The No. 1 problem for Green Bay in this aspect of the game is the fact that it lost starting running back Ryan Grant at the start of the season. And, try as they might, the Packers haven’t been able to recover from that loss.
The other No. 1 problem for Green Bay is the fact that Pittsburgh’s defensive line and linebacking corps is far better than the Packers offensive line and any would-be blockers.
But back to the Packers running game for a second. Brandon Jackson filled in for a while before he was injured. He has since returned and re-assumed his role as a third-down back, which really is the ideal position for him.
The Packers newest replacement is James Starks, who burst onto the scene in the team’s first playoff game and then kinda went back into hiding. Starks is capable and has allowed the Pack to revert to an offensive attack that is more balanced.
What quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Starks and Jackson will have to deal with is a Jekyll and Hyde Steeler D.
The Steelers led the league in rushing yards allowed. Not good. But they also led the league by only allowing five rushing TDs all year? Five! The whole season. Good!
Pittsburgh’s D-Line is way underrated, yet is probably the most important part of the team.
Casey Hampton is tough against the run from his nose tackle position and will win every matchup against Starks. On the ends, Pittsburgh brings Ziggy Hood and Brett Keisel, who will occupy the Packer line all night, opening up holes for people like James Harrison, James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley to fill. With power. That’s not a prospect the Packers blockers – or running backs – are looking forward to.
Look for one of the toughest battles of the night to be the Packers attempt to establish the run against a jacked-up Pittsburgh O-Line.
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