Who does it better: Vikings' defense or Packers' offense?

Specifically, this game could come down to third downs and the red zone.

Aaron Rodgers has the Packers offense turning third downs into first downs 48 percent of the time – third-best in the NFL. 

The Vikings defense is turning third downs into fourth downs 74.5 percent of the time. That's No.1 in the NFL. 

Something's gotta give. 

Minnesota's defense was really strong last season, but it finished 14th in the league on third downs, allowing first downs 39 percent of the time. This year they're No. 1 in the NFL at 25.5 percent. 

The third downs that haven't resulted in a first down this season have turned into:

  • 11 field goals (10 makes)
  • 26 punts
  • 1 fourth-down conversion
  • 1 fake punt for a touchdown


In third-and-long situations (any third down where six or more yards are needed for a first down), the Vikings have allowed just eight first downs on 38 tries (21 percent). 


In situations of third-and-five yards or shorter, the Vikings have given up just six first downs on 17 tries (35.3 percent). 

So, yeah, the Vikings don't really let teams get into the much easier third-and-short situations. In fact, in their Week 3 win over Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers didn't have any third-and-short situations. 

Packers confident on third down, red zone situations

"There's a reason that we're third in third down and we're first in the red zone," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said Wednesday, via the Green Bay Press Gazette. "The execution has been good, but we're dialing up some touchdowns. That hadn't been as consistent over the years – it's always been good – but this year it's been fantastic." 

While Green Bay's third-down offense is humming along, it probably has a little something to do with the fact that they've played the 20th, 28th and 27th ranked third-down defenses (Seattle, Chicago, Dallas) already this season. 

Green Bay's red zone offense is No. 1 in the NFL, scoring a touchdown 78.9 percent of the time. Minnesota's red zone defense is fourth in the league, surrendering a touchdown just 38.4 percent of the time.

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