Commentary

The overrated Green Bay Packers

They are the best team in the NFL, but historical comparisons are way off the mark

Originally Published: November 3, 2011
By Aaron Schatz | Football Outsiders
Aaron Rodgers(AP Photo/Pouya DianatThere hasn't been much to dislike about Aaron Rodgers' play in the first half of the season.

The Green Bay Packers are the best team in the NFL this season. At the same time, the Packers are overrated. Those sentences may sound silly together, but both of them are true.

"Overrated" is a word we often use in sports analysis, but it's a complicated one. If we write about a team being "good," what matters is only that team's quality. But if we want to call a team "overrated," now two things matter: How good is the team, and how good does conventional wisdom say the team is?

Sometimes, you have a team that you can call "overrated" because it is a mediocre team that the public considers to be a good team. That's the case with Green Bay's opponent this week, the San Diego Chargers. But you also could have a very good team that the public considers to be historically great -- that's the case with the Packers.

Yes, the Packers are the best team in the league this year and not just because they are undefeated. They also lead the league in point differential (plus-89) and Football Outsiders' advanced play-by-play metric, DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average, which is explained here).


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