Thursday, January 15, 2015

Can Eddie Lacy Run Against The Seahawks?

The Seahawks have a formidable run defense and Eddie Lacy was not a factor (12 carries for 34 yards) when they last played Week 1 in Seattle. While that game is from this season, a lot has changed since (one example, Corey Lindsey isn't making his first career NFL start) and what's happened in recent weeks is more relevant than a game from September.
What's true for Lacy is probably the same for Lynch; they're both a load to take down and arguably the two most physical runners in the NFL.

The last time the Packers played a run defense this good was just two games ago when they played the Lions, who are ranked No. 1 overall by Football Outsiders (the Seahawks come in at No. 2). Lacy ran 26 times for 100 yards against them in Week 17, but his per carry average was dragged down by several late 4th quarter carries when the Packers were up by two scores and trying to run out the clock. Otherwise, Lacy hasn't been held to under four yards per carry since their November 9th blowout against the Bears. He's been able to run against every defense he's faced over the past couple months and he should be able to run against the Seahawks.

While nearly every player on the Lions defense has a positive run defense grade according to Pro Football Focus, the Seahawks have a negative grade from every member of their defensive line except Michael Bennett, who's been a monster on run defense. Since Bennett isn't a giant nose tackle (274 lbs.) he's probably doing most of his damage when he beats a block and makes a tackle in the backfield. The lineman are going to have to maintain their blocks on Bennett to keep him in check.

Though their defensive line is overall a negative against the run, almost every other defender at linebacker and in the secondary has either a positive run defense grade or is playing at an elite level. Lacy might be able to break through to the second level with regularity but he might not be able to break a tackle against their second level. Lacy's had a run of greater than 20+ yards in each of his last six games, but that streak might end against the Seahawks.

So the Seahawks have a great run defense that isn't going to allow many (any) big runs but the Packers should have some success on the ground. I don't expect they'll ignore the ground game, but as long as they stick with it should be productive.

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