Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The Packers just played two games at home against quality teams four days apart.They lost to the first game to the 49ers, and it wasn’t all that close at 30-22.
They won the second game against the Bears last night in surprisingly convincing fashion, 23-10.
The difference between the two results is simple, and ultimately it’s the difference between all Green Bay wins and losses in the past three season — Chicago turned the ball over four times, and San Francisco didn’t turn it over once.
Since 2010, Green Bay is 20-1 when they force at least two turnovers, and that one loss came in a 2010 game against Detroit where Aaron Rodgers suffered a concussion and they lost 7-3.
Over that same period, they’re 5-7 when they force less than two turnovers. And they’re 0-4 when they don’t force any turnovers at all.
In short: The Packers have only lost 8 games since the beginning of the 2010 season, and 7 of them came when they failed to force at least two turnovers.
Other elite teams don’t see such a clear correlation between winning for forcing turnovers. The Patriots are 6-3 since 2010 when they don’t force at least two TOs, the Steelers 10-7, and the Ravens are 13-7.
So what gives?
It all comes down to the nature of Green Bay’s all-or-nothing defence.
They have a bunch of big-time playmakers, but they aren’t as consistent as the league’s top units.
In 2011, they were dead last in the league in yards allowed (probably because they had big leads all the time, but still), and 19th in the league in points allowed. But at the same time, they were tied for first in the league in takeaways.
If their defence is forcing turnovers, they’re one of the best units in the league. When they aren’t, they’re below average.
Protecting the ball is always a key in the NFL. But against the Packers, not turning the ball over is the single most important thing an opponent can do.
And that was on display really simply in the last five days.
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