By Zach Walker
Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Sunday – January 18 – 2:05 pm cst
CenturyLink Field – Seattle
What are the Packers doing right?
Aaron Rodgers is spreading the ball very well. Nothing new, but it’s what won them the game against Dallas. If Jordy Nelson isn’t open, it’s going to Randall Cobb. If Cobb has tight coverage, that’ll probably open up the rookie Davante Adams. The tight ends are a big part of the Packers offense in the red zone, Quarless and Rodgers always seem to open themselves up when even a hobbled Aaron Rodgers scrambles for extra time. Eddie Lacy (might be a game time decision) is pounding the rock right now and has an above five yards per carry through the last seven games, off of 136 carries and 693 yards rushing, and if the Packers attack the strength of the Seattle defense, it could be a surprise move that could pay off, because of the lack of Mebane and Hill in the middle.
What are the Packers doing wrong?
The Packers defense, as I stated in my Dallas versus Green Bay preview, is playing good football, but what worked in their favor against Dallas might not be work into the same situations against Seattle. What the Pack’s attack doesn’t have to worry about is a massive weapon working against the secondary, because the Seahawks do not have a huge individual threat on the outside for Russell Wilson, but that might be a strength of the ‘Hawks. The Seahawks offensive line isn’t the best, but they have seriously improved for a couple of months. Now with Max Unger back they can get the push needed against a group of pass rush happy linebackers.
How hot are the Seahawks right now?
To say that beating a flawed Carolina team was as hard an out as Dallas was for Green Bay, is just crazy, but the Seahawks played their game, and they did it with little resistance. But it wasn’t on offense that they really played their game, because if a quick glance over of the stats form the game, it was supremely even. Both teams gave up two sacks, but the Panthers actually outgained the Seahawks, had five more first downs, and were actually better on third down. But the game isn’t played on paper, and on the turf in Seattle, the defense forced Cam Newton to look like he didn’t know what to look for downfield. That Seattle defense forced two interceptions and recovered one of the three fumbles they caused. In Seattle, the secondary is like a tuning fork, they start banging, that energy just resonates throughout the crowd, and interceptions are like Christmas in that stadium.
What could trip the Seahawks up?
Not much. It’s a hobbled quarterback against an aggressive defense in that environment. It could end up being more of the same journey into Seattle, a big time loss for the visitor. But, if there is a quarterback that can go into that environment, within his own new limitations, Aaron Rodgers knows how to get things done. Allowing Eddie Lacy, John Kuhn, or either tight end to catch one of those little bailout, pressure is on top of Rodgers, checkdown throws to go for first downs, that’s a back breaker for any defense. I imagine that Green Bay is going to start the game the same way they did against Dallas, and that’s pound the wall with their sledgehammer, Eddie Lacy.
My biggest argument is against Aaron Rodgers for MVP. It all goes back to the first game of this NFL season. It opened as the rematch of the infamous replacement refs “Fail-Mary.” The Seahawks were obviously fully charged to open up their title defense against Green Bay. The Seahawks “Legion of Boom” have a reputation that obviously precedes them, because Rodgers was very off his game. He missed ten throws and the pressure from the Seahawks front four was like a faucet that was turning off. But my disdain for Rodgers was that he didn’t throw at Richard Sherman one time. Didn’t test the water, didn’t dip a toe, didn’t check the temperature. The argument could be “it’s smart to plan against Sherman, and why bother throwing at him.” Well, Rodgers should test him, because he’s supposed to be the best quarterback in the league, and he didn’t attempt one towards him. What’s with that, Mister MVP?
Prediction: Seattle 30 – Green Bay 17… I’m going to say that this game is going to be tight and exciting for the first thirty minutes, but in the second half, I’m predicting that the house is going to be a sea of rowdy fans and it’s going to go bad for the Packers.