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Aaron Rodgers didn't expect Packers' running success

When Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jermichael Finley went down with injuries, popular sentiment had the Green Bay Packers' offense taking a step back.

Instead, the unit has remained among the league's best. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been excellent as always, but it's the rise of the running game that's truly made the difference. The Packers currently rank third in the NFL with 141.1 yards per game on the ground. Who saw that coming?

During a Tuesday appearance on ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption," Rodgers admitted the team's success in the backfield has surprised him.

"Every team is different," Rodgers said, via "I didn't really expect this type of production from the run game this year, but here we are. We're sitting in the top five in yards per game rushing the football."

The Packers can thank Eddie Lacy for their success. The rookie running back has rushed for 395 yards over the past four weeks, the best total in the NFL, and took home October's Offensive Rookie of the Month honor. James Starks provided an additional boost with his return to the lineup Sunday, giving the team a formidable punch down the stretch.

"That definitely takes a lot of pressure off of some holes we've had to fill in the passing game," Rodgers said.

The Packers are flying under the radar a bit this season, but they deserve a closer look when discussing the top NFC contenders. The presence of a top running game helps all phases of the team, making Green Bay a much harder out come January.

We handed out our Midseason Hero Awards in the latest "Around The League" Podcast.

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