The Green Bay Packers could have the best run game in the NFC North.
Last season, the Green Bay Packers finished No. 22 in rushing offense, which was still good for second in the NFC North. The Chicago Bears were No. 11.
But that could change in the 2019 season.
First, the Bears traded away their leading rusher, Jordan Howard. Howard finished 2018 with 935 yards and nine touchdowns, and hit 1,000 yards in each of the two seasons prior. Tarik Cohen was second for the Bears in rushing with 444 yards.
They’ve signed Mike Davis and may bring in a running back in the draft, but they’ll have to wait until at least the third round as they don’t have a pick in the opening two rounds.
The Vikings lack depth at RB after losing Latavius Murray. Murray led the Vikings in rushing attempts last season, and was second in rushing yards with 578. Dalvin Cook finished with 615 yards last year. The Vikings should be among the teams interested in drafting a running back.
One team to watch is the Detroit Lions. Kerryon Johnson put together an impressive rookie season when healthy, and was tied for second in the league for yards per carry (5.4), behind only Aaron Jones. C.J. Anderson is a good addition to the Lions backfield.
When I think of the Packers’ ground game in 2019, one word comes to mind: opportunity. The expectation is for the Packers to be more committed to the run game under Matt LaFleur, and opportunity might be all they need.
Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams give Green Bay a strong 1-2 punch at running back.
While inconsistent last season, Williams showed his potential in Week 16 against the Jets, rushing for 95 yards and a touchdown, with six receptions for 61 yards.
One of the Packers’ most exciting players to watch, Jones is a home-run hitter who makes the offense better every time he’s on the field. The league-leader is yards per carry, Jones is the Packers’ premier running back and could dominate with more opportunities in 2019.
That said, like the Bears and Vikings, Green Bay could look to add more depth at RB this offseason. Maybe it’ll be through the draft, or a perhaps a trade. One potential option could be Duke Johnson if the Browns are willing to trade him away. Johnson’s receiving ability out of the backfield would make him a good fit in LaFleur’s offense.
Considering the talent the Bears and Vikings have lost, and the likelihood the Packers lean on the run game more often, the NFC North’s best ground game could very well be in Green Bay this year.