What Does History Say About Packers' Offense?

Is there nowhere to go but down for a team that scored the second-most points in NFL history? Two games into this season is too early to render that verdict, so Packer Report turned to history as we examined the encores for the highest-scoring teams of the Super Bowl era.

After a 560-point output that ranks second in NFL history, the Green Bay Packers' offense looks very ordinary through the first two games of this season.

Maybe it's just a blip on the radar. However, history shows this might be the start of a season-long trend.

Packer Report looked at the 13 highest-scoring teams in the Super Bowl era, based on points per game. The list includes last year's Packers and Saints, the 10 teams that broke the 500-point barrier and the 1966 Cowboys. Examining the full-season encores to those prolific years, those 11 teams combined to score an astounding 1,137 fewer points.

(To arrive at that number, we did some projection of the explosive 1982 Chargers, who scored 288 points in the nine-game strike season. Using their average of 32.0 points per game, we gave them 512 for a 16-game season, which meant a 154-point reduction in 1983.)

Six of the 11 teams scored at least 100 less points, including four teams by at least 154. Only the high-flying Rams, with their historic three-year run, saw their scoring increase from one season to the next.

36.8: New England (2007)

The year after: With Matt Cassel replacing reigning MVP Tom Brady after his season-ending injury, the Patriots plunged to 25.6 points per game. Put in another way, they went from No. 1 in the Super Bowl era to eighth in the league in 2008. The 179-point decrease is the second-most severe on this list.

35.0: Green Bay (2011)

The year after: It's early but the Packers have scored 45 points in two games. They scored at least that many on five occasions last season. Their average of 22.5 points per game includes two touchdowns by the special teams. They're tied for 18th in scoring.

34.8: Minnesota (1998)

The year after: Randall Cunningham couldn't rekindle the magic, going 2-4 in six starts before getting benched. Jeff George had his best season (8-2 record, 23 touchdowns, 12 interceptions) but the Vikings finished fifth with 24.9 per game — a decrease of 157 points.

34.2: New Orleans (2011)

The year after: The Saints have scored 59 points. However, Drew Brees has completed just 54.5 percent of his passes after a record-setting 71.2 percent last season. He's got four touchdowns and four interceptions after 46 touchdowns and 14 interception a year ago.

33.8: Washington (1983)

The year after: The Redskins fell to third in the league with 26.6 points per game. John Riggins' touchdown total fell from 24 to 14 and reigning MVP Joe Theismann fell from 3,714 yards, 29 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and 8.3 yards per attempt during his MVP season to 3,391 yards, 24 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and 6.9 per attempt.

33.8: St. Louis (2000)

The year after: The Rams posted perhaps the best three-year run of offensive prowess in NFL history, with the 1999, 2000 and 2001 teams being three of the 11 squads to score more than 500 points. In 2001, Kurt Warner won his second MVP award in three years as the Rams averaged 31.4 points.

32.9: St. Louis (1999)

The year after: The Rams are the exception on this list, going from all-time great one season to even a little better the next with their 33.8 points per game ranking fourth in the Super Bowl era. Warner won MVP awards in 1999 and 2001. In 2000, however, Warner started 11 games and threw 21 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Not so good, but MVP Marshall Faulk picked up the slack with 2,189 total yards and a record 26 total touchdowns.

32.6: Indianapolis (2004)

The year after: The Colts finished a respectable second with 27.4 per game and improved from 12-4 to 14-2. Indy, however, was shocked in the divisional playoffs by Pittsburgh. Reigning MVP Peyton Manning went from what was the highest passer rating in NFL history — the 121.1 broken last year by Aaron Rodgers — to 104.1, which still led the league but included 21 fewer touchdown passes than his record 49.

32.1: Miami (1984)

The year after: After losing to San Francisco in Super Bowl XIX, the Dolphins finished fourth with 26.8 per game and lost to New England in the AFC title game. Dan Marino went from then-records of 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns to 4,137 yards and 30 touchdowns.

32.0: San Diego (1982)

The year after: The Chargers scored 288 points in nine games during the strike-interrupted 1982 season. In 1983, the Chargers scored just 70 additional points and fell to 22.4 per game. Why? Dan Fouts played missed six games.

31.8: Dallas (1966)

The year after: The Cowboys scored 103 fewer points, finishing sixth (out of 16 teams) with 24.4 per game. The postseason result was the same: The high-flying 1966 team lost 34-27 to Green Bay in the championship game; the modest-scoring 1967 team lost 21-17 in the Ice Bowl.

31.6: San Francisco (1994)

The year after: The 49ers led the NFL in scoring again, their total falling a modest 48 points to 28.6 per game as reigning MVP Steve Young missed five games and went from 35 touchdowns and 10 interceptions to 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. San Francisco was ousted 27-17 by Green Bay in a defining moment for the Holmgren-Favre Packers.

31.4: St. Louis (2001)

The year after: The "Greatest Show on Turf" wasn't so great in 2002, falling to a meager 19.8 per game and a 7-9 record. The 187-point plunge was most on this list. Warner was one of four quarterbacks to start games, going 0-6 with three touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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