The defense can’t rest for Packers


The Packers defense simply can’t rest today.

More specifically, the Packers’ run defense can’t rest.

If the Packers expect to upend Tampa Bay today, it’ll be critical for them to keep the Buccaneers’ running game in check. The Buccaneers have a quality rushing attack, one led by veteran Leonard Fournette.

The Buccaneers figure to run the ball extensively, especially with several of their receivers, including standout Mike Evans, being unavailable today.

On the surface, the Packers’ defense should be able to keep the Buccaneers from running wild. After all, the Packers have an unusual number of quality defenders.

The problem is: The Packers failed miserably to stop the run in their first two games this season: They surrendered 126 rushing yards in their season-opening 23-7 loss to the Vikings and they yielded a crazy 203 rushing yards in their 27-10 triumph over the Bears.

After those two lackluster showings, the Packers rank 27th among the NFL’s 32-teams against the run at 153 yards per game. Only Washington (157 yards), Carolina (160), Houston (153), Tennessee (169.5) and Chicago (189.5) have allotted more rushing yards.

The Packers’ starting linebacker crew of Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, De’Vondre Campbell and Quay Walker has to bring its hard hats to work today if they hope to upset the 1.5-point favored Buccaneers.

Prediction: Packers 24, Buccaneers 20.