Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Packers' String of Bad Luck


1. The Packers played the Cowboys before they acquired Roy Williams. They played the Cowboys before Tony Womo bwoke his pinky. Before they lost Felix Jones. Before Marion Barber got dinged up.

2. The Packers played Tampa Bay with a healthy Ernest Graham, before their defense imploded down the stretch (whether due to Kiffin moving on or not, they were pathetic in their last 4-5 games.)

3. The Packers played the Saints after the Saints had regained Marcus Colston AND found Lance Moore, and after they had replaced Reggie Bush with the Superior Pierre Thomas.

4. The Packers played the Texans after Matt Schaub recovered from his injury, and so missed the immortal Sage Rosenfels. They also had to face Steve Slaton as the every-down back instead of the Ahman Green platoon earlier in the year.

5. The Packers lost to Atlanta by 3 in a game where Mason Crosby missed a field goal. They lost to Tennessee in overtime. They lost to Minnesota by 1 in a game in which Mason Crosby missed a field goal. They lost to Chicago by 3 in a game in which Mason Crosby had 2 field goals blocked. Mason Crosby missed 7 FGs all season, and 4 of those 7 decided games.

6. Of the 10 Packer losses, 9 were to teams that finished .500 or better. The only truly bad loss was to Jacksonville.

7. The Packers had the misfortune of playing the incredibly deep Southern divisions, including Atlanta (Wild Card), Carolina (2 Seed, NFC), Tampa (Eliminated from playoffs on last day), New Orleans, Tennessee (#1 Seed, AFC), Indy (Wild Card), and Houston. The New York Jets, on the other hand, played the Western divisions including San Diego (Won division at 8-8), Arizona (won terrible division at 9-7, only outscored opponents by 1 point on the year), Oakland (terrible), Kansas City (terrible), St. Louis (Uber-terrible), Denver, San Francisco (terrible), and Seattle (terrible).

8. The Packers suffered tons of injuries, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

9. The Packers had terrible fumble luck.

10. The entire loss to the Bears was one bit of bad luck after another.

11. From FO:

Green Bay ends up with 8.9 Pythagorean wins, which means the difference between their actual win-loss percentage and the Pythagorean projection is -.183. The Packers end up ranking as the ninth most "unlucky" team since the 1970 merger. As you might expect, eight of the other nine teams in the top ten improved the following year, most by three wins or more.

I would bet that even if the Packers regress a bit talent-wise next year that their record will still improve. Some of this has to regress to the mean. Mason Crosby’s misses will more frequently occur at low-leverage times. The schedule will probably be easier. They’ll catch more teams at good times. They probably won’t be stung by injuries as harshly.

So I’m optimistic going forward.

Finally, Michael Turner broke the dreaded 370 carry barrier in week 17. Fantasy players beware. That said, this guy makes a compelling case that there is no “curse of 370,” however, note that his criticism consists mainly of pointing out that getting 370 carries in the first place is an outlier, and that decline is simply regression to the mean. Good point, but it still means that a decline is likely, even if overuse is not the cause.


Chris said...

nice post Paul

You are totally correct last year they caught every break and this year I cannot think of too many bounces that went their way.

I am actually more up beat about next season than I was about this season.

This team easily could have been 10-6 or 9-7 with a few breaks

lets hope they use their draft choices wisely.

PaulNoonan said...

Thanks Chris. I added an 11th point too.