In all seriousness, I could not care less who the Green Bay Packers name as their starting signal-caller for this weekend’s game.
Although all signs point to Matt Flynn getting the nod once again, the return of Aaron Rodgers from his collarbone injury would not make him the most feared offensive weapon on the field for the Packers.
Sidelined since the first week of November, I highly doubt that Mike McCarthy would design a game plan for his Pro Bowl signal-caller to chuck the ball around at will at Lambeau Field on a frigid day during his first game back in the lineup.
In my humble opinion, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense needs to prepare for a steady diet of Green Bay’s talented running back Eddie Lacy regardless of who starts at quarterback this Sunday.
A strong, if not the front-running, candidate for the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, the former Alabama star has been an absolute stud for the Packers this fall.
Not only does Lacy rank first among rookies in rushing yards through the 2013 campaign’s first 14 games (1,028 yards), he ranks seventh in the league overall in that statistical category. In addition to that productivity, Lacy has rushed for eight touchdowns and added 31 catches for 236 yards to boot.
What has been even more impressive is the fact that the rookie has been so stellar while running behind one of the league’s least-talented and most makeshift offensive lines.
With the weather projected to be inclement, the Packers could be primed to center their game-plan around their ground attack’s bell cow. I know I would not blame them for doing so, especially since Pittsburgh’s run defense has been inconsistent at best this fall.
Overall, the Steelers rank 19th in the league in rushing yards per game allowed and have been extremely susceptible to big plays via the run. Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, Terrelle Pryor, Daniel Thomas, Ryan Tannehill, etc. have all burned Pittsburgh on the ground this fall, and Lacy could be primed to have a fantastic day against the team who passed on him for another running back in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Lacy might be saying that Mike Tomlin’s comments regarding how selecting Le’Veon Bell over him was ‘easy’ don’t sting. Yet I am sure that the highly touted running back is less than thrilled about how he fell to almost the end of the second round in last April’s draft.
The stage is set for Lacy to have a fantastic afternoon on Sunday, and Pittsburgh’s hobbled defensive line and thin linebacker corps surely will not help one of the league’s least productive run defenses. Lacy and his potential success on the ground are what presently scare me the most about Green Bay’s offense, and I hope that the Steelers can find ways to corral him on a consistent basis.
If Lacy cannot be held in check, then loss number nine will be right around the corner.
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