How Tough is it to Win on the Road?

After the Bronco Beat down the Packers suffered Sunday, it lead me searching for optimism.  Normally I’m the voice people turn to after hope seems vanished.  However, this prompted me to do a little research, and I don’t like what I found.  This could get a little long (and nerdy) so bear with me J

First – local sports talk radio brought up a topic regarding Aaron Rodger’s and the Packers “rebounding” from poor performances by #12.  There have been 18 instances where Rodgers has thrown for <200 yards in a game (where he started and didn’t leave due to injury) and the Packers played the following week (not counting a playoff loss where the Packers lost and Rodgers threw less than 200 yards – follow me?).  Let’s check the games in which he “under performed.”  The Packers surprisingly are 12-6 in games where Rodgers threw under 200 yards.  His avg. game (in those games, ugh sorry my vocabulary sucks tonight) is 17/28 (62.1%), 171 yards, 1.2TD, .56INT, 88.3 RAT.  Following those games was the point that a local radio host (Homer on espnmilwaukee maybe???) the Packers are 12-5 with the eighteenth game coming up this Sunday @ Carolina.  THE GOOD: The Packers have won 8 straight in these games, 12-5 overall.  Rodgers’ avg. line looks like 24/38, 294 yards, 2.4 TD, .3 INT, 107.3 RAT.

THE BAD: Not many of the follow-up games came against “good” teams.  Their last win v. a winning team, on the road was December 16th, 2012 (yes that’s not a typo, 2012!!!) at Chicago.

THE UGLY: this lead me to dig deeper; with the push of a friend or two.  I dug into the Packers’ success – or lack thereof – when playing on the road versus a “winning opponent.”  Winning Opponent = any team that finished with an above .500 record that season.  These #’s include postseason, and it’s not pretty.  So much was made of Rodgers 0-9 in his last nine games versus “winning” teams on the road.  I checked back throughout his entire career, outside of 2010, which 3 of those wins (I’m not counting the Super Bowl as that was a Neutral site) came in the playoffs – actually even tougher – is really awful.  His career record in these games is 11-22.  That’s a .333 clip!!  Now, I understand that winning is tough in the NFL, winning on the road is tougher, and winning on the road v. a quality opponent is extremely difficult.  However (man I use that word a lot), that’s not an excuse for losing.  Losing is unacceptable, especially when you have the toughest piece in place to find in all of sports (a legitimate top-tier QB).

Verdict – I compared the Packers’ and Rodgers’ record v. Brady’s and New England’s.  I began in 2008 for both…that’s what Rodgers took over and Brady missed the entire 2008 season.  The results were surprising.  Like I stated earlier, the Packers are 11-22 (.333) in road games v. eventual >.500 opponents whereas the Patriots (the standard, or the target as they’re no. 1) are 9-13.  Since Brady missed the 2008 season (Cassel went 2-1 in said games), Brady and the Pats are 7-12 (.368).  There are a couple things I take away from this.  Hey, ok the Packers had an awful game at Denver and have an opportunity to restore my confidence by beating a 7-0 Carolina team, on the road.  The other is that New England rarely plays “good” opponents on the road.  Many of the Packers have come in the playoffs and the Pats almost never travel in January as they’re always at home or lose at home in the post season.  The Packers have road playoff losses (in Rodgers’ career, in most recent to furthest back) at Sea, at SF, and at Ari.  Rodgers, thanks to a perfect 3-0 road record in 2010, is 3-3 in road playoff games and now with the restored confidence/dominance the Packers show while playing at Lambeau now.

I didn’t discuss anything regarding the Panthers matchup this upcoming Sunday, I’ll get to that Saturday but for now take a look at the stats and what I thought was initially a brutal record for Rodgers and how “Un-clutch” he is, actually made me feel better knowing he’s right in line with Brady (who is the best ever…at least at winning).  If you disagree, feel free to chirp up and I’ll do some research.

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