There's no doubt that the Green Bay Packers have had one of the most explosive offenses in the league over the past few seasons. However, they haven't done it with a balanced offensive attack.
Instead, they've relied heavily on the otherworldly play of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and talented receiver corps to make opposing defenses look pedestrian. After a Week 5 22-9 victory over the Detroit Lions, that may no longer be the case.
The Packers haven't only looked extremely balanced in the past three weeks, but it appears as if their previous offensive weaknesses are becoming strengths.
Green Bay nearly recorded its third straight game where they had a running back go for over 100 yards rushing.
|Week||Opponent||Leading Rusher||Rushing Yards|
|Week 2||Washington Redskins||James Starks||132|
|Week 3||Cincinnati Bengals||Johnathan Franklin||103|
|Week 4||Detroit Lions||Eddie Lacy||99|
Furthermore, the Packers already have 564 total rushing yards on the season. That's an average of 141 rushing yards per game. Last year they only averaged 106 rushing yards per game.
What makes these numbers even better is the overall talent of the defenses that the Packers have faced. For example, the Cincinnati Bengals currently have the seventh-best run defense in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). The Lions have the seventh-best overall defense in the NFL per PFF.
What has ultimately brought about this offensive balance is two key factors.
The first is the influx of talent at the running back position for the Packers. With rookies Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin now on the roster, Green Bay finally has legitimate weapons at running back on its depth chart.
The second key factor has been the play of the offensive line. Many expected this to be a weak spot heading into the season, but they've proven to be a strength. As you can see in the chart below, the Packers have exceeded all expectations with the play of their offensive line:
|Team||Run-Block Grade||Run-Block Rank|
|San Diego Chargers||11.3||2nd|
|New England Patriots||9.0||3rd|
|Green Bay Packers||3.8||5th|
This unit is blocking like one of the best in the league, and it has made them all the more dangerous offensively.
Had the Packers continued to struggle on the ground this year, it's likely that they would have still been dominant on offense due to Rodgers and his receiving weapons. However, now that they've added balance thanks to a legitimate group of running backs, they should have every defense in the NFL worried.
They won on Sunday over the Lions, and they'll continue to win games due to this newfound balance.