The Packers have no choice but find a way to clean up their run defense this week against the Dallas Cowboys. In three out of four games this season, Green Bay has surrendered over 140 rushing yards. In week two against the Minnesota Vikings, Dalvin Cook ran all over the Packers defense for 154 yards. This Sunday, they will face Ezekiel Elliot who is just as lethal as Cook if not more.
Mike Pettine’s group ranks 26th in the league in rushing yards per game. Their yards per carry average is even worse sitting at 29th and they have already allowed five rushing touchdowns which puts them tied for 24th.
Something has got to give and it will need to start up front. Blake Martinez is second in the NFL with 47 tackles but it hasn’t made much of a difference. Kenny Clark is the best player on this defense but he cannot do it all himself facing constant double teams. Right now, this team is really missing Mike Daniels, however, he is not going to come walking through the door.
The defense may get somewhat of a boost this week if they return Montravious Adams and Oren Burks but it will not be enough to stop Elliot.
In three games against Green Bay, including playoffs, Elliot has rushed for over 100 yards each time. Per his standards, Elliot is off to a slow start in 2019 but he can break out at any moment. Let’s hope that the moment isn’t on Sunday.
The Packers can do themselves a favor by watching how the New Orleans Saints neutralized Elliot throughout the game on Sunday Night. The Cowboys had no answer as the Saints committed heavily to stopping the run and forced two fumbles, one on Elliot.
If Green Bay wants to improve to 4-1 on Sunday, it will come down to winning in the trenches. The defensive front will have to respond after getting absolutely obliterated against the Eagles last Thursday. Luckily, Dallas will likely be without starting left tackle Tyron Smith but their offensive line is still going to be tough to beat without their All-Pro.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.