Green Bay Packers: Key Statistics Behind the Team's 1-2 Start

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | The popularity of the National Football League has driven so much media interest that the range of opinions on any given team is usually about as wide as the Grand Canyon.

Throw a barrage of sound bites, video clips, and tweets into the mix and the true picture of a team can be about as clear as mud.

The easiest way to escape this Land of the Subjective is to focus only on the statistics a team has produced -- the numbers simply don't lie.

In the case of the Green Bay Packers, an examination of some high-level statistics through the first three games yields a very clear impression of the team's strengths and weaknesses as they prepare to take the field next Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

Offensive Statistics

According to NFL.com, the Green Bay Packers are currently the third-best team in the league in total offense. Averaging 454.7 yards per game, the Packers have clearly moved the ball successfully downfield.

Additionally, it should come as no great surprise that an offense led by Aaron Rodgers is also producing the second-most passing yards per game of any team in the NFL. The surprise with the Packers is that so far in 2013 they are also moving the ball so well on the ground.

Seemingly led by a different back each week, the team has come a long way in securing the 11th highest average number of rushing yards per game.

That rank is supported by the mind-boggling 182 yards that the Packers rolled up against the Washington Redskins during their second game of the season.

Looking further at the Packers' offense, it's clear the team has also had success putting points on the board. With an average of 32 points per game, the Green and Gold are second only to the Denver Broncos in the category.

The statistics couldn't be more clear - the Packers are gaining yards and scoring points at a rate that places their offensive unit amongst the most elite in the league.

Defensive Statistics

Looking at the defensive side of the football is where the team loses a little of its luster. As of today, the Packers overall defense ranks 28th out of 32 teams in the league in terms of average yards surrendered per game.

Giving up just over 404 yards per game on average, the Packers are one of only five teams in the league that list a "4" as the first digit in this category. The Jacksonville Jaguars, winless so far, are actually giving up fewer yards per game than the Packers.

Breaking down this statistic further reveals that the Packers have been particularly susceptible in their secondary.

The Packers defense is ranked 28th in terms of average passing yards per game but a much more palatable 8th in rushing yards allowed. In fact, the team is one of only eleven teams in the league holding their opponents to less than 100 yards per game on average.

The Next Play

Opinions abound regarding the status of the Green Bay Packers football team in 2013, but the statistics actually paint a fairly black and white picture of the team.

The Packers possess one of the more potent offenses in the league. However, they also appear to have a significant Achilles Heel - their porous pass defense.

The team and its fans are likely hoping that this weakness is largely attributable to a couple of key injuries in the secondary - namely starters Morgan Burnett and Casey Hayward.

Although this may be a reasonable assessment, one has to wonder of the flip-side of this argument doesn't equate to a worrying lack of depth at defensive back-- a reality that could considerably hamper the team down the home stretch of a long season.

One favorable trend within the statistics is that the Packers defense has shown improvement over the course of their first three games. During each successive week, the team has reduced the total number of yards surrendered. From 494 against San Francisco, to 422 against Washington, and finally just 297 against Cincinnati.

Regardless, the team must continue to tighten up their pass defense if they want to cement their status as a serious playoff contender.

Whether this occurs through different personnel or improved scheming, the Packers must also be careful not to sacrifice their existing run defense in achieving that end.

As of now, the reigning NFC North champions are sitting at 1-2 because they aren't yet playing like a complete football team. And the statistics clearly indicate the areas in which they need to improve before they can dream of bigger things.

Andrew Prochnow is a derivatives trader by day and a Green Bay Packers fan by night. He is a regular contributor at Yahoo Sports and The Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @AndrewProchnow.

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