Feb 4, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrate their third quarter touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Putting points on the board when working inside of the 20-yard line is paramount for offenses to have success, which is, of course, much easier said than done. Here, we preview the league’s best offenses, from both a passing and rushing standpoint, at getting the job done in the red zone.
New England Patriots | Red-Zone Passing Grade: 82.8
Passing red-zone grades from a team perspective are highly influenced by the play at the quarterback position. As such, the New England Patriots’ spot atop this list is largely fueled by veteran signal-caller Tom Brady’s performance inside the 20-yard line in 2017.
Brady earned the second-ranked passing grade inside the red zone (82.8) last season, ranking first in total red-zone touchdown passes (33) and third in adjusted completion percentage (74.1) among qualifying quarterbacks. His two turnover-worthy plays in the red zone kept him from the top spot in terms of passing grade, however, Brady’s efficiency and overall production were remarkable.
Patriots pass catchers Rob Gronkowski, James White, Rex Burkhead and Dion Lewis all contributed to the team’s first-ranked offense grade in the red zone. Lewis and Burkhead both earned 90.0-plus receiving grades and combined for six red-zone touchdown receptions on limited snap counts. Gronkowski and White did the heavy lifting, combining for 13 red-zone touchdowns across 155 red-zone snaps.
Minnesota Vikings | Red-Zone Passing Grade: 79.9
Like New England, the Minnesota Vikings benefited from solid quarterback play inside the red zone. Quarterback Case Keenum earned the third-ranked passing grade in the red zone (79.8) among qualifying quarterbacks in 2017. However, perhaps Keenum’s supporting cast deserves most of the credit.
Both tight end Kyle Rudolph (87.6) and wide receiver Stefon Diggs (86.9) earned 86.0-plus receiving grades in the red zone this past season. The duo combined for 27 receptions (33 targets), 211 yards, 14 touchdowns and six first downs when targeted inside the red zone in 2017. Also, neither Rudolph nor Diggs dropped a catchable target, and Diggs, to his credit, managed to haul in all five of his catchable contested targets for touchdowns.
Philadelphia Eagles | Red-Zone Passing Grade: 79.8
Prior to Carson Wentz’s injury, the Philadelphia Eagles’ red-zone passing offense…