Another 10-6 season for the Green Bay Packers?

Over the last few seasons, I think I have been more optimistic than the norm when predicting what I thought the Green Bay Packers final record would be.  This season I think I am more pessimistic.

Most Packer fans and NFL prognosticators I have talked to or listened to are expecting nothing worse than a 12-4 season from the World Champions. I do not agree. I think those predictions reflect confirmation bias (they just saw the Packers win the Super Bowl) and inadequate attention to the NFL’s unbalanced scheduling system. 

The Packers collective 2010 opponent strength was approximately that of a 7-9 team, meaning a 0.500% team would likely go 9-7 against it.  In pythagorean terms, the 2010 Packers were close to an 11.6 win team, meaning they were about an 11 win team (in absolute terms), let’s say.

The collective strength of the 2011 Packers schedule is a little better than that of a 9-7 team.  Meaning, a 0.500% team would expect to finish with about a 7-9 record against the same schedule.  Thus if the Packers perform as well as they did last season, they would still have to be a little fortunate to finish with the same 10-6 record. 

But I think the Packers are stronger this season than last, so I think they will finish with a 10-6 record.  Whatifsports, the simulation engine that correctly chose the Packers as 2010 World Champions prior to the 2010 season, agrees with me. 

So, I think the Packers will play better this season than they did last season, but I also think they will disappoint those Packer faithful that judge such matters in absolute rather than relative terms. 

Two different football seasons, unlike two different baseball or basketball seasons, cannot be compared as though they were both apples, because they rarely are.


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