Matt Forte Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Forte Presents a Different Challenge for the Packers Defense


Matt Forte. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Frank Gore. Reggie Bush. Ray Rice. Willis McGahee. And now Adrian Peterson can be added to the list of notable backs Green Bay’s defense has shut down. Only Washington’s Alfred Morris has gone over the century mark this season against the Packers defense, and now their next challenge is Chicago’s Matt Forte.

Forte ranks eighth in the league in rushing with 533 yards. He’s also tied for third in the NFL in rushing touchdowns with six. Forte can run the ball. He’s been one of the better backs in the league the past few years.

But the real challenge defending Forte is keeping him from beating you in the pass game. The sixth-year back already has 35 receptions for 262 yards this season. Forte is one of the best receiving halfbacks in the game, and historically, he has had much more production receiving than rushing against Green Bay. Last year in two games Forte only ran for 31 and 69 yards. In contrast, he recorded 49 and 64 receiving yards in those same contests.

In fact, Forte has still yet to post a 100-yard game on the ground against the Packers in his career. He has, however, had games of 60, 64, and 80 yards receiving against Green Bay.

Simpley put, Forte presents a different challenge out of the backfield for the Packers. His 7.5 yards per reception shows how effective he can be on passing downs. Forte will test the Packers linebackers and safeties in coverage.

Green Bay faced a similar challenge against Reggie Bush and the Detroit Lions in week five. The Packers held Bush to 44 yards on the ground and 25 yards receiving. Although, Bush is not on the level of Forte.

In four of his five seasons, Forte has finished the season around 1,000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving. His total yard production over his career hasn’t been matched by many other backs in the league.

Green Bay has the stout defensive to stop Forte on the ground. The combination of B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, and Johnny Jolly on the line has been the main reason the Packers defense currently ranks fourth in the league in run defense and has only allowed 83.6 rushing yards a game. The Packers have the ability to keep Forte from impacting the game on the ground. The real challenge will come on passing downs.

Will the Packers use inside linebackers, A.J. Hawk or Jamari Lattimore, to cover the Pro Bowl running back? Will they get their most athletic linebacker Brad Jones back to help contain Forte?

Maybe Green Bay will decide to shadow Forte with a defensive back. They used a combination of safety M.D. Jennings and slot corner Micah Hyde to prevent Reggie Bush from beating them in the passing game in week five. The Packers could use a similar strategy against Forte and the Bears offense.

What do you think Packers nation? How will the Packers defend Matt Forte?

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Tags: B.J. Raji Brad Jones Green Bay Packers Johnny Jolly Matt Forte

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