Breaking Down How Packers' Run Game Can Rip Apart New Orleans Saints' D

Matt SmithContributor IIISeptember 27, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Cedric Benson #32 of the Green Bay Packers runs with the ball against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on September 24, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

This Sunday, the Green Bay Packers, who are surprisingly only 1-2 (although they should be 2-1), take on the New Orleans Saints, who are even more surprisingly 0-3.

The Saints' offense is fine—it's just that their defense is awful.

Both their pass defense and run defense have been among the league's worst this season. While the pass defense has nothing to be proud of, it at least ranks higher than the Saints' run defense, which is worst in the league.

The Saints have given up an average of 215.0 yards per game on the ground on 5.0 yards per rushing attempt. 

With those kind of performances so far, it'd be a smart move by Mike McCarthy to come out with a ground-and-pound approach. Here's a few ways he can do that.


Start Off Establishing the Run

Last week against Seattle, the Packers came out in an aerial assault. It didn't work, although that was partially due to the Seahawks' elite secondary.

Once Green Bay started running with a balanced approach, it found some success.

If the Packers bring Benson out and establish the run early, they can break down an already poor defense even more.

Then, after they've established the running game, they can whip out play-action passes if the Saints start to stack the box. However, they likely won't do that since the Packers have so many receiving weapons.


Let Cedric Benson Shoulder the Load, But Give Others Carries

Despite Benson's fumbling problem, the Green Bay coaching staff has shown a hesitance to take Benson out of the backfield for anyone not named Randall Cobb.

With James Starks set to return, it'd be smart to give him a few carries and spell Benson on a day that the Packers might find it useful to run Benson more than normal.

Giving Cobb some carries should work too. His quickness should give the Saints fits.


Attack Curtis Lofton and Jonathan Casillas

Although Lofton's stats looked good since he recorded 11 tackles last week against the Chiefs, Jamaal Charles had his way with everyone on defense and ran wild en route to 233 yards rushing. Lofton performed poorly in real life.

Not only is Lofton performing poorly, but David Hawthorne exited last week's game with a knee injury. Jonathan Casillas took over at strong-side linebacker.

Last year against the Packers in Week 1, Casillas was dominated by the Packers' offensive line. Then again, so was everyone on the Saints' defense that week.

Lofton is coming off of a horrible week and wasn't particularly impressive the past two weeks either. Meanwhile, Casillas is a backup who struggled against the Packers last year.

It'd be smart to run at them and see if either of them can stop Benson and Co.