As week one games, go could the Green Bay Packers have a tougher matchup?
They are playing the Seattle Seahawks, the reigning Super Bowl Champions. They are on the road playing in the Seahawks very own fortress where only one game has been lost in two seasons and the much vaunted 12th man is going to be even more pumped up than usual.
On top of this, the Seahawks biggest strength, the defensive secondary is perfectly set up to nullify the Packers biggest offensive weapon, quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Given all this do the Green Bay Packers have a realistic hope for victory? They do, and it comes in the form of 230-pound bruising running back Eddie Lacy. Lacy gives the
Packers the ammunition to attack the Seahawks' biggest defensive weakness.
Weakness against run
Against the pass the Seahawks have the best defense in the NFL. In the 2013 regular season the Legion of Boom yielded only 2,752 passing yards - that is 353 yards better than the next best defense.
Against the rush though, the Seahawks aren't as good. They are still a very good defense, but compared to their pass defense they are weak. This is an area that other teams have exploited against the Seahawks in the past.
Last season even as the Seahawks won the Super Bowl the Rams and the Buccaneers both achieved success with the run. The Buccaneers took 38 rushing attempts for 205 yards at an average of 5.4 yards per rush and came close to winning. Meanwhile the Rams also averaged 5.4 yards per yards per rushing attempt, making 200 yards from 37 attempts and also came close to victory.
Neither Tampa or St Louis were great running teams though. Respectively, they were ranked as the 22nd and 19th best rushing groups in the NFL. In other words, they were
not great. But they still managed to have significant success rushing against the Seahawks.
Packers Running Game
Now Eddie Lacy and the Packers are a much better rushing attack than either Doug Martin and Tampa Bay or Zac Stacy and St Louis. If that rushing attack got the Seahawks on the ropes then the Packers rushing attack could be set to deliver a knock out blow.
Last season, in his rookie year, Lacey rushed for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns at an average of 4.1 yards per rushing attempt. Now Rodgers was injured for much of
Lacy's rookie year so the back's touches will likely decline somewhat this season but rather than hindering Lacy's production this should help.
Lacy is a true three down back playing in the Packers no-huddle up-tempo offense. The Seahawks will have to spend most snaps in nickel packages set up to defend Rodgers and the pass. This will leave few men in the box to deal with Lacy and the run.
Pete Carroll is of course aware of this threat. Speaking to reporters he said Lacy “will not go down easily. They also have him in on third down and they don’t mind throwing it to him. He’s an obvious element now. He’s a big deal.”
Being aware of the threat and stopping it are two different things though. Eddie Lacy is primed to enjoy a massive game against the Seahawks. Lacy holds the key to the Packers winning.