Green Bay Packers: Time to let Eddie Lacy roll


It’s time for the Green Bay Packers to let Eddie Lacy be the workhorse again.

The Green Bay Packers got back on track in week 11 with a 30-13 win over the Minnesota Vikings on the road, and that was due in large part to a resurgence from running back Eddie Lacy. Despite opening the game as the backup to James Starks, Lacy earned 22 carries for 100 yards. With the Chicago Bears waiting on Thursday Night Football after a short turnaround, it’s time for the Packers to feed Lacy 25 touches.

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There’s more that goes in to this than the week 11 recency bias, as Lacy has been a notoriously slow starter in his three year career. Injuries and some potential conditioning issues have delayed his coming out party longer than ever in 2015, but the matchup and circumstances surrounding it beg for this to be the week. Prior to his showing against the Vikings, Lacy’s most effective day on the ground came in week one where he carried the ball 19 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. The opponent? The Chicago Bears.

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Starks certainly has a prominent role to fill on this team down the stretch, but he’s proven to have a much greater impact when operating in a complimentary role, slashing through the line with limited carries. Over the past four weeks, dating back to the Packers November 1st meeting with the Denver Broncos, Starks has rushed the ball 38 times for 104 yards (2.74 AVG) and zero touchdowns. He’s been a pleasant surprise in the receiving game, but that’s an area where I’m wholly confident in Eddie Lacy to be his equal, at minimum.

Lacy’s impact on the passing game would extent past his receiving duties, too, as the presence of his pass blocking is needed with David Bakhtiari struggling mightily to keep his edge sealed off. If it weren’t for the magic footwork of Rodgers, Bakhtiari’s play would be one of the most contested discussion points in Green Bay this season. Lacy can help with that.

The Packers are also facing a Bears defense coming off a week 11 in which they were generous to the Denver Broncos ground game, surrendering 102 yards on 21 carries to Ronnie Hillman and 59 yards on 12 carries to C.J. Anderson.

In a game that also favors the Packers overall at home, any early lead would further tilt the tables in Lacy’s direction. It’s very possible that Green Bay will be given the opportunity to run the football close to 30 times, and Lacy should receive the bulk majority of that total.

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Establishing a consistent run game is critical at this point in the season, as the Packers have been taping their offense together as they go while being forced to freestyle far too often. Following Thursday night against the Bears are winnable games against the Lions, Cowboys and Raiders.

It’s important for the Packers to stick another foot out in front of the Minnesota Vikings over this four-game stretch as they’ll close the season against the stout Arizona Cardinals on the road then welcome the Vikings to Lambeau in week 17. Preferably, the division won’t still be on the line at that point, and Eddie Lacy’s success is the quickest way to make that happen.