I didn't see that Super Bowl coming. Just as the Packers offense couldn't get on track against the Giants, New England struggled to move the ball against them too. There were several stats that were very similar between the Packers and Patriots in their playoff games against the Giants.
|Avg. / Play||5.4||4.0|
|3rd Down %||10%||50%|
Although both the Packers and Patriots were ranked as top 5 offenses by Football Outsiders, the Packers were only great while the Patriots had one of the best offenses in NFL history. But they managed to do the same things wrong against the Giants. Both teams abandoned the run and went to the air on 70-75% of their plays. They also ended up with similar passing, rushing and total yards.
They did manage to do some things differently, both good and bad. The Patriots offensive tackles had a terrible time trying to stop DE Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora, but Packers LT Chad Clifton and RT Mark Tauchser had a great game against them. The Packers gave QB Brett Favre time to throw, something no other quarterback had against the Giants this postseason, but he struggled to find an open receiver. The Patriots did a better job getting WR Wes Welker in between defenders and finding an outlet for QB Tom Brady to convert on 3rd down, while the Packers struggled badly on 3rd down converting only 1 of 10. While the Patriots will have trouble upgrading at both tackle positions, the Packers can watch game film and show their receivers what guys like Welker did right against the Giants.
The good news for Packer fans is that there isn't much separating these three teams. With another year of experience for all the Packers' young players, and another good draft for GM Ted Thompson, the Packers should be a favorite for many going into 2008.