The 10 Most Important Packers of 2014

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Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy (27) gets around a tackle by Atlanta Falcons safety William Moore (25). Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

4) Eddie Lacy

Lacy was not only the Offensive Rookie of the Year last year in the NFL, but he was also arguably the Packers’ offensive MVP with Aaron Rodgers out of the lineup.

Lacy carried the offense on his back for a seven-week Rodgers-less stretch last season, and Green Bay probably would have lost the division and been out of the playoff hunt if it wasn’t for the rookie’s strong performance.

Now, in his second year, Lacy will be looking to expand his role on offense, get more involved in the passing game, and help alleviate pressure off of Rodgers and the Packers’ top-tier passing game.

Lacy is a true difference maker. He’ll force teams to play Green Bay’s offense honestly and not cheat back in coverage. He’ll force defensive linemen to second-guess if Green Bay is going to run or pass, giving Rodgers a split second more time to throw the ball, which can make all the difference in the world for the former MVP.

But most importantly, Lacy brings a certain toughness to the Packers offense missing in prior years. A toughness necessary to compete with NFC jaugernautts, like the Seahawks and Forty-Niners. A toughness needed to win in the playoffs.