3 Ways Packers Can Fix Their Defense Before Playoffs

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 29, 2021

3 Ways Packers Can Fix Their Defense Before Playoffs

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    Aaron Gash/Associated Press

    The Green Bay Packers have shown some defensive flaws during their four-game winning streak. 

    Green Bay allowed over 340 total yards in every game of that span. The defense also conceded 408 total yards in the Week 11 loss to the Minnesota Vikings

    Matt LaFleur's squad covered up some of the deficiencies through high point totals from Aaron Rodgers and Co.

    The Rodgers-led offense scored over 30 points in four of the last five games and it produced over 300 total yards in each contest of that span. 

    Green Bay does not have to worry about its offensive output going into the postseason, but it needs to sharpen up its defense to deal with some of the most explosive offenses in the NFL

Contain the Run Better

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    Matt Ludtke/Associated Press

    Green Bay gave up its highest rushing total of the season to the Cleveland Browns in Week 16. 

    The Nick Chubb-led ground attack posted 219 rushing yards on the Packers defense in the failed attempt to win at Lambeau Field. 

    The Packers could have seen the high concession coming after it allowed two of its five highest rushing totals in Weeks 14 and 15. The Baltimore Ravens ran for 143 yards and the Chicago Bears totaled 137 yards on the ground. 

    The gashes in the rushing defense are concerning because of the potential matchups that await in the postseason. 

    All of the teams currently in the NFC playoff positions boast strong rushing attacks. Green Bay could be matched up with Leonard Fournette, James Conner, or the team approaches of the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles in the second round if the current standings hold. 

    Green Bay made up for its shaky rushing defense by forcing seven turnovers against the Browns and Bears, but if it can't get takeaways in the postseason, it needs to find better ways to slow down the run. 

    The Packers have the perfect matchup in Week 17 to contain the run better. The Minnesota Vikings have six games with 130 or more rushing yards this season.

    If the Packers slow down the Vikings' ground game, it will be a positive sign toward potential progression in the postseason. 

Do a Better Job Limiting Big Plays

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Part of Green Bay's recent defensive issues have been caused by the long gains earned by its opponents. 

    The Chicago Bears produced three first-half touchdowns of 45 yards or more in Week 14. Jakeem Grant torched the Packers on a 97-yard kickoff return and a 46-yard scoring run. Damiere Byrd also cut through the defense on a 54-yard passing score. 

    Baltimore did not have any long scoring plays, but Mark Andrews had a long catch of 43 yards and he torched the Green Bay secondary for 136 yards on 10 catches in a comeback attempt in Week 15. 

    Nick Chubb and Jarvis Landry both had receptions go for over 20 yards in Week 16 and three Cleveland pass-catchers finished with at least 50 receiving yards. 

    The Packers have gotten better at conceding explosive touchdowns, but it can still be susceptible to big plays. 

    The NFC North champion could flip that trend in its favor by slowing down Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen on Sunday, The Minnesota wide receivers combined for 251 receiving yards in their Week 11 meeting with the Packers. 

    That would be a huge step in the right direction for the Packers' hopes of winning postseason games with their defense instead of relying on Rodgers. 

Get Better Against Dual-Threat Quarterbacks

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    Terrance Williams/Associated Press

    The Packers allowed the most rushing yards to quarterbacks through 16 weeks. 

    Green Bay is the only NFL team to give up more than 400 rushing yards to opposing signal-callers. That total jumped after Tyler Huntley helped the Ravens get within one point of the NFC's No. 1 seed in Week 15. 

    The Packers likely will not have to worry about this issue in the next two weeks since Kirk Cousins and Jared Goff are not considered mobile quarterbacks, but it is a weakness worth being concerned about for the postseason.

    Jalen Hurts and Kyler Murray are lurking in the bottom half of the NFC playoff standings and Trey Lance could be used more by the San Francisco 49ers if Jimmy Garoppolo is not at 100 percent. 

    One bad matchup against a run-heavy offense with a mobile quarterback could doom the Packers in their attempt to reach the Super Bowl.


    Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference