When a team is off to a 3-1 start like the Packers are, there seemingly would be little worries. However, the team has a glaring weakness on the defensive side of the ball; that is stopping the run. Through the first four games of the 2019 season, the Packers have allowed over 142 yards per game on the ground, 26th in the NFL.
The run defense has been worse than the number indicate, particularly considering they held the Bears to 46 yards on 15 carries in week one. Since then, they have been gashed for 198 yards on 27 carries against the Vikings, 149 yards on 38 carries versus the Vikings and 176 yards on 33 carries in their loss to the Eagles.
The particular area of concern is through the right side of the Packers defensive line. Opponents have rushed for 122 yards on 18 carries off the left end and 122 yards on 12 carries off the left tackle. Green Bay has actually done a respectable job stifling the run through the other gaps, giving up just under four yards per carry on 80 attempts. However, they must find a way to stop the weak side run, giving up over eight yards a carry is clearly nowhere near good enough.
As of now, the Packers have been winning despite the poor run defense. However, they have played three of their first four games at home and have a tough stretch of five road games over the next seven weeks. Of those seven, the Cowboys, Lions, Raiders and possibly the Giants (if Saquon Barkley is ready to return from injury) pose formidable running attacks.
Run Defense – By the Numbers
Packers Yards Allowed by Gap:
Unless the Packers fix this troublesome weakness, teams will control the ball and keep Aaron Rodgers and company on the sideline. This is particularly troublesome if the Packers fall behind, as teams will melt the clock preserving a lead. Although a 3-1 start is great, for the Packers to get to where they want, which is undoubtedly a long run in the postseason, the run defense must be tightened. The good thing is that it is only week four and there is time to get this fixed moving forward.