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Rodgers, Jones, Wilson Are Red-Zone Superstars

Red-zone play will be critical when the Green Bay Packers host the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday's playoff game
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – One of the big battles in Sunday’s NFC Divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field will be waged in the red zone.

When Seattle has the ball

Offensively, Seattle is ninth with a red-zone touchdown rate of 63.3 percent. Defensively, Green Bay is tied for sixth with a touchdown rate of 50.0 percent. This is strength against strength.

As is the case with all things when Seattle has the ball, the straw that stirs the red-zone drink is quarterback Russell Wilson. While Wilson finished only 17th with a red-zone passer rating of 95.0, he was a touchdown machine inside the 20. Wilson threw a league-high 25 touchdown passes. For perspective, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson (24) was the only other quarterback to top 20 touchdown passes.

However, Wilson was all-or-nothing in the red zone. He completed only 49.4 percent of his passes, which was third-lowest among all quarterbacks with at least 35 passing attempts. His go-to receiver is Tyler Lockett, who finished third in the league with seven red-zone touchdown receptions.

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Wilson will attack a Green Bay defense that thrived in the red zone during the regular season. Green Bay yielded an opponent passer rating of 69.2, which was second only to New England (60.0). Quarterbacks had 10 touchdowns vs. four interceptions against the Packers’ defense.

When Green Bay has the ball

Aaron Rodgers completed 59.0 percent of his passes in the red zone with 16 touchdowns, two interceptions and a 95.9 passer rating that ranked 15th. Rodgers led an offense that ranked eighth with a touchdown rate of 64.0 percent and will face a Seattle defense that ranked 26th with an overall opponent touchdown rate of 61.5 percent. This is strength against weakness, and it favors Green Bay.

The Seahawks will have to contend with Green Bay’s dynamic red-zone duo. Over the past four seasons, receiver Davante Adams leads the league with 29 touchdown catches. This season, running back Aaron Jones led the league with 14 red-zone touchdown runs and 15 red-zone touchdowns overall. Of the top 20 players in terms of red-zone rushes, Jones was No. 1 with a 3.52-yard average. Amazingly, Jones scored on 42.4 percent of his red-zone runs. That was by far the best in the league among running backs, far ahead of Tennessee’s Derrick Henry (31.0 percent).

“The big one that jumps out is 33’s touchdowns,” Rodgers said before the Detroit game. “I don’t remember a back having that many touchdowns in a long time around here. So it’s been nice having him in the red zone. I think if you look at our red-zone numbers, we’ve done really good scoring touchdowns. And the key to that as opposed to years past is we’re running the ball a lot better in the red zone and 33 has been a big part of that.”