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Packers’ defense shows glimpses of 2010 form through four games in 2019

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Many of the statistics that the defense has posted through a quarter of the season compare favorably with those of the 2010 Super Bowl team.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers’ magical Super Bowl run in 2010 was made possible by the spectacular play by the team’s defense. Acme Packing Company will take a look at how the defense in 2019 compares to the 2010 defense after each quarter of this season.

Both teams were 3-1 through the first four games.

Over 2018 to 2019, the biggest upgrade the Packers have seen is the defense as a whole. Through four games, the defense has created the highest QB pressure rate in the league and has taken the ball away in each game. Additions like Za’Darius Smith, Adrian Amos, and Preston Smith through free agency along with draft picks Kevin King, Jaire Alexander and Darnell Savage have completely revitalized this side of the ball.

Throughout the first quarter of the season, The Green Bay Packers defense has been drawing comparisons to the 2010 Packers team that won the championship built on their stout pass rush and their ball hawking ability. Sounds a bit like the current defense doesn't it?

Here’s a look at the preferred starting lineups for both squads early in the season.

Starting Lineups

Position 2010 2019
Position 2010 2019
DE Ryan Pickett Montravius Adams
NT B.J. Raji Kenny Clark
DE Cullen Jenkins Dean Lowry
OLB Clay Matthews Za'Darius Smith
OLB Brad Jones Preston Smith
ILB Nick Barnett Blake Martinez
ILB/S A.J. Hawk Raven Greene
CB Charles Woodson Jaire Alexander
CB Tramon Williams Kevin King
S Morgan Burnett Adrian Amos
S Nick Collins Darnell Savage

Defensive Comparison

Yards Per Game

In 2019 The Packers defense are 11th in total yards, allowing 1,321 in four games which is an average of 330.25 in each game. In 2010 they allowed 1,213 averaging 303.25 a game. Right away you see the defense is on pace with the championship team.

Passing Yards

In coverage the 2019 Packers are 3rd in pass defense with 752 yards allowed and 4 touchdowns. That averages out to 188 yards per game. The 2010 squad allowed 740 yards through the air with 185 a game with 4 touchdowns.

They are again strong in the passing game making life difficult for opposing quarterbacks, which is turning into takeaways. In the secondary, Jaire Alexander is looking like a shutdown corner like Charles Woodson. The rest of the defensive backs continue to play smart football and make the right plays when it matters.

Rushing Yards

This is the major area of concern in 2019, as the Packers are 26th in rush defense with 569 yards allowed on the ground for an average of 142.25 yards and 5 scores. The defense in 2010 allowed 473 yards at 118.25 yards per game with 2 touchdowns.

Looking at the yardage statistics, the 2019 team is giving up 25 more yards a game on average. The NFC is full of strong running backs like Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, Todd Gurley, Christian McCaffrey, and Dalvin Cook, so stopping the run could be the difference between a Super Bowl run or a 1st round exit. Over half of the touchdowns they have given up so far on the season have been on the ground, so tightening up that front seven should be the focus of Mike Pettine going into the second quarter of the season.

Points Allowed

The 2019 Packers are 8th in points allowed with 69 and 7th in points per game with 17.2. In 2010 they allowed 73 points with a 18.3 points per game through 4 weeks. This is relatively low for a team that has seen opponents frequently hang 30+ on them in the past.

Sacks

The 2019 defense are 9th in Sacks with 12. In 2010 they had 16 sacks in the first four games. Clay Matthews was dominant all season in 2010 with 13.5 sacks. in 2019 The Super Smith Bros are combined for 7.5 sacks already.

Turnovers

Green Bay is tied for 4th for takeaways with 8 — four interceptions and four fumbles. In 2010 they had 7. The 2010 team had 24 interceptions total, and the Packers are on pace for 16 total this season but are on track to match the 32 total turnovers that the 2010 team had.

Turnover Percentage

16.3 percent of drives against the Packers defense result in a turnover, which is 7th in the league. The 2010 Packers team took away the ball on 16.5 percent of drives. The defense’s job is to get the ball back to the offensive as quick as possible and when your quarterback is Aaron Rodgers, that always spells trouble for the other team.

The linemen and linebackers are getting to the quarterback frequently, just like they were in 2010. Teams that win championships often win the turnover battle throughout the year and dominate in the trenches, and the Packers continue to produce game in and game out through the first quarter of the season.

The front seven and the secondary are creating a cohesive defense that continues to give offensive coordinators issues.

Overall, the Green Bay Packers compare pretty well to the 2010 unit, which finished 5th in passing defense at the end of the season and 18th in rush defense. It has been a long time since a Packers defense has looked this good, and if they continue to play the way the 2010 team did, they could be looking at a deep post season run.