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Green Bay Packers 24  Philadelphia Eagles 9

  • Trevor Davis might be the answer at punt returner
  • 1st team defense struggles in their only series
  • Kevin King and Josh Jones show flashes
  • Deangelo Yancey looks good
  • Mike McCarthy accuses the Eagles of two dirty hits – one on Randall and one on Dupree.
  • Brett Goode is back. Does that help quell some special teams worries? Did you have any in the first place?
  • Thoughts of the NFL’s relatively new found phobia of playing starters in the Preseason. Does
    losing the time hurt starters early in the season?
  • Rookie QBs shine - Trubisky, Mahomes, Watson, and Kizar all looked good
  • Thoughts on Rams and Lions new uniforms 
  • How long should the Packers hang on to Brett Hundley? Does he have a future in the league as a
    successful starter?
  • Will the Chargers fail in Los Angeles?
  • What If...? Returns! - What if Ray Lewis had been drafted by the Packers in 1996?
  • What are we watching in Washington?
 
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This is an update to an article originally posted in 2014. Since that time, the Packers three preseasons have fit right in line with the premise of the original article. It also should get us excited for the season since the 1-0 Packers are already on their way to a successful preseason.

 

“Winning doesn’t matter. It’s only preseason.”

We’ve all heard it. Heck we’ve all said it. During the month of August, words like these are a common way for sportswriters, television pundits, and anxious fans to reel in enthusiasm for wins, explain away poor performances, or just be plain lazy. No one takes the preseason seriously, but should they?

I took a look at every Packers preseason record since 1978. I started there because it was the first year when the 4-game preseason/16-game regular season schedule was established. It also gives us a decent-sized sample of 39 seasons to work with. For the purposes or producing a meaningful sample, I also combined the undefeated and winless preseason teams with the next closest groups.Does the preseason matter? Let’s find out.

 

When the Packers win 3 or more preseason games…

The Packers have won 3 or more preseason games 13 times since 1978. The results were as follows: Presason_3_Wins.png

When Green Bay wins 3 or more preseason games, it usually means we’re in store for a fun season.

 

The Packers have gone undefeated in the preseason just twice since 1978. In 1997, as the defending Super Bowl Champions, Green Bay won all 5 of their preseason games. That season ended with a 13-3 record return trip to the Super Bowl. Two years later in 1999, new head coach Ray Rhodes led the team to a 4-0 August campaign. This team was far less successful, as the team finished just 8-8. Two seasons is not enough to draw any conclusions on, but it is worth noting that both of these teams were playoff contenders with non-losing seasons.

 

Green Bay has won 3 preseason games 10 times in the last 39 years. Seven those went on to the playoffs. Two others just barely missed the playoffs (1981 by one game, 1989 by a tiebreaker). Only the 1979 Packers had a truly bad season and were they only team on this list not to at least be in contention for a playoff spot on the season’s final Sunday. Overall, when the Packers win 3 or more preseason games, they average 10.6 regular season wins and make the playoffs 67% of the time. These teams also average 0.92 playoff wins per season. So not only does 3 wins usually mean playoffs, it usually means advancing in the playoffs.

 

When the Packers win 2 preseason games…
Presason_2_Wins.png
*Season Shortened to 9 games due to players strike

While winning just half your games is not optimal in the regular season, winning 2 of four games in a small preseason window seems to still be a good indication that you have a quality team. 8 of the 12 Packer teams that won 2 preseason games made the playoffs. With the exception of the outlier seasons in 1991 and 2005, a .500 preseason mark typically has meant good things. Historically, a Packers team with a 2-win preseason can expect to win 9.4 regular season games and have a 67% chance of reaching the playoffs. These teams combined to win on average of 0.83 playoff games per season (though nearly half of the wins come from the 2010 Super Bowl Championship team. By removing that group, the average drops to 0.5 wins per season).

 

When the Packers win 1 or fewer preseason games… Presason_1_Win.png

The Packers have won 1 or fewer preseason games 14 times since 1978. Unfortunately, the lack of preseason success has typically been a precursor for things to come when the real games start. The teams of the past that mustered one or fewer preseason victories usually couldn’t produce many regular season victories either. Only 5 of the 14 teams in this bunch produced winning records. Only 3 of those were able to make the playoffs. Those were among the weakest Green Bay teams to ever reach the playoffs, producing just one playoff win combined. While not a death sentence, the average 0 or 1 win preseason leads to a regular season campaign that contains a mere 7.2 wins and just a 23% chance of reaching the playoffs.

 

Preseason_Graph.png

 

Preseason_Chart.png

 

What about the rest of the league… Believe it or not, the rest of the league follows a similar trend. I did a similar study about the entire league since 1978 two years ago. If you just want a quick recent summary, nearly 80% of playoff teams since 2002 had non-losing records in the preseason (39 of 180). Chances are, if you are talented enough to make the playoffs, your reserves are talented enough to at least squeak out a couple of preseason wins. 

 

So what does this all mean?
In the end, this data doesn’t assure anything for the 2017 Packers. Preseason success does not guarantee a successful season, but it historically has correlated to regular season success. My theory is that preseason wins are a reflection of the overall talent level of your team. As we’ve seen in recent years, injuries are a bigger part of the game than ever. When your backups and role players can consistently outperform their counterparts on other teams, you likely have a strong roster across the board that can be called on to effectively fill holes during the season without greatly dropping the relative quality of your team. So in the end, the preseason game results matter…at least a little bit. But make no mistake, this is likely only true if you play the preseason normally. You can't Steve Spurrier you way to success by playing your starters the whole game in order to crush their backups. But if your backups can win consistently, it often means good things.

 

Eric Drews
Host
Green and Gold Forever
@GreenGold4Ever

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2017 Green Bay Packers Offseason

  • Chris Czarnik joins Green and Gold Forever! We talk Chris’ coaching background.
  • Ted finally goes to Free Agency for Veteran Help.
  • The Packers 2017 Draft Class is Star-Studded. Who will be the stars over the long term?
  • What concerns us about the 2017 season? What are we optimistic about?
  • 2017 Green Bay Packers predictions. Will they win enough to get Homefield Advantage? Will they win the Super Bowl?
  • Tom Brady is now 40 years old. History suggests he will get bad soon and fast.
  • Chris explains how the mentality is different among Packer fans who grew up in the 1970s.
  • “Break up the Steelers!” said young Chris in the 1970s.
  • What are we looking for in the Packers’ first preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles?

 

 
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