Can the Packers Carry Momentum to Seattle?

The Packers first trip to Seattle since the NFC Championship Game loss almost four years ago feels like a must win for the team.

Following their win at Lambeau Field this past Sunday over the Miami Dolphins, the Packers moved to 4-4-1 on the season where they sit two games in the win column behind the division-leading Chicago Bears and just one spot out of the Wild Card race with seven games remaining.  To have any shot of achieving the playoffs this season, the Packers need to carry forward the momentum they built against the Dolphins into Seattle on Thursday night.

Like most NFL teams at this point of the season, the Packers are facing their fair share of struggles.  Aaron Rodgers sure hasn’t looked like his old self with a sharp decline in accuracy.  The offensive play calling has lacked getting key playmakers involved.  The Packers special teams units have surely struggled and they continued against the Dolphins by giving up a fake punt, a punt block and another fumbled return.  And last, the 0-4 road record really comes to light as the team heads to one of the toughest venues to play on short notice this week.

With seven games left to play and a muddled playoff race forming in the NFC, it’s time to separate the men from the boys in the NFC and we’ll get to find out if this Packers team is for real or not.  To start a push for the NFC North crown or a Wild Card spot, the Packers desperately need a win against a 4-5 Seahawks team that has had a roller coaster season up to this point.  Having won three straight games against the Seahawks at Lambeau Field, the Packers make their first trip to CenturyLink Field since the infamous NFC Championship game in January 2015.  To have a shot, the Packers must ride the waves of momentum they built this past Sunday.

Aaron Jones

On a topic that’s been beaten to death for weeks now and obviously more since his impressive performance against the Dolphins, the only thing I need to mention is Jones’ NFL leading 6.8 yards per carry on 78 total carries this season.  He is passing the eye test and the numbers test for everyone around the league and the season-high 15 carries he saw against Miami should be the bare minimum moving forward for the Packers to succeed.  It’s time to ride the Jones wave in Seattle and let the running game open the play-action passing game for Aaron Rodgers.

Emerging secondary

The Packers secondary has made quite a turnaround from one year ago and the continually improving group proved on Sunday that they have the ability to pick up for each other when injuries occur.  Rookie Jaire Alexander continues to prove his worth as a first-round selection and his cocky swagger was much needed in the Packers defensive backfield.  Tramon Williams is transitioning back to the free safety role he held under Mike Pettine’s watch during his time in Cleveland with the departure of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.  Other role players have stepped up nicely in duties to fill in for the injured Kevin King and Beshaud Breeland.  Josh Jones appears to be settling in nicely after seeing his first significant action on the defense this year the past two weeks.  Rookie Tony Brown continues to show signs on belonging in the NFL now that the mental lapses in judgment haven’t reared their ugly head.  Safety Raven Greene even got in on the action with a sack, a pass defended and a first down run on a fake punt to boot.  The group as a whole is having fun, celebrating each other’s successes and giving a very good vibe moving forward this season.  With upcoming matchups against Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins and Matt Ryan, the secondary will play an integral role in the Packers successes or failures for the rest of the season and I really like their chances.

Getting after the quarterback

Currently, the Packers quietly sit tied for the league lead in total team sacks at 31 for the season.  While not leaning on their top dollar veterans to accomplish this feat, new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is scheming sacks from all over the field.  Kenny Clark and Kyler Fackrell lead the team with five sacks on the season and Blake Martinez is close behind with four.  A large group of others has contributed as well from all over the defense.  While many were left clamoring for a high profile draft pick or free agent signing of an EDGE rusher, the pressure created on opposing quarterbacks with the current group should only improve as the season wears on and that bodes well for the Packers defensive unit as a whole and their chances for helping this team earn much-needed victories as November turns to December.

With the Bears and Vikings both ahead of the Packers in the NFC North standings and the teams facing each other this Sunday, the game in Seattle for the Packers has a must-win feel to it.  Now sitting as 2.5 point underdogs to the hosting Seahawks, the Packers and head coach Mike McCarthy must ride the momentum of the defense and their running game as they travel on short rest.  A victory in Seattle would set up a pivotal divisional game the following weekend against the Minnesota Vikings.

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Ryan Brunner is an avid Packers fan hailing from Chippewa Falls, WI.  He is a firm believer that punters are NFL players too!  Follow him on Twitter @brunwardo

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Comments (28)

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Lare's picture

November 13, 2018 at 06:41 pm

Simply put, the Packers just need to not beat themselves. That means better coaching and no turnovers, mistakes and penalties.

They haven't shown the ability to do that on the road this season yet, they'll need to do it on Thursday in order to beat the Seahawks on the road.

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NickPerry's picture

November 13, 2018 at 08:38 pm

otally agree...The Packers need to start winning now and keep it going starting Thursday. I'd say this game is just as important as the Miami game simply because it's against an NFC Team. Three of the Packers losses have come against the Redskins, Rams, and Lions, all NFC teams which after head to head and division records is the next tie-breaker IIRC. The Packers MUST start beating NFC teams.

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

November 13, 2018 at 08:36 pm

Last Packers road win..... ?

At Chicago?

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Samson's picture

November 13, 2018 at 08:49 pm

Maybe the Pack can take Seattle, at least in GB. --- But, this is another road game. --- R. Wilson may carve up a weak GB secondary. -- He looked good against a better team in the Rams just a few days ago. -- GB will need a few breaks to pull this one out.

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SpudRapids's picture

November 14, 2018 at 08:33 am

I don't think the secondary is as weak as you think

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MarkinMadison's picture

November 14, 2018 at 09:22 am

The test is always, "how do you fare against top QBs.?" Because that is what you will see 4/5 times in the playoffs. Osweiller is not a top QB.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

November 14, 2018 at 10:15 am

The Packers have historically matched up best against Seattle when GB can run the ball. With our defense banged up I expect the offense to go heavy and burn clock.

The defense can hold their own as long as they don’t over-commit on the pass rush. Wilson will make GB pay every time they give him daylight.

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Hawg Hanner's picture

November 14, 2018 at 12:39 pm

Weak secondary? Its much improved! Pack may lose but it will not be the fault of the DB's.

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 13, 2018 at 10:06 pm

What? You doubters ignore how Fackrell and the rest of the New Gang Green tilt the field like the '85 Bears D? Kyler is a modern day Jim Gueno, and you can take that to the bank. Pettine is a genius (word from Pete Dougherty is Gute has given Petine a $250 gift card to the 1919 Pub!) working magic with second-rate talent.

On the offensive side, 12 continues to shake off the rust, and with Aaron Jones looking like Gale Sayers, the Pack should at least be competitive. I look for us to start fast, settle in slow, and then fizzle out all together. Look for early tells in our pad level, and how many guys are chasing Russell Wilson.

Oh, and MM is fat, TT left the cupboard bare, Murph needs to go, Cobb, CM3, and Perry are wasting my personal funds, MM wasted 12's prime years, players need to stop getting hurt, and everyone who makes a mistake should be fired. Did I touch all the CHTV comment bases?

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Since'61's picture

November 13, 2018 at 10:14 pm

You left out Zook, the Special teams debacles and the officials conspiracy against the Packers, but otherwise a good job.
Speaking strictly for myself I like Aaron Jones and I think that he is a fine RB but it's been nearly 50 years and I'm pretty confident that we won't see the likes of Gayle Sayers again. He was a once in a lifetime player. The Kansas Comet, "All I need is 18 inches of daylight." Thanks, Since '61

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 14, 2018 at 08:40 am

Damn, The Zooker slipped my mind, as did the zebras.

Agree with you on Sayer, too. As my dad used to say "now there was a ballplayer."

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LambeauPlain's picture

November 14, 2018 at 09:34 am

Gale Sayers was once in a lifetime for pure RB talent, cut short by injury.

Jim Brown was once in a lifetime for pure RB consistency and game after game excellence.

Jim Taylor was once in a lifetime for pure RB toughness and stamina that simply wore out defenses. He got better as the game clock ticked off the minutes.

Aaron Jones is once in a lifetime opportunity for MM to have a blue chip/all pro QB, WR, and RB on the field at the same time. Will he take advantage?

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Lare's picture

November 14, 2018 at 05:18 pm

You forgot Barry Sanders and OJ Simpson. They made moves I didn't think were humanly possible.

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Since'61's picture

November 13, 2018 at 10:09 pm

This is one of the reasons why I hate TNF. I would feel much more confident about the Packers chances if they had a full week to prepare for this game.

Going on the road to Seattle is always tough but doing it on 3 days rest is ridiculous. Hopefully they can maintain their momentum from Sunday's win while Seattle is still recovering from a tough divisional loss against the Rams.

Like the Packers this game is a must win for Seattle to remain in the wild card chase if nothing else. If the Packers don't beat themselves they have a chance. It would be a great confidence boost if they can get their first road win of the season in Seattle. Hopefully our young players can rise to the occasion. Go pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

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BradHTX's picture

November 14, 2018 at 05:27 am

Unfortunately, to me this game feels like last week’s Packer game, for the Seahawks: a home game against a mediocre opponent following a tough road loss, and an opportunity to get right by beating up on a team that you should handily beat.

I hope I’m wrong, I really do. Everything is trending the right direction for the Pack (well, except maybe ST) and if they can play a complete game I believe they can win. I just don’t have a lot of faith in MM to stick with what’s working and in AR to take what the D is giving him. If the Pack loses, it will doubtless be because one of the two of them reverts to his natural tendencies and we see the offense we have become all too used to seeing.

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LambeauPlain's picture

November 14, 2018 at 09:37 am

I agree. TNF is simply NFL greed and it is diluting their brand. I will watch the game obviously but have rarely watched any Thursday games for the last few years.

Fortunately the Seabirds have a short week too but home field is a huge advantage for TNF.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 13, 2018 at 11:04 pm

Hope so. Glad I don't have to wait a whole week to find out.

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Cartwright's picture

November 14, 2018 at 12:13 am

This is a revenge game. Rodgers has not forgotten what should have been his chance to play in the SB of 2915. He had those chickens plucked then and with a rising defense will pluck them again and this time stay plucked. Go Pack Go

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Barnacle's picture

November 14, 2018 at 04:39 am

Unfortunately, we still have MM calling the plays and very poor coaching of our STs players.

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Lare's picture

November 14, 2018 at 05:21 pm

Not sure Rodgers will still be under contract in 2915.

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Cartwright's picture

November 15, 2018 at 09:08 am

sorry, Fat finger

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PAPackerbacker's picture

November 14, 2018 at 05:29 am

The Packers ability to win on the road raises a lot of doubt about their chances against the Seahawks. That's a loud stadium and Russel Wilson can beat you with his legs and keep the sticks moving. If the Packers take what the defense offers and quit trying to hit the big pass play down field most of the time and spread the wealth they have an excellent chance of winning their first road game. Obviously they need to get Aaron Jones involved in the running game with 20 or more rushes and the play - action will become a lot more effective. Start strong, remain strong, and finish strong is the key to victory. So far the Packers have not been able to do that this year. If they play 60 minutes of football their chances are good, if not it will be the same old same old.

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Lphill's picture

November 14, 2018 at 05:34 am

If McCarthy and Zook miss the plane to Seattle then yes the winning momentum can continue.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

November 14, 2018 at 09:24 am

momentum? The Packers have won 1 game and now you're talking about keeping the momentum going? Please.

Win 2 more games in a row and then we will talk about momentum especially playing away at Seattle and Minnesota.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 14, 2018 at 09:49 am

Exactly my first reaction.

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MarkinMadison's picture

November 14, 2018 at 09:26 am

I had hopes at the beginning of the season that somewhere around this point the Packers secondary would start turning the corner in the same way that a young Falcons secondary did a few years back. This is now a very different group of players. New guys, guys moving positions. If they can find consistency and cohesion then I'll be thrilled, but I won't be shocked or disappointed if there are a few bumps in the road. A good QB like Wilson can cause bumps - IF his OL can be reasonably competent.

I still feel like the only thing holding this offense down (besides the RG) is the playcalling.

They're not out of it yet, but the margin of error ain't much. Go Pack Go!

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LambeauPlain's picture

November 14, 2018 at 09:44 am

After last week, this season and the last 3 years, Zook should be fired and MM should give STs to Philbin for an additional role. I mean just how does MM use Joe on O now? Does Joe get him his coffee and jelly donuts?

Better yet, let Philbin actually be an OC and MM takes over STs and also begins to coach the entire team...aka Bellichick.

I know, I dream.

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Lare's picture

November 14, 2018 at 05:26 pm

Patience Weedhopper, the Packers time to win is next season.

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