Packers: Red zone performance is key to success in 2020

Green Bay Packers, Kevin King (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Kevin King (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Packers need to be strong in the red zone this season.

A key part of winning close games is coming up with big plays at crucial moments. The Green Bay Packers were masters of that last season, which helped them go onto win 13 games and regain the NFC North title.

Many of those key plays came in the red zone, both on offense and defense.

When the Packers offense was in the red zone last season, they regularly found the end zone. According to Team Rankings, Green Bay scored touchdowns on 67.86 percent of its trips to the red zone, the second-highest in the NFL.

Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus recently ranked the top 10 red zone offenses and defenses from the 2019 season based on EPA (expected points added). The Packers were in the top 10 of both categories, eighth-best on offense and fifth-best on defense.

On offense, it should come as a no surprise. Aaron Jones was dominant near the goal line, which helped him put up a league-best 16 rushing touchdowns last season. Davante Adams has also been consistently one of the best red zone targets in the NFL over the past few years, which is highlighted by the fact he’s scored 40 touchdowns since the start of 2016.

On defense, Kevin King had a phenomenal year. He made play after play, from crucial interceptions to game-winning pass breakups. King finished the season with five interceptions and 15 pass defenses. According to PFF, he had the highest grade in the red zone among all cornerbacks.

While Green Bay’s defense gave up a lot of yards, it often came up with the key stop it needed in the red zone, forcing opponents to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns. And while the offense was inconsistent, they made their red zone trips count.

Replicating this success in the red zone won’t be easy. But if the Packers can be strong in the red zone again in 2020, they’ll be set up for another strong season.