Packers Morning Buzz: Green Bay, Minnesota taking a home-advantage hit
Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at PackersNews.com.
We'll start with NFL.com's Bucky Brooks examining why the Packers and Vikings are two of the teams most likely to be adversely affected by the lack of fans at games due to the coronavirus.
Home-field advantage matters in the NFL. Take a look at the top home records since 2015, per NFL Research:
New England Patriots: 33-7
Kansas City Chiefs: 29-10
Minnesota Vikings: 29-11
Pittsburgh Steelers: 28-12
Green Bay Packers: 27-12-1
Baltimore Ravens: 27-13
New Orleans Saints: 27-13
Stacking wins at home helps contenders inch closer to the magic number (10) that has traditionally resulted in a playoff berth. Part of their success can be attributed to defenses taking advantage of the noise and energy from the home crowd. Pass rushers, in particular, exploit the crowd noise to "jump the snap" (anticipate the snap count) to blow past offensive tackles on speed rushes. Moreover, the NFL's premier sack artists have always punished quarterbacks when they're able to take advantage of late-reacting offensive tackles who are affected by the crowd noise.
As fate would have it, the Packers are scheduled to open the 2020 season Sept. 13 at Minnesota. Brooks writes:
The Vikings could be the team that's most impacted by a small or nonexistent home crowd. Mike Zimmer's squad has 34 more sacks at home than on the road since 2015 (125 sacks at home; 91 sacks on the road), with Danielle Hunter and others feasting on opponents overwhelmed by the raucous Minnesota crowd.
Without the usual noise and energy to tip the scales in their favor, particularly with the defense on the field, the Vikings would lose one of the biggest advantages in the league. The Steelers, Packers and Saints would also miss out on the favorable conditions that routinely help lead to Ws.
You can read more from Brooks on the topic here:
Receiver Devin Funchess became the first Packers player to opt out of the 2020 season. Tom Silverstein on what it means:
Aaron Rodgers also was asked about possibly playing for the Bears someday:
Rodgers places 16th in the NFL Top 100 countdown (two spots behind Tom Brady):
Packers running back Aaron Jones cracks the list for the first time, appropriately enough at No. 33:
A familiar name once again tops Rob Reischel's list of "Most Important Packers":
A tough blow to the Bears' defense:
And another NFC North rival loses their nose tackle:
Will the last Patriots player to opt out please turn off the lights?
And finally .... an honor for a former Packers and Bears quarterback:
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt