I am a big believer that at this time of year, season-long stats are not a true indication of how a team or a player is performing at this moment.
Teams trend all the time, and football is very much a game of not who you play or even where you play. It's really about when you play that makes much of the difference between winning and losing at this level.
In the NFC North, if you took a look at the last three weeks, the standings would read:
- Detroit 3-0
- Minnesota 2-1
- Chicago 2-1
- Green Bay 1-2.
You might ask, well whom did they play over that period of time?
- Detroit won at Green Bay, then at home over Oakland and Philadelphia.
- The Vikings won at Oakland, lost at home to Green Bay then won at Atlanta.
- The Bears won on the road at St Louis, lost at home to Denver, then beat the Packers in Green Bay.
- The Packers lost at home to Detroit, won at Minnesota then lost at home to Chicago.
Similar schedule challenges for the NFC North teams.
If you haven’t seen them recently, you might think this Detroit team would be an easy mark for the Packers.
- 26th in points per game (21)
- 23rd in yardage (344.9)
- Last in rushing (74.5 per game)
- Minus nine on the turnover table (31st in the NFL)
Defensively, Detroit is:
- 28th in points allowed (26.2),
- 22nd in rushing yards allowed (112.5)
- 18th overall in defensive yardage (354.6 for this season)
Again, the Lions appear to be the tonic the Packers are looking for to turn around their current trend of four losses in the past five games.
However ,in the past three games the Lions have averaged 27 points per game, they get 402.5 yards per game overall, rushing for 108.5 yards and 276.6 passing yards.
Stafford has completed 65.8% of his passes with 7 touchdown passed and one interception! The Lions offense has just one giveaway in the last three games.
Defensively over that three game span, the Lions have held their opponents to just 14.3 points per game, they are giving up just 55.6 yards rushing per game (a 2.6 average) and they have produced 10 sacks.
In reality, the Packers are playing the Lions team of the past three weeks, not the team that started 1-7 and compiled those terrible season stats.
So it will be no easy task for Green Bay to even the season series with Detroit — especially in the Lions Den known as Ford Field.