Panthers provide perfect opportunity to get Aaron Jones and the running game rolling
The last time the Green Bay Packers had the chance to punk a flailing team with a backup quarterback … well, they fell on their faces on national television.
But the time before that, they beat the gold off the Los Angeles Rams’ uniforms with Brett Rypien under center, and they did it with a slew of diverse, creative run looks from Matt LaFleur for Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. Against a Carolina Panthers team that by some measures is by far the worst in football defending the run, Green Bay can jumpstart what has been an intermittent rushing offense so far this season.
If you thought the Packers’ run defense was bad, and it is, get a load of the Carolina group. They’re 31st in rush defense DVOA to go along with the 27th overall DVOA defense (they’re a respectable-for-a-2-12-team 17th in passing DVOA).
But, it’s worse than even that.
Only two teams allow positive expected points added per rush this season: the Panthers and the Kansas City Chiefs. And Carolina is giving up twice as much EPA/play as the Chiefs. This is where I point when Packers fans say they would rather have Ejiro Evero than Joe Barry. They’re probably right, but that’s mostly Barry-related right now. Evero would not be a panacea for this run defense.
And Green Bay took advantage of the Chiefs’ awful run defense in their signature win of the season just a few weeks ago. Remember that? When the vibes were immaculate? The Packers’ ground game gouged the Chiefs for over 5 yards a carry on 25 totes, and LaFleur worked off that dominance at the line of scrimmage to set up play-action looks all over the field.
That’s the formula against a defense that plays a similar Brandon Staley/Vic Fangio-tree style to very similar success (the Packers are 29th overall in DVOA to Carolina’s 27th).