Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, January 9, 2016 at 7:00 AM
The offense of the Green Bay Packers has been atrocious in recent weeks. We’re talking about a team that went 2 of 15 on third downs last week vs. Minnesota, while managing just 4.7 yards-per-play. The week before, third downs were better at 5 of 17 (still awful), but yards-per-play was a pathetic 2.8 in Arizona! Sure, the team scored 30 points the week before in Oakland. But, a lot of those were cheap! Green Bay gained just 4.2 yards-per-play in that game, on 4 of 13 third down conversions.
Green Bay isn’t just “struggling” on offense. Green Bay is one of the worst offenses in the league in the NFL right now because of multiple injuries to key contributors. How can they possibly get things figured out for the playoffs? It’s not like all of those guys are coming back!
Yet, the betting markets show the Packers as a slight favorite Sunday in Washington. Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say both of these NFC darkhorses…
Green Bay: 10-6 (#19 ranked schedule according to Sagarin)
Washington: 9-7 (#24 ranked schedule according to Sagarin)
Green Bay had the slightly better record against the slightly tougher schedule. Though, if they were just catching some breaks from cheap points, then the difference isn’t meaningful. Clearly, Green Bay was a lot better than Washington in the first third of the season. Lately, that’s a tougher call.
Green Bay: 5.1 on offense, 5.5 on defense
Washington: 5.6 on offense, 6.0 on defense
This is why the market is so down on Washington. Their defense is horrible! This could be the game Aaron Rodgers finally cracks 5.0 yards-per-play and moves the chains just because the Redskins have been so inconsistent at stopping people this year. Though, frankly, it’s pretty clear the winner is going to be badly outclassed next week! Both teams are -0.4 in YPP differential. That’s not playoff caliber, particularly if you weren’t facing an above average schedule. NEITHER team is playoff caliber right now…but somebody will advance to the NFC’s final four. Green Bay hopes they don’t run into Arizona again…they just got spanked on that field.
2015 Turnover Differential
Green Bay: +5
Part of why these teams are still playing. They overcame poor stats with a slight edge in the risk/reward scenario. It’s a credit to future Hall-of-Famer Rodgers that he hasn’t had a turnover implosion with so many ineffective teammates. He’s still playing smart and trying to make the best of the situation.
2015 Market Performance
Green Bay: 9-7 ATS (5-11 to the Under)
Washington: 9-7 ATS
Kind of amazing that Green Bay turned out to be a money-maker for the season. They were 9-5 ATS before those last two poor games vs. Arizona and Minnesota. We included that Under notation because the market has been slow to react to that development. Green Bay doesn’t play shootouts any more unless the opponent is committing turnovers left and right. Green Bay has to be a grinder with such little weaponry.
Current Line: Green Bay by 1, total of 45
Washington had some early report from bettors. But, sharps and squares alike have helped push this game back to the Packers side of pick-em. Tough to buy right now that Green Bay would be -4 on a neutral field, or -7 at home. Those are the standard adjustments for home field advantage in the NFL. But, all they have to do is win the game straight up with this price. A “pitching” matchup of Rodgers vs. Cousins doesn’t make that seem unreasonable.
JIM HURLEY is looking this one over very closely. Washington can be a tough team to gauge because they just beat disinterested Dallas and imploding Philadelphia to close out the year. Before that…a home win over Buffalo was nice but misleading (the Bills won yardage 452-431). Same thing a week before in a road win at Chicago (the Bears won yardage 377-374). Is Washington actually the bigger pretender? Do we have TWO pretenders and it’s better to focus on the total?
NETWORK will have the final word for all the Wildcard matchups on game day. You can always purchase JIM HURLEY’S BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about this weekend, Monday’s college championship game, or exended service, please call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 Saturday before the first game kicks off.
Next up in the NOTEBOOK, a look at key indicator stats in Monday’s college championship!
Monday: College Football CHAMPIONSHIP Preview…Alabama vs. Clemson
Tuesday: NFL Divisional Round Preview…to be determined
Thursday: NFL Divisional Round Preview…to be determined
Saturday: NFL Divisional Round Preview…to be determined
This week’s Wildcard winners will have to deal with Denver, New England, Carolina, and Arizona next week. Are there any Cinderella stories brewing? Close out your storybook season winning throughout the NFL playoffs with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!
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