The Green Bay Packers have been dominant at home – until last season, anyway – and they’ve been pretty darned good away from Lambeau Field, as well.
Behind a sweep of their NFC North rivals, the Packers went 5-3 on the road last season. That marked the fifth time in Mike McCarthy’s 10 seasons as coach that they posted a winning record on the road. Moreover, they finished .500 three times, meaning they’ve struggled to a losing record away from Lambeau just twice during his tenure.
In regular-season play, Green Bay is 45-35 on the road under McCarthy. That .563 winning percentage trails only New England’s .688, Indianapolis’ .575 and Philadelphia’s .569 during that 10-year span. In 2010, the Packers won at Philadelphia, Atlanta and Chicago en route to winning the Super Bowl, and they won at Washington in last year’s playoffs. Including postseason, the Packers’ 31 road wins over the past five seasons trails only New England’s 32.
“It’s tough but I think it can galvanize a team when you’re going in a hostile environment,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said before last year’s playoff win at Washington. “Those are the fun wins. There’s not much better – obviously, we’re spoiled to play in Lambeau – but the feeling you have, a road win and that flight back, is a pretty special feeling that any former player would tell you is right at the top of the football mountain.”
Rodgers has been front and center in the Packers’ road success. According to Pro Football Reference, among quarterbacks with 600 career regular-season passing attempts, Rodgers’ road passer rating of 98.7 trails only Seattle’s Russell Wilson (99.5) in NFL history. For some perspective, only eight quarterbacks in NFL history have a rating of better than 90. Rodgers’ career rate of 3.02 touchdowns for every interception is first.
The Packers were one of 10 teams to finish better than .500 on the road last year. Not surprisingly, nine of those teams qualified for the playoffs, with Chicago being the lone exception.
The Packers could be poised for more road success this season. While teams tend to rise and fall up and down the standings every year, Green Bay plays only two road games against teams that finished with winning records last year: at Minnesota in Week 2 and at Washington in Week 11. The Packers, of course, beat both of those teams on the road last season. The combined record of their eight road opponents is 56-72, a winning percentage of just .438.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” Matthews said of winning on the road. “It’s obviously gratifying to win at home in front of the fans and everything. But especially when you go on the road, the odds are stacked against you and you’re considered the underdog. To do it in front of their stadium, fans and city and send them home packing, it’s a great feeling.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.