By: Bill Tewes, Mark Prott, & Jim Boyce
The Packers outlasted the Texans (and the snow) last Sunday to get back to 6-6 and inject some optimism back into the fan base. The Lions keep winning though, which makes the upcoming game against Seattle crucial to the teams playoff chances.
SEAHAWKS 24 PACKERS 23
The loss of Earl Thomas cannot be overstated. The All-World safety of the Seahawks will be out after a bad leg injury last weekend. This will open up some opportunities for Rodgers in the passing game. The Offensive Line has been solid all season, overcoming the loss of Josh Sitton quite nicely in fact. They will need to be on top of their game once again to keep Rodgers clean. I have a feeling Green Bay will need to get a running game going for the first time in awhile to win this one.
The Packers defense has looked better the last two weeks, but I still have reservations about them. They played a slumping rookie in Carson Wentz and perhaps the worst starter in the NFL right now in Brock Osweiler. Russell Wilson’s numbers don’t jump off the page but he is plenty capable of taking the defense apart in the same way Marcus Mariota and Kirk Cousins did. Jimmy Graham could do a lot of damage in this one. Green Bay needs to put the clamps on Seattle’s run game to eliminate play action.
My heart wants Green Bay to win but my mind says this will be a tall order. Getting Seattle at home as opposed to away certainly helps a lot and I suspect this will be a nail biter. Unfortunately the Packers have suffered a lot of heartbreak at the hands of the NFC West the last half decade and I think this may be another game that goes against them in the end.
SEAHAWKS 14 PACKERS 24
Aaron Rodgers wants us to believe the Packers can run the table and make things interesting in the NFC. Rodgers is trying to light the fire under this team and get everyone believing in the Packers as a force in not only the division, but the NFC as well. Talk is typically cheap, but the Packers have been taking care of business recently, even if their opponents are not up to snuff. This week’s opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, offers a unique challenge to show what this Packers team is capable of.
If the Packers take down Seattle in Green Bay, they will be the hottest team in the NFL (aside from Dallas who still has yet to lose a game since week 1) and will still have a great chance to win the division with all of their divisional opponents left.
I said it the past couple of weeks and I’ll say it again and again. Mike McCarthy needs to find a way to dedicate the run game to Ty Montgomery. I cannot understand why they refuse to trust Montgomery with a larger workload. Starks is ineffective and Christine Michael either hasn’t learned the playbook yet, or just is not getting it done. Green Bay is going to need some balance if they want to decimate Seattle’s secondary and take advantage of their loss of Earl Thomas.
The offense has been clicking as of late and one of the reasons I believe the Packers can hang with Seattle Sunday afternoon. Seattle is a difficult team to figure out, what team is going to show up? The team that blew out Carolina last week and beat the best team in the league (New England)? Or the team that lost to the Rams 9-6 and the Buccaneers where they could only score five points? I’ll take Green Bay with their backs against the wall in a almost must win game at home!
PACKERS 26 SEAHAWKS 24
The forecast of snow for a second week in a row in Green Bay Sunday afternoon should benefit the Packers and give them a fighting chance to pull this one out. The Packers have momentum building and it is time they have a statement game against a top flight competitor. The snowy slick conditions should slow down the speed of the Seahawks defense and give Rodgers enough time to make some plays. It would be refreshing to see the Packers attack the middle of the defense especially without Earl Thomas patrolling the middle of the field. I think some tight end seam routes with Jared Cook could be in order. The running back carousel will be interesting to follow as I expect a hot hand approach. I imagine it will come down to Christine Michael and Ty Montgomery fighting for touches. Montgomery could be especially useful in the short passing game and provide a security blanket for Rodgers against a stifling defense. However, Christine Michael will no doubt be looking to make a statement and get revenge on the team that gave up on him.
The Packers defense must take advantage of the Seahawks porous and inexperienced offensive line. Russell Wilson is great when he has time and the Seahawks possess playmakers in Jimmy Graham and Doug Baldwin plus the speedy Tyler Lockett. However, this offensive line is not good and there can be no excuses if the Packers don’t dominate the line of scrimmage. Clay Matthews is reportedly feeling much better this week. I don’t care if he plays in the middle or outside, just wreak havoc. The return of Damarious Randall has settled the secondary to a degree but this one will need to be settled in the trenches if the Packers stand a chance. Julius Peppers has begun making his presence known again and there is plenty of opportunity to keep it rolling this week.