Friday, January 15, 2016

Packers Need To Dominate In The Air, Not On The Ground

Pro Football Focus is a great resource but I don't agree with them in this week's article previewing the Green Bay Packers playoff game in Arizona that the Packers can win if they run the ball.
The Cardinals have the 2nd best run defense this season according to Football Outsiders, and the Packers haven't shown the ability to consistently run the ball. The Cardinals' strong run defense might be exaggerated because their opponents were forced to throw to keep up with the Cards' offense but the Packers aren't the team to take advantage of it. Injuries to the offensive line and RB Eddie Lacy's ribs have taken all of the steam out of the ground game's engine this season.

One very good point is about QB Aaron Rodgers's accuracy. Bryson Vesnaver wrote at Pro Footbal Focus that Rodgers struggled against Washington without any pressure "completing just 58.6 percent of his passes...when in a clean pocket." I'm spoiled as a Packer fan but Rodgers's accuracy has been below his usual levels this season. He was especially bad early in the game, missing open receivers, but he was much better by the second quarter. But instead of emphasizing the ground game over the passing game, this means that Rodgers has got to get his accuracy back to near perfection. With the offensive line as healthy as it's going to get, the pass protection was at it's best against the Redskins.
It's more likely that Rodgers will have a perfect game than Lacy will shake his 2015 season slump. They'll win by leaning heavily on Aaron Rodgers.

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