovers (2.85 per game).
It’s pretty clear (for the Packers and any NFL playoff team for that matter)… turning the ball over once or not at all gives playoff teams the best chance at winning a post-season game and advancing to the next round.
Twelve of the 14 NFL teams that made the playoffs this year will begin the post-season with games this weekend. Fourteen of the league’s 32 teams made the playoffs this year, up from 12 that made the playoffs in recent years. The Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers are the #1 seeds in this season-ending tourney and are the favorites to reach this year’s Super Bowl.
Each of these 14 playoff teams played at least four of their 16 regular season games this season against fellow playoff teams. The Chiefs, who had the best record this year at 14-2, played four games against teams that made the playoffs this year, going 4-0.
Here’s a look at the record of the 14 playoff teams in games this season versus other playoff teams on their schedule.
Kansas City, 4-0
Green Bay 4-2
L.A. Rams, 4-2
New Orleans, 4-2
Tampa Bay, 1-5
Let’s take this stat a little further… here’s a look at how the 18 teams that did not make the playoffs did this season against the 14 teams that did make the playoffs. Notice that the Houston Texans played a league-high 10 of their 16 regular season games this year against teams that eventually made the playoffs. Their record in those 10 games? 0-10.
N.Y. Jets, 2-5
San Francisco, 2-6
L.A. Chargers, 1-4
New England, 1-5
Las Vegas Raiders, 0-7
- Here’s one more quick stat about the upcoming NFL playoffs: The Packers and Chiefs were the only teams to receive a bye in this year’s playoff format as their conference’s #1 seed. Obviously there is a benefit to being the number seed, but that #1 seed does not come with a free pass to the Super Bowl. Since 2000, there have been 40 #1 seeds (20 each in the AFC and NFC). Of those 40 #1 seeds, only 21 of the 40 reached the Super Bowl that year. And when those 21 #1 seeds did reach the Super Bowl, only seven #1 seeds won the Super Bowl. In addition:
- In the last 20 years, at least one #1 seed has made the Super Bowl in 16 of those seasons.
- Since 2000, both #1 seeds played in the Super Bowl in 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.