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Key Battles for Packers vs. Seahwks

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Key Battles for Packers vs. Seahwks

The Green Bay Packers kept hope alive last week with a pounding of the Houston Texans, but the difficulty level is ratcheted up a notch or eight when the Seattle Seahawks show up. The weather is supposed to be nasty again this weekend, but the Seahawks are used to bad weather, unlike the Texans.

It will be a factor if it happens, but not to the extent it was last week.

The Packers face two big challenges—their lack of run games and their lack of linebackers. Losing Nick Perry hurts, but the Packers can take some solace in the fact that the Seahawks lost Earl Thomas for the season.

They have been able to limit the negative impact of not having run game so far, though there have been times when it would have helped to have it. While Christine Michael wasn’t exactly the juggernaut last week, he also didn’t get consistent carries. If the Packers want to see if he can establish the run, they have to let him run.

Of course, this is the team which signed and then barely used Knile Davis. I’m not sold they’re committed to the run game whatever Mike McCarthy says in press conferences. If they want to prove otherwise they have to let Michael run. They should also use Ty Montgomery, who has seemed to be the best of the backfield this season since Eddie Lacy went down.

The problem is that the Seahawks run defense is pretty stout. They average 99.2 rushing yards allowed per game but have only coughed up nine touchdowns. Last week they held the whole Carolina backfield to just 89 yards.

The Packers have to get a little help from the backfield, though and will need to find a way to move the ball on the ground.

At the same time, they have to find a way to pressure—and contain—Russell Wilson. They can hope the elements help, but again, this is a team used to garbage weather.

The Packers' pass defense allows an average of 254.2 yards per game and has given up 24 touchdowns so far. They’ve only generated eight interceptions but balance it out with 30 sacks so far.

Wilson is a pain to nail down, and as the defense is playing shorthanded, they will be sore-pressed to keep him under control. Naturally, the advantage they have is that Seattle has a bad offensive line, but the Seahawks have been able to overcome that issue for years. If the Packers can take advantage of the lack of talent on the line, they should be able to get to Wilson before he has time to find his reads, as well as before he can escape and run outside the pocket.

The Packers need to execute in both areas this weekend if they are to keep pace with the Detroit Lions and keep their playoff hopes alive.

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Nick Perry's picture

McCarthy says it every week, "We need to stay committed to the run" or "We need to get player A,B, or C more involved". They don't seem to stay committed to the run, not even when Lacy was healthy, and players A, B, or C seems to sit on the bench for quarters at a time.

I get it's easy to get away from the run when Starks is your Tailback. The last 2 weeks on the opening plays Starks has had 2 carries for minus 4 yards. James Starks is 30 years old. He's at that age when RB seem to fall off the cliff at any moment. Not mad at Starks, he's been a nice #2 for the last few years. But the time has come to see what the others bring, especially when Starks has struggled in at least 10 of the 12 games this year. Yes he knows the protections, but so does The Ripper. This was a mess that was created at the beginning of the season, if Starks is the only one who can help protect Rodgers, then the Packers are in serious, serious trouble. Montgomery had an excellent game week 2 last season against Seattle, 2 games into his rookie year just as a receiver. He threw a few blocks and picked up some key 1st downs in that game. Monty is a pretty big dude at a shade over 6 feet tall and 215 pounds. I'd bet he could handle more than McCarthy has been using him.

On Defense we can only hope the Packers find a pass rush. Seattle doesn't have "Great" receivers but they seem to get open. Randall, Rollins, and Gunter hopefully can stay with them long enough to get to Wilson. If not it could be a long game. You better believe they'll be testing whoever the Packers have at OLB with the read option too.

RCPackerFan's picture

You know my opinion on Montgomery and Starks.

McCarthy the other day said that Montgomery could handle as many touches as they gave him. IMO, they need to give Montgomery 15+ touches on offense. He is a true weapon out of the backfield. And he isn't just a receiving threat or a gimmick RB. He is an actual RB. Getting him the ball in space would be huge for the offense.

Capers defenses have struggled against read option style offenses. Hopefully they learned a lot from the Titans game because I am willing to bet the Seahawks come out running the same types of plays that hurt the Packers right away in that game.

While Seattle's WR's are not great. Baldwin always seems to find a way to get wide open. He is deceptive. When the plays breakdown that is when Baldwin is the most effective.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

McCarthy's words and actions are orthogonal.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I like orthogonal. How about incongruent?

Tundraboy's picture

How about pointless drivel.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

The dot product of "McCarthy Says" and "McCarthy Does" is zero.

dobber's picture

You had me at orthogonal...

RCPackerFan's picture

I think 3 players on the Packers offense have to have huge games. Montgomery, Cook and Adams.

Montgomery has been the best threat out of the backfield. As a runner, receiver out of the backfield he has given the Packers something they haven't had in a while, speed.
This is a good video about Montgomery.

http://www.packers.com/media-center/videos/The-Rock-Report-Job-descripti...

Cook had 2 big key 3rd down catches against the Texans. He needs to make more impact plays like that. If he can draw the attention of the LB's and Safety's it will open up the outside for the receivers more.

Adams has become a really good player. He only had 1 catch against Houston, but on that play he came 3" away from turning a 17 yard gain into a 30+ yard gain based on determination. With most of the attention likely going to Nelson in this game, Adams has to deliver.

Nick Perry's picture

Sherman normally doesn't travel with a receiver. He normally will play LCB on the defense. Someone said something this week about lining Nelson up in the slot most of the game and I agree. The Packers HAVE to be willing to throw the ball at Sherman though. We've watched McCarthy play scared before and it leaves Rodgers with half the field to play with. That's a hard way to win, especially without a consistent running game. I think you're right about Adams and Cook but both need to play physical because that's exactly how Seattle will play them. Cook will be playing for a contract these next 4 games, whether that's in GB or somewhere else is to be determined.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yeah, I read somewhere the idea of putting Cobb and Nelson in the slot with Cook and Adams on the outside. I like that. Nelson has been very good in the slot.

I think we need to see more creativity this week. The reverse last week was great. Some of the formations that McCarthy has been using, has worked well. I would like to see him expand on that.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

You have to beat on Sherman early. Send Ripkowski on a few wheel routes to kick his ass. I loved how Ahman Green would go looking for the other teams best corner and punish him. I'd like to someone do that again.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

That was me, probably anyway. I also like the idea of matching Cook against Sherman.

Tundraboy's picture

So would I. This game especially. Take it right to them.

ray nichkee's picture

#DouchebagPackFan

ray nichkee's picture

#DouchebagPackFan

ray nichkee's picture

#DouchebagPackFan

Tundraboy's picture

At best MM will usually play 2 of the 3 leaving us wondering why he didn't play the 3rd guy
And of course,use one of those other two for 5 plays or less.

Hope MM forgets who he is for this game.

ray nichkee's picture

#DouchebagPackFan

Lphill's picture

Let's face it with all the injuries to the secondary and linebackers plus no real running game , what's the sense of making the playoffs this year, to go one and done again? This was just not our year. At least we know it was Mostly due to injuries as opposed to teams like Arizona and Carolina .

RCPackerFan's picture

I'm still not ready to give up on the season. Not until they are officially out of it.

If they lose to Seattle it gets very tough to make the playoffs.

That being said. There are no unbeatable teams in the NFL this year. The best teams in the NFC are the Cowboys, Lions, Giants, Seahawks.
If Green Bay makes the playoffs they could beat any of the teams they play.

Cowboys are a beatable team. They aren't flawless.
Lions are beatable.
Giants have a realistic possibility that they don't make the playoffs (their final 4 games are against the Cowboys, Lions, Eagles, Redskins).
Seahawks while are a good team and probably will be the toughest to beat in the playoffs, they are a different team away from Seattle.

Packers season hinges on what happens Sunday though.

Nick Perry's picture

IF the Packers lose to Seattle and Detroit beats the Bears at home the Packers would still have a shot but need to win the last 3 games and the Lions to lose their last 3. Stranger things have happened but those are some tough odds. BUT with that said the Lions have to go on the road and play the Giants and Cowboys and then at home against the Packers. My guess is they lose to the Giants and Cowboys which would make the week 17 game for the division, assuming the Packers beat the Bears and Vikings.

dobber's picture

Isn't that what week 17 should be all about? That's what the league wanted by pushing divisional games later in the season.

RCPackerFan's picture

Correct me if I'm wrong, but they still have a chance at the Wildcard right?

Right now the teams ahead of Green Bay in standings are the Cowboys, Giants, Redskins, Lions, Falcons, Buccaneers, Seahawks.

Giants have a tough schedule remaining. As do the Lions. Packers would just need to tie the Giants in record since they beat the Giants earlier in the year.

There is a realistic chance though that the Lions lose the last 3 games.

Nick Perry's picture

The Wildcard would be really tough because of the head to head tiebreaker. I'd say Seattle and Dallas are locks to win their Divisions so no matter what they'll be in. The Packers lost to the Falcons and Redskins so in the event of a tie those teams would be ahead of GB. The Packers beat the Giants but the Giants are up 2 games on them and Tampa 1 game. See how it plays out but to get in as a Wildcard a lot of things would need to work out for the Packers...A lot!

If GB handles their business they should have a shot at the Division come week 17.

Razer's picture

People keep discounting Detroit but they are a good football team. Stafford is playing his best ball since coming into the league and the defense keeps getting tougher and tougher. I don't see them losing to the Giants who just lost JPP.

This is a deep hole that we dug. We are that team that needs other guys to do our business.

dobber's picture

If number of wins is the measure of a good team, then, yes, they've got 8 wins. I'll argue that in about 4 weeks they'll have 9 wins and we'll wonder if they really were any good at all...

Tundraboy's picture

For this game, only pride is keeping me from going for a higher draft. Win Sunday and I can accept what happens the rest of year.

dobber's picture

This game begins and ends with the Packer OL. They need to keep a hobbled #12 clean and give the Packers a credible run game. If they can do that, the Packers have a shot.

According to yesterday's practice report, Lang and Tretter were both limited but have practiced both days this week. DNPs for the week so far are Fackrell (hamstring), Gunter (illness), and Perry (hand). Both Peppers (rest) and Matthews (shoulder) practiced on a limited basis yesterday.

RCPackerFan's picture

yeah, i would raise that and say that both OL and DL have to have huge games.

The OL has to give Rodgers time to throw. Though I would prefer Rodgers to get the ball out fast.

The DL has to be stout in the run game and really has to not allow Wilson to scramble around.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Seattle probably will send Baldwin and Graham over the middle. I don't have an answer for that other than pressure on Wilson.

ray nichkee's picture

#DouchebagPackFan

cheesehead1's picture

Injuries aside, time for this defense to step up. Not sure it will happen though, we're at game 13 now, hope I'm wrong. Also, as I mentioned very early in the season, this strength of schedule is meaningless! Didn't we have the easiest schedule on paper? Teams are usually very different, roster wise, each year. Here's hoping for a defense that will rise up and create some turnovers. Living in the NW all you hear is Seahawk talk which is understandable, but they tend to be too cocky and arrogant for my liking, especially P. Carroll. Go Packers!

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