Red Zone Efficiency on Offense & Defense Played Key Role in 2019 Success

While they had their faults, a big contributor to the Green Bay Packers' 2019 success was their efficiency in the red zone on both sides of the ball. 

Despite their success in the win-loss category and the fact that they made it to the NFC Championship Game last season, many are quick to point out the faults of the 2019 Green Bay Packers team. And just like every other NFL team, they certainly had a few on each side of the ball.

Offensively the Packers would struggle to simply gain a first down at times, there were stretches where scoring seemed nearly impossible, and statistically speaking, Aaron Rodgers was quite average.

Meanwhile on defense, they gave up way too many big plays, couldn't stop the run, and at times, opposing offenses seemed to move the ball up and down the field with ease. 

But with all of the stats and analytics used in today's game to help measure a team's success, what it ultimately comes down to is the final score. And in 13 regular season games in 2019, the Packers put more points on the board than their opponents. 

So with these inefficiencies on both sides of the ball, how did the Green Bay Packers manage to win 13 games? Well, on both offense and defense, they were really good in the red zone. 

Last season the Packers' offense was 18th in total yards and 16th in points per game, but when they made it to the red zone, they oftentimes left with seven points instead of three.

According to Team Rankings, Green Bay scored a touchdown in the red zone on 67.9 percent of their visits. This was the second-best percentage in the NFL, behind only Tennessee, and was up from the 61.7 percent they posted in 2018. 

Another metric used to measure red zone success is from Football Outsiders where they calculate the number of points a team scores per red zone trip along with the number of touchdowns a team scores per red zone trip. And once again, the Packers were among the NFL's elite last season.

In these categories, Green Bay averaged 5.37 points per red zone visit which was the fourth-best in the league and in terms of touchdowns per red zone trip, they sat at 0.653, which was again, the fourth-best in the NFL.

Although on the defensive side of the ball they would finish in the bottom half of the league in yards per game given up, they truly lived up to that bend but don't break mantra as they became very stingy inside the 20 yard line.

The Packers' defense would give up a red zone touchdown 53.7 percent of the time which ranked 11th overall - up from 19th in 2018 - but by Football Outsiders' metrics, they were even better. 

The 4.35 points per red zone appearance that they gave up ranked as the fourth-best, while the 0.5 touchdowns ranked as the sixth-best. 

It's far from rocket science but touchdowns are going to beat field goals every time, and that is essentially what this Green Bay Packers team did in 2019.

Even though the offense didn't consistently move the ball, when they had the opportunity to score a touchdown, more often than not they did. And while the defense gave up plenty of yards, they found a way to keep opponents out of the end zone. Which as I've already said, is all that really matters in the end. 

All around the Packers were one of the best red zone teams in the NFL last season and it was a major contributor to their 2019 success. Now let's see if they can put together similar performances in 2020. 

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Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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Comments (9)

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gkarl's picture

June 19, 2020 at 01:36 pm

it seems today more sports fans have become obsessed with fantasy sports. statistics drive those games and we see stats used more to explain a real teams strength or weaknesses. While I don't totally dismiss stats usefulness, you can generally come up with a stat to support any position you want to. In the end the only stat that matters is did your teams score more points, goals, runs than their opponent that game.

I hope the GBP are good in the red zone again TY, but as someone once said there are lies, damn lies and statistics. Oh and by the way I'll take McCaffery with the first pick.

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ricky's picture

June 19, 2020 at 03:27 pm

The Packers defense routinely stopped game winning drives by their opponents with extremely timely interceptions, in particular. Whether this is an anomaly, or a sign of an opportunistic defense remains to be seen. I've always been wary of statistics, since they seldom give context to their numbers. But as a wise man (or perhaps wise guy) once said, a team is as good as it's record. And the Packers were 13-3, and one game from the Super Bowl last year.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 19, 2020 at 03:38 pm

On offense, your redzone efficiency is usually determined by how good your QB is. If your QB makes good reads and can throw darts into tiny windows you’ll be good in the red zone.

Having a good RB, like LaDanien Tomlinson, helps too.

On defense, the less field you have to defend, the bigger the impact of one play.

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PatrickGB's picture

June 19, 2020 at 04:17 pm

That was a nice article to read. It made me feel better and confirmed my gut feelings about this team. Even before LaFlure as coach I read that the offense focused a lot on the red zone. Yet I am kinda surprised that the defense was effective as well. Like others, I saw all the yards that the opponent ran up on the defense but not how many times we held them to just a FG.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 19, 2020 at 05:10 pm

I kind of go drive by drive. You get maybe 10 or 11 possessions in a game. Obviously, if every drive ends in a TD, you win. If every drive ends in a FG, you probably win. But that never happens. Drives end in punts, and turnovers, and 3rd down incompletions. Some times it’ll be a penalty against the offense, or a drop or a bad throw. And every nw and then, a defender will end a drive with a big play.

So it’s not about the yards, it’s about how often those drives reach the end zone. And the shorter the field got, the better our defense executed. And that’s coaching and having the personnel you need.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 21, 2020 at 03:27 am

I agree with all of that. I would add that for the most part, the offense and defense did not make too many mistakes (miscommunications on D, turnovers and penalties on offense).

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mrj007's picture

June 19, 2020 at 06:18 pm

Live it up fans - 13 wins was more about opponents failing versus Packers excellence in the red zone. Next year ( this year) can’t come fast enough for me to see how they look. Packers have looked downright non competitive in the last two NFC championship games. To me the nest measure of a team is how they perform when it matters. I would almost rather be a 10 win team that was able to stop 3td down conversations and move the ball when necessary in 4th qtr. I don’t think this is a bad read as an article- but I want to see the team in action before deciding whether I think they are good or not regardless of their position on the field

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Bearmeat's picture

June 20, 2020 at 09:09 pm

Look. I'm more glass half empty guy than most. But they did make it to three NFC CGs in the past 6 years. Name me another non-Patriots team that's done that.

Ted didn't go for broke and get them over the hump when he should have, and something went on between 12 and MM that poisoned the water hole. But there's no doubt they have been very good and borderline dominant since 2009.

I am skeptical that this continues post-ARod and expect the team to regress this year. But that doesn't mean everything sucks.

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murf7777's picture

June 20, 2020 at 09:25 am

Bearmeat….I would say you are a moderate, non half empty and non half full.

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