Scouting Report: Packers Offense Senior NFL Analyst Ed Thompson drills down on the results posted so far by the Green Bay Packers offense as they prepare to host the Minnesota Vikings. Read his scouting report for the big trends and stats that could influence the outcome of Sunday's big game.

Offensive possessions
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 percent).

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.

Negative yards
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.

Also noteworthy
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 or more.

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 network and at 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.

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