Don't expect to see many three-downs-and-out situations. They've only punted
the ball after their first three plays 16.2 percent of the time, second-best in
the league. But on the opposite side of the coin, this isn't a grind-it-out
offense that puts together lengthy drives. They've put together just six drives
of ten plays or more, roughly half under the league average of 11.
Starting a drive inside their own 20-yard-line isn't a problem for this team.
They're the fifth-best at putting points on the board after starting a drive
that deep in their own territory, scoring a touchdown on 21.7 percent of those
possessions and on 26.1 percent when you include field goals. .
No team has had more opportunities to start a drive inside their opponents'
20-yard line than the Packers so far this season. The offense has trotted onto
the field with that enviable field position seven times and have cashed in six
times for a total of 34 points (four touchdowns, two field goals).
Beyond all else, it's important to force this team to start a drive in their
half of the field, because when they take over possession anywhere on the
opposite side of the 50-yard line, they score 91.7 percent of the time. That's
the best rate in the NFL versus a league average of just 60.9 percent.
When you look at the percentage of drives that result in a touchdown, the
offense is tied for tenth in the NFL. They're fourth in converting drives into
field goals, and sixth overall after scoring on 28 out of 68 possessions (41.2
This team moves the ball well as reflected by their 376.3 yards per game,
placing them in the top 25 percent in the league. They have good balance of
talent as indicated by their 13th ranking in rushing (118 yards per game) and
their No. 10 ranking in passing (258.3 yards per game).
The Packers' overall mix is 44 percent run plays, 56 percent pass plays,
which mirrors the league average.
By the downs
On first-and-10, this team has a dead-even mix of runs versus pass plays to
keep defenses guessing. But it hasn't worked out all that well for them. They
are ranked 23rd in yards gained on first down with an average of 4.78 yards per
play. A damaging factor is that 12 of their league-worst 25 sacks allowed have
occurred on first down.
Second down is an important snap as Green Bay converts a third-best 37.2
percent of those plays into first downs. But it's interesting to note that
they're actually at their best when they need four yards or more on second down,
not in a short-yardage situation. Their 5.88 yards gained per play on second
down is seventh-best in the NFL.
The Packers are ninth in the league in third-down conversions with a
43.1-percent success rate. They've converted a second-best 85.7 percent when
needing only a yard and are fourth-best at 70 percent when needing just 2-3
yards. But get this. They are the best team in the league at converting a third
down when they are 6-9 yards away (61.9 percent), but third-worst in the NFL
when needing 10 yards or more. The Packers have converted just two of 25 chances
when faced with a third and ten-plus yards situation (8%). Overall, they are the
best in the league at average yards gained on third down (9.36 yards).
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has thrown just two interceptions this season.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Teams aren't going to get many turnover opportunities to feast on when they
play Green Bay.
While the average NFL team has fumbled away possession 11 times, the Packers
are tied for fourth in holding onto the football with just seven fumbles lost.
They've thrown just two interceptions, second to only Denver in that category.
This is a problem area for this offense, primarily due to the 25 sacks they've
allowed for a total of 164 yards. They've also had 18 rush plays that resulted
in a total of 30 yards lost, but that's a good mark that ranks them eighth-best.
But when you add it all up, their negative-yardage plays are the worst total in
the league and has set them back 194 yards.
This team also shoots itself in the foot frequently with penalties. The
Packers offense is third in drawing penalty flags (55), and has been penalized
the second-highest total yardage of any team in the NFL (429 yards).
Inside the red zone
Inside the opponent's 20-yard line, the Packers sputter when faced with
third-down situations. They've converted just two of ten plays in that
situation, putting them in a tie for the seventh-worst mark in the league.
Their overall performance in the red zone is just average, with nine of their
20 red zone possessions resulting in a touchdown. They've had to settle for a
field goal on seven other occasions.
The Packers don't stray from their even distribution of play calls just
because they're closer to scoring. In that area of the field they've run the
ball 27 times and thrown it 29 times.
With a first-and-goal inside their opponent's five yard line, the Packers
have scored four out of six times. Three of those four scores were on runs. They
are tied for eighth in goal-to-go situations overall, scoring seven touchdowns
and three field goals on 13 chances.
The Packers don't need many plays to score. It takes them an average of six
plays and 2 minutes and 45 seconds to put points on the board--and both marks
are second-best in the league. But part of the reason for that is they often
don't have to cover much ground to get in scoring position. Their average
scoring drive covers just 48.6 yards, 28th in the league.
With 147 offensive points scored so far, this offense is ranked 11th. They've
scored five touchdowns by rushing, 11 through the air, and have successfully
booted 12 field goals.
Green Bay's offense has been slightly more productive in the first half,
averaging 20 points per game versus 14 in the second half. Contributing to that
situation is the fact that the offense doesn't do much with their first touch of
the ball in the second half, mustering just three points off of those drives so
far. That's the fifth-worst total in the NFL.
Their two-minute offense is ranked 17th, scoring six points (2 field goals)
during eight possessions.
When this team wins, they win big. Their average margin of victory is 19.75
points, third-best in the league.
The receivers as a group are preventing this team from being even more
successful in the passing game. They are the fifth-worst in the league when it
comes to dropping catchable passes with 17 this season (12.2 percent). That
sends this offense back to the bench prematurely more often than it should.
Blitzing this team can result in high risk or high reward. Against the blitz,
they have a 75-percent completion rate and a league-best passer rating of 125.6.
But they've also yielded nine sacks in those situations--13.8 percent of the
plays, which is the second-worst rate in the league.
The Packers have converted just four of seven field goal attempts of 40 yards
Guards Allen Barbre and Daryn Colledge have allowed 6.5 and 5.75 sacks
respectively in six starts. That's nearly half of the team's total of 25. No
other Packers lineman has allowed more than two sacks.
Fast facts about key players
QB Aaron Rodgers: He's entering this week's game with a phenomenal 142.6
passer rating on third down. And he's tied for fifth in passes of 20-plus yards
with 24 completions that averaged 35.7 yards. But he's completed just 48.3
percent of his throws in the final two minutes of games.
RB Ryan Grant: Watch him work in the second half where he averages 5.2 yards
per carry versus just 3.2 yards in the first 30 minutes of play.
WR Donald Driver: Watch him on first down where he's caught 10 of 14 passes
thrown his direction for an average gain of 21.4 yards.
WR Greg Jennings: He's caught seven of nine third-down throws for an average
gain of 24.1 yards and a score.
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A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com. Statistics referenced in this article are provided by STATS, LLC. Copyright 2009 by STATS, LLC. Any use or distribution of such Licensed Materials without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.