Entering this past weekend, the Green Bay Packers were considered by many the best team in the NFL. They were tied with Arizona for the best record in football, they had beaten New England and they had won nine of their previous 10 games.
And then they lost to the Bills in Buffalo, 21-13.
For Tiki Barber, the Packers (10-4) are no longer the top team in the league. In fact, they’re not even in his top five.
“The reality of the NFL season right now is that the Packers are going to have to go on the road (in the playoffs),” Barber said on Tiki and Tierney on CBS Sports Radio. “This Packers team, as good as they are and as good as Aaron Rodgers is – he’s most likely the MVP of the NFL season – they can’t win on the road.”
Barber may be on to something. Green Bay is a perfect 7-0 at home but a less-than-stellar 3-4 on the road. The Packers’ three road wins were a 38-17 blowout in Chicago and a pair of three-point wins at Miami and Minnesota.
What do those three teams have in common? None has a winning record. Chicago (5-9) has been lifeless for much of the season and is just 2-5 at Soldier Field, Minnesota (6-8) has been competitive but is still without Adrian Peterson and is starting a rookie quarterback, and Miami (7-7) has lost by 15+ points four times.
As for Green Bay’s road losses? Yup, all against winning teams or division leaders (or both): Seattle (10-4), Detroit (10-4) New Orleans (6-8) and Buffalo (8-6).
Even worse? Only one of those losses – the one to Buffalo – was by single digits. The Packers looked awful against the Bills, as Rodgers had arguably the worst game of his career. He finished 17-of-42 for 185 yards and two interceptions.
The Packers also dropped seven passes, were whistled for nine penalties and allowed a punt return for a touchdown. To be fair, Green Bay’s defense didn’t allow a single point. The Bills had a special teams touchdown, four field goals and a safety.
Yes, in many ways, the offense has been Green Bay’s weak link on the road. Consider: The Packers, who are second in the NFL in scoring offense (31.1 points per game), average a robust 41.1 points at home, but they average just 20.7 on the road. Even more telling? They’ve averaged just 14.8 points against Seattle, Detroit, New Orleans and Buffalo.
Well, guess who the Packers will be playing in the playoffs? Yup, winning teams and division winners. Of course, that’s assuming the Packers actually make the playoffs. As of now, they lead Philadelphia (9-5) by one game for the final Wild Card spot.
But let’s say the Packers get in. Can they win at Dallas? At New Orleans? At Seattle?
“They’re going to be on the road at some point in (the) playoffs,” Barber said, “and that worries me.”