6 Stats to Know About the Packers Going into the Playoffs

With the NFL Playoffs just about here, these are six telling stats about this Green Bay Packers team that you need to know. 

Despite the Green Bay Packers finishing the regular season at 13-3, winners of the NFC North, while also clinching a first-round bye, many are still wondering how good this team truly is. In the analytics driven world that we live in, there is plenty of data out there to measure what an NFL team is good at and also what they struggle with. But with so much information, it can be difficult to know what stats to look at and what stats to disregard. So what I did was I took six stats that I believe give an accurate representation of this Green Bay Packers team, and their performance in these key areas during the playoffs will be big factors in determining how much success they have.  

Red Zone Efficiency on Offense and Defense

This season the defense has given up quite a few big plays and at times a lot of yards, while the offense has struggled to find consistency in the passing game. However, they are still 13-3 and a big reason for their overall success is due to their play in the red zone, both on offense and on defense.

Offensively, the Green Bay Packers have scored a red zone touchdown on 64 percent of their visits. This ranks as the eighth best percentage in the NFL and for a much of the year they were in the top five, but in recent weeks they've been less efficient which has dropped them slightly in the rankings. Their 64 percent success rate is also 3 percent higher than it was in 2018.

Meanwhile on the defensive side of the ball, despite the chunk yardage plays that they've allowed, the Packers have been able to lock it down in the red zone. This year Green Bay is allowing a red zone touchdown just 50 percent of the time, which is the eighth lowest percentage in football and a much better performance than we saw from them in 2018 when opponents were scoring a touchdown nearly 61 percent of the time. 

Sacks Allowed

In 2018 both Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari missed some time due to injuries, and between a beat-up Lane Taylor and the revolving door that was Byron Bell, the guard play was sub-par, to say the least. And while not every sack was the offensive line's fault since Aaron Rodgers does have a tendency to hold on to the ball too long, they did still allow 53 sacks, the third most in football for 2018. However, this season has been a different story. The offensive line unit has been relatively healthy, while Elgton Jenkins and Billy Turner have helped solidify the guard positions. 

In total, Rodgers was sacked just 36 times this season compared to the 53 from 2018 and his average time to throw of 2.88 seconds, is the sixth longest out of all quarterbacks. Also worth pointing out is that Green Bay's adjusted sack rate has dropped over 2 percent from last season as well. Even with all the changes that have taken place this offseason and the fact that some of the burden is now off of Rodgers' shoulders, this Packers team will only go as far as he takes them. And that all starts with keeping him upright. 

Run/Pass Percentage

One of the major issues from last season's Packers team was their predictability and reliance on Rodgers to carry this offense. In 2018 Green Bay led the NFL in passing percentage, throwing the ball 67.5 percent of the time. But under Matt LaFleur, that number has dropped to 59.7 percent and ranks 17th overall. For one, the more balanced attack has eliminated some of that predictability and has helped keep defenses off-balance, but also it's allowed them to involve Aaron Jones more often which was a must after how underutilized he was in 2018. Not to mention that life is a little easier for Rodgers.

Points per Game Allowed

This stat ties into the defense's red zone performance, but they've been very good this season at not giving up a ton of points. To be exact, the Packers are allowing just 19.6 points per game, the ninth fewest this season. In fact, they've been even better over their last five games as they've given up an average of only 14.2 points per game during that span. As I mentioned previously, while they can give up the big plays and yards, in the end they are keeping points off the board, which is all that really matters. 

Third Down Efficiency

A concern this season has been the offense's inability to consistently move the ball and put points on the board which stems from their lack of efficiency on third downs. Through the regular season, the Packers rank 23rd and have converted on only 35.9 percent of their third down attempts and if they hope to make a run at the Super Bowl, that is going to have to improve. The good news is that Allen Lazard is turning into a reliable target for Rodgers on third downs and one way that they can make life easier on themselves is by putting themselves in more manageable situations by having success on first and second downs. 

Turnover Differential

The Green Bay Packers rank fourth in the NFL this season with a turnover differential of +11. Now a big reason for that is due to Rodgers being so careful with the football but this has also been a very opportunistic defense. In addition to coming away with a turnover at what always seems to be just the right time, they've also totaled 25 this season which ranks as the eighth most in football. It's a no brainer that for the Packers to have postseason success they'll need to win the turnover battle but it is something that they've been doing all season long. 

 

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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 (26)

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porupack's picture

January 02, 2020 at 06:55 am

Good perspective Paul. As often said this year, this team lacks an identity. You give 6 bright spots, and is sort of an identity. If those 6 trends continue (or increase), then we have a reasonable bet for another couple wins or better.

I agree, the 3rd down conversion rate is very troubling, and one stat that has to improve.

Did you consider any other stat, and/or something involving AJones (besides Run/pass balance)? Seems that GB should have a stat regarding the production from RB, that would also show why they are 13-3. Aaron Jones is commonly cited as the key to many of the recent wins (when he is given the opps).
Perhaps the stats are too distributed between pass/run, and between Williams/Jones, that we don't have a good stat that stands out?

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Packers2019's picture

January 02, 2020 at 10:38 am

This comes down to not having a #2 WR option and AR being less accurate on balls over 20 yards. Lazard has to step up in the playoffs as well as AR has to improve.

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ricky's picture

January 02, 2020 at 07:05 am

Key takeaway: the only stat that matters is who has more points at the end of the game. The rest is for show.

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pacman's picture

January 02, 2020 at 07:52 am

I hope the Packers will use this extra time to learn how to protect the ball from being punched out. I don't recall seeing players do that so directly as much as I've seen these last few weeks. And the flip side for the defense - this seems to be a very effective way to cause a fumble.

If we keep the ball out of Geronimo's hands, that should help a lot.

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ShooterMcGee's picture

January 02, 2020 at 09:48 am

When Gmo isn't dropping balls he seems to be fumbling. I hold my breath when the ball goes to him. At least they stopped calling his number on jet sweeps and wr screens, he is just too slow to gain yards on these plays. Not sure what he brings to the team anymore.

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Bure9620's picture

January 02, 2020 at 07:53 pm

Or not getting open, Allison is one of the least efficient receivers in the league. He is slow, does not create separation, has drops and fumbles

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ShooterMcGee's picture

January 02, 2020 at 09:48 am

When Gmo isn't dropping balls he seems to be fumbling. I hold my breath when the ball goes to him. At least they stopped calling his number on jet sweeps and wr screens, he is just too slow to gain yards on these plays. Not sure what he brings to the team anymore.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

January 02, 2020 at 08:11 am

I believe health and luck are two “intangible” contributors to our 13-3 record as well. In the long run both probably even out, but it seems that we’ve had bad luck, bad calls, and bad health for most of the decade. This year it seems like we are benefiting from many of these.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

January 02, 2020 at 09:26 am

Health is huge. The Packers have had a terrible run with injuries for at least the last 4 seasons. Hopefully the bye is enough to get Williams back and get the OL ready to go. It's definitely a big change from 2015-16, where the Packers limped in and had to play with what looked like a preseason roster.

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Lare's picture

January 02, 2020 at 11:28 am

In reality, finding ways to keep players healthy is one of the biggest parts of being an NFL head coach these days. It's one the most successful elements of MLF's coaching this season. Because, if he doesn't find ways to keep them healthy he'll have to find ways to win without them.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 02, 2020 at 09:14 am

I know Rodgers understands the opportunity they have this post-season. He hasn't been deep in the playoffs since 2015 when they lost to the Falcons. I'm optimistic that he's going to step up, play the offense, get the ball out on time and try to make the most of this opportunity because he has no guarantees he will see another one like it.

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murf7777's picture

January 02, 2020 at 09:20 am

Thanks for the stats. Wish it was easier to find trending stats like last 6 games, etc.

Here are reasons I think are reasons we have a reasonable chance to reach the big dance.
1. The D is playing excellent ball. 14.5 points given up per game over the past 5.
2. Our front 7 is creating consistent pressure without having to blitz. Think NYG and Philly SB runs. Nothing pretty there but created consistent pressure with 4 guys.
3. Lazard and Rodgers seem to be getting in sync.
4. Aaron Jones
5. Rodgers and the team controlling the ball without many turnovers.
6. The team is healthy.
7. Zman- Za’Darius Smith, he’s a difference maker you have to have to make a run.

There are many reasons to state why they might not, but I choose to think of ways they can. Will they blow people out, history shows not, but nothing wrong with “winning ugly” all the way to the dance. Brace yourself for some nail biting and close games.

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murf7777's picture

January 02, 2020 at 11:25 am

Thanks Dobber!

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Matt Gonzales's picture

January 02, 2020 at 01:21 pm

Re: 2 and 7, Pettine moving Z around and then having Gary start to come on stronger have been huge this last quarter of the season. I would expect we will see more of this to rattle QBs and hopefully either get home with the pass rush or force some QB errors.

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Spock's picture

January 02, 2020 at 10:19 am

Nice article Paul. The third down stat is the most concerning, the red-zone efficiency the brightest spot. One comment for you unrelated to the story: you might want to look at your picture above; it's a "reverse image" and you and your wife(?) have the Packer "G" showing backwards, lol.

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MoreOpportunitiesToLove's picture

January 02, 2020 at 11:47 am

Appreciate the article Paul. It was a very, very interesting read. I didn't realize the Packer's rate of conversion was that low. Also the fact the Rodgers holds onto the ball for 2.88 seconds before throwing and that is among the highest rates in the league. The O-Line did an amazing job in light of that stat. Looking forward to playoff football.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 02, 2020 at 09:31 pm

The third down conversion rate is misleading because we weren’t in 3rd down as much as a lot of teams.

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albert999's picture

January 02, 2020 at 11:50 am

100 yards rushing against lions and 55 pass attempts only 1 sack
That’s some stout numbers for and OL
GO PACK GO

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dobber's picture

January 02, 2020 at 12:36 pm

The Packers were break even on +/- a year ago. With almost the same number of giveaways this year they're +12. 2018 would have been a very different season if they could've managed a +5 or +6, and you have to believe that if they were only +5 or +6 this season, they might be on the outside looking in on the playoffs.

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Lphill's picture

January 02, 2020 at 01:27 pm

So how about a fairytale ending for the Packers, they play the Saints in Lambeau and the weather hinders the Saints , Packers win , now the Packers face the 49 ers at San Fran and Aaron Rodgers shows up and breaks their hearts finally ,and Packers win by 3 . Onto the Super Bowl to face the Patriots who find a way as usual , Packers win beating the Pats for the second time. Never say never.

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WMA's picture

January 02, 2020 at 01:58 pm

Ravens will win the AFC.

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Lphill's picture

January 02, 2020 at 02:35 pm

I am not so sure about the Ravens yet.

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murf7777's picture

January 03, 2020 at 06:17 am

LP....love that scenario, I placed a bet the Pats and packers go to the SB I win $2500!

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TXCHEESE's picture

January 02, 2020 at 04:26 pm

I know most of us didn't expect this much success this year, so a post season game in Lambeau is gravy. That being said, as healthy as this team is, there aren't any excuses for not making it to Miami, provided they stay healthy through the post season. One thing GB does have going for it, whether we like it or not, is they have experience in playing tight games in the 4th quarter, and have been remarkably resilient in that respect.

I agree with the comments above, if Rodgers will take the short stuff, and get the offense in a rhythm first, he'll have opportunities to get the shot play.

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bjkdad44's picture

January 02, 2020 at 07:44 pm

I just want to know who are the teams ranked ahead of the Packers in the various categories discussed...

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