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Have you seen the Packers?
The Green Bay Packers are really, really good. Football Outsiders has them ranked as the 5th best offensive team, the 4th best defensive team, and the 3rd best team overall. By comparison, the San Diego Chargers are ranked 10th, 22nd, and 20th, respectively.
Not only are the Packers significantly better than the Chargers on a week-to-week basis, they have some extra added advantage of playing at home in this one.
Oh, you don't think that's a big deal? Here's Aaron Rodgers' record at home and on the road as the starting QB of the Packers:
Home (58 games): 48-10
Away (57 games): 30-27
So, even if you thought that Chargers could put together their best performance as a team and squeak out a win against these Packers, the fact that the game is in Lambeau makes this all but impossible.
(Not) Philip Rivers
Well, if we're going to look back at Rodgers' stats as a way of seeing what to expect from him in this one, we might as well look at how the Chargers' QB has fared in similar circumstances.
Home (79 games): 55-24
Away (75 games): 38-37
So much for there not being a homefield advantage at Qualcomm Stadium, eh?
Again, if this game were in San Diego, the Chargers might have a fighting chance. However, even then, Rivers' record against the Packers is a little sketchy...
2 games vs. GB: 0-2, 53/82, 691 pass yds, 7 TDs, 4 INTs
The good news? When Rivers faced the Packers in Green Bay, he was fantastic. 306 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT....and it still wasn't enough. The Chargers still lost 31-24 in heartbreak fashion (thank you, Brett Favre and Greg Jennings).
Let's dig into some more stats just for the scary hell of it:
- Rivers has a losing record (17-20) in the month of October
- Rivers has a losing record (4-6) against the NFC North
- Rivers has a losing record (33-36) in games decided by one score or less
My point here is not that Philip Rivers is not going to play well. He might! My point here is, when he's facing a team as good as the Packers on the road, it doesn't matter. The whole of their talented roster will overcome the whole of the Chargers' roster. Philip Rivers can play the game of his life and the Chargers will still likely lose.
This is not a divisional game. This is not the Broncos or the Chiefs. This one won't be close just because the two teams know each other so well. This is a significantly better team playing at home, and the Chargers have only matched up against them once in the last seven years. This is either going to be a Packers blowout, or the Chargers will lose a close one.
For this one, we're going to walk away from the stats and apply some logic.
The Green Bay Packers are playing at home and they've had a full week since their last game, which was also at home. All the team has done in the last two weeks is hang out with their friends and family, practice, win a game, practice, rest a whole bunch, eat mom's homemade pasta, and study film.
By contrast, the Chargers are playing on the road. That means they have to take a cross-country trip, eat food that's different than what they would be eating at home, miss their family, get jet-lag, sleep in a hotel bed....etc etc. That's one day spent on travel that the Packers can spend preparing and resting.
Now, add in that the Chargers played on Monday night. That takes away another day that the Packers have had to rest this week that the Chargers don't.
Now, add in that the Chargers are beaten, bruised, and not incredibly young. The Chargers are, in fact, the 21st youngest team in the NFL (that's not good), and they'll be playing on two fewer days of rest than the Packers, who are the 3rd youngest team in the NFL.
To use a very basic metaphor, the Chargers are an old boxer with a bad back, a bad record, and a few hidden injuries. The Packers are a still-undefeated, in-his-prime, Mike Tyson.
The Chargers haven't even played well this year! They needed a record-breaking comeback to beat a Detroit Lions team that is 0-5, and needed an injury to Matthew Stafford to pull it off....and they needed a second chance on a game-winning FG to just barely squeak out a win at home against the Cleveland Browns.
Even if they were as rested as the Packers will be, and even if they were playing this game at Qualcomm Stadium, there is absolutely no proof that the 2015 San Diego Chargers are any good!
This won't end well.