The Green Bay Packers have struggled to stop the run in recent years.
Hopefully, a switch in systems will help that as Joe Barry takes over from Mike Pettine as defensive coordinator. More talent on defense will also help.
But the Packers will need their run defense to take a step forward as they face some great running backs throughout the 2021 season.
Who are the top five?
5. Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team
Antonio Gibson could be a breakout star this season. As a rookie he rushed for 795 yards and 11 touchdowns, featuring in 14 games with 10 starts. He averaged a healthy 4.7 yards per carry.
Gibson was on fire around midseason, finding the end zone eight times in just five games, but he suffered a toe injury in Week 12 which kept him on the injury report for the remainder of the season.
Gibson showed his potential both as a runner and receiver, and he’ll give the Packers’ defense plenty to think about in Week 7.
4. Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks
Chris Carson is one of the most underrated running backs in the league. He put up over 1,000 yards in both the 2018 and ’19 seasons, and would’ve come close again last year had he not missed four games.
Carson doesn’t get the respect he deserves. He’s a very talented running back when healthy and will give Green Bay’s defense problems when these two teams meet this season.
3. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
A Pro Bowler in each of the past two seasons, Nick Chubb has become one of the best running backs in football. With Kareem Hunt also in the backfield, the Cleveland Browns have the top RB duo in the NFL.
Even after missing four games due to injury, Chubb still rushed for 1,067 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. If the Packers want to defeat the Browns on Christmas Day, they will need an answer for Chubb.
2. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
The Packers don’t need reminding how talented Alvin Kamara is. In two career games against Green Bay, he’s put up 304 total yards with two touchdowns. The Packers have had no answer for Kamara both as a runner and receiver.
That will need to change when the two teams meet in their season opener this September. The four-time Pro Bowler is one of the NFL’s best running backs and is on the Packers’ schedule in the first game of the season.
1. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
Another player who has dominated against the Packers in recent years is Dalvin Cook. In his past three games against Green Bay, Cook has a total of 367 rushing yards, 98 receiving yards, and six touchdowns.
He found the end zone four times in the most recent meeting at Lambeau Field. The Packers couldn’t stop him and it led to a Minnesota Vikings victory. The two-time Pro Bowler dominated that game and Green Bay’s defense can’t allow that to happen again in 2021.