Which NFL defenses make the top 5 list of Opposing Pass Rush Rankings from the upcoming Green Bay Packers Schedule?
Another week of ranking the Packers’ opposing position groups. This time, let’s tackle the pass-rush groups. And not only the edge rush but the defensive front as a whole. After a wide receiver rankings article with many elite groups, the opposing pass rush units don’t seem as daunting. That’s not to say these teams don’t present problems to the Packers offensive line, but Green Bay should match up nicely. Without further ado here are the top five pass-rush rankings from defenses the Packers will see in 2022.
5. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles may not field a dominant pass rusher but they attack with depth and interior power. Josh Sweat is their pass rush specialist off the edge. He isn’t a full-time starter but gets after the QB on passing downs. Inside is where Philadelphia is strong. Both Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave know how to push the pocket. Being able to generate pressure inside on a constant basis can be deadly for opponents. Philly has the manpower to keep guys fresh and attack.
The big factor for the Eagles in 2022 is the return of Brandon Graham. Sure, Graham is long in the tooth at 34 heading into the season but has produced throughout his career. If he can play near to his pre-injury self, Philadelphia has a dangerous pass-rushing group.
4. Tennessee Titans
In 2021, the Titans produced 43 sacks from all different positions. Harold Landry had his coming-out party with 12 sacks off the edge. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Simmons continues to impress as one of the best young interior defensive tackles in the league. Simmons lived in backfields and had 8.5 QB takedowns. Don’t be surprised if that total is in double-digits this season. Denico Autry was a big surprise during last season. The 31-year-old tied his career-high with 9 sacks. Now, if Bud Dupree can produce in year 2 of his Tennessee tenure, this pass rush is in business. Dupree only had 3 sacks last year but if healthy, he is capable of much more.
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3. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have the biggest unknown with the most upside on this list. At their full potential, they could be number 1 on this list. However, if health holds them back they are a non-factor. Of course, this all hinges on the pass rush duo of Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith. When healthy, these two are as good as any edge duo in the league. Before his injury, Hunter posted back-to-back 14.5 sack seasons. He is long and explosive but injury has sidelined him over the better part of 2 years. Smith also produced back-to-back dominant seasons before a back injury kept him out most of 2021. Packers fans certainly know Zs’ impact when healthy.
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Behind Hunter and Smith is D.J. Wonnum who had 8 sacks last season (5 against the Bears). Inside, Armon Watts generated pressure as well, but overall the success of this pass rush will depend on the top edge rushers and their health. The Vikings are all-in with Hunter and Smith returning to form.
2. Los Angeles Rams
When arguably the greatest defensive tackle of all time is the centerpiece of your defense there is going to be success. The Super Bowl champion Rams have the luxury of Aaron Donald to harass opposing quarterbacks. Donald has been nothing but spectacular during his Hall of Fame career and 2022 will be business as usual. He can move all around the defensive front and will demand double teams.
The speed rush specialist Leonard Floyd had a career year in 2021. He recorded 12 sacks in his first season in Los Angeles. Floyd is fluid and uses his speed to bend around the edge for pressures. Defensive tackle Greg Gaines also had some pressures but L.A. isn’t as deep as other teams on this list. Still, with the elite production from Donald and Floyd combo, the Rams’ pass rush will be a handful.
1. Washington Commanders
And that gets us to the top spot. The Commanders might be a little of a surprise here. As a whole, they might not get the most sacks out of these 5 teams on this list. However, they possess something no other team offers. Washington can generate pressure constantly from all four spots in their even front. Their four starters are all QB hunters and don’t need to blitz for help.
Defensive end Chase Young is back from injury and the sky is the limit for #99. He has all the gifts to be elite off the edge. Montez Sweat always seems to fly under the radar but he is solid off the other side. Sweat has 22 sacks over the last 3 seasons but he is constantly getting pressure on quarterbacks. Going inside, Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen are one of the best tandems in the NFL. The pair accounted for 15 sacks in 2021. The Commanders also added rookie big man Phidarian Mathis to the mix. Mathis excelled at Alabama by getting inside pressure. With a budding superstar off the edge and superior inside play, the Commander’s ranked number 1 on this list.
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– Jesse Hall is a writer for Full Press Coverage Packers. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @hall_jhall1212 Follow @FPCoverage and Facebook.
– Kyle Senra is the managing editor for Full Press Coverage Packers. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @SenraSays Follow @FPC_Packers and Facebook.
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