The Green Bay Packers’ run defense has been simply dominant. Dominance, generally, is synonymous with consistency, a dire need for a Packer team with an uncharacteristically inconsistent Aaron Rodgers and subsequent offense. If the Packers’ ultimate goal is a deep playoff run, or even a playoff berth considering recent play, the powerful run defense will be key and, ideally, a steady rock to lean on.
Dom Capers’ run defense is statistically top in the league, allowing just 71.8 yards per game, a sizable gap of nearly ten yards per game above the third place Minnesota defense. That gap would be larger void of a superhuman performance by Dallas rookie phenom back Ezekiel Elliot who ran all over The Pack for 157 yards on 28 carries in Week Six. Granted, Dallas boasts conclusively the best offensive line in the league, making rushing opportunities ever more ample.
Aside from the Elliot anomaly, the Packer front seven has shut down all who dare run the ball against them. Versus Jacksonville, 48 total rush yards allowed. Versus Minnesota, 30. Versus Detroit, 50. Versus New York Giants, 43. Versus Chicago, 69. Lead by Letroy Guion, Mike Daniels, and Julius Peppers, the run defense has clearly been suffocating.
After a loss this week at Atlanta, the Packers dropped to 4-3 on the season. While the team walked away the losers, the Packer defensive line was solid, allowing 90 yards total split between two backs; again, positive consistency is never discouraged even in loses.
The role of this dominant defensive line will certainly grow as the season progresses. Green Bay will without a doubt be battling with Minnesota for control of the NFC North, and the way Minnesota’s defense and Sam Bradford have been playing, the battle is sure to be fierce. However, Minnesota’s biggest weakness plays directly into Green Bay’s biggest strength. Minnesota’s offensive line is so banged up and vulnerable, any respectable defensive line salivates at the opportunity to face them. If a potential division clinching matchup is to repeat itself as it did last season, Minnesota should be sweating.
The story is the same with next week’s matchup hosting Indianapolis. The Colts O-Line has been equally abysmal and should provide an opportunity to pummel Andrew Luck and put Frank Gore flat on his back every time he touches the ball.
Bottom line, the Packers have a slew of issues that need addressing if they want to chalk up this season as a success, but the defensive line is as good it gets. A playoff run on the horizon? Maybe. If so, that spectacular seven will be key to their success.