Key Matchups Divisional Round: Packers vs. Seahawks

Sunday Night we will all be watching as the next chapter of the Packers, Seahawks rivalry unfolds.  Each organization has had some classic playoff moments against the other that will live in the minds of their fans forever.  Most of the games between these two rivals has come down to one or two plays and I expect this to be the case again tomorrow night.

Each team finds themselves just three wins away from a Super Bowl championship which makes every play crucial in extending their championship journey. In order to move on, each team will have to play a complete sixty minutes of football and win as many of these four key matchups as they can. 

4 Key Matchups for the Seattle Seahawks vs. The Green Bay Packers: 

1. Aaron Rodgers vs. The Seahawks blitz:

In order to combat their 26th ranked passing defense the Seahawks will most likely try and send the heat against Rodgers early and often which will make the slant/slant and go and quick screen games paramount in beating the blitz.  If Rodgers can find himself tomorrow night, he can make the Seahawks pay for sending extra blitzers.  

Secondly, Rodgers needs to reverse the trend by checking out of some passing plays and utilize Aaron Jones and the Packers strong offensive front with some second level A Gap runs.  

2. Keeping Russell Wilson Inside the Pocket (The Smith Brothers vs. Ifedi and Brown) (Kenny Clark, Tyler Lancaster and Dean Lowry vs. Iupati, Hunt, and Fluker)*or reserves in the likely event that one or multiple members of the Seahawks offensive line can’t play. (It’s a playoff game so maybe one of them gives it a go)  

The easiest way to prevent Russell Wilson from making the highlight reel plays that he is accustomed to making is to send the heat and compromise his weak offensive line.  In order to do this the Packers have to cover both the A gap as well as the edges because Wilson is at his best when he is outside of the pocket.  I will be looking to see if Za’Darius and Preston Smith can have their best performances in Green Bay tomorrow night.  

Another tactic that I will be on the lookout for will be the QB spy.  I think that spying Amos or Savage in particular pass rushing plays could prevent Wilson from running free throughout the pocket as well as the second and third levels of the Packers defense. 

3. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett vs. Kevin King and Jaire Alexander: 

I think this is the key matchup of the game.  Last week we saw DK Metcalf wreck the game by making several crucial plays against the Eagles secondary and we know that Tyler Lockett is one of Wilson’s most trusted targets.  In my opinion, shutting down Metcalf and Lockett will be the key to stifling Seattle’s offense.  If Green Bay sends pressure they have to know that King and Alexander can hold up against a heave downfield or a quick sideline pattern of third down.  

4. Battle of Special Teams: 

For obvious reasons, the Packers cannot have a repeat performance of the 2014 NFC Championship game on Sunday Night.  They need to lean on JK Scott to punt it high, deep, and near the sidelines to eliminate any big returns, and hope Tyler Ervin can provide them with some more magic.  

Keys for Green Bay:

1. Neutralize the Seahawk blitz

2. Take Advantage of the Middle of the field

3. Keep Russell Wilson in the pocket

4. Defend against the home run ball. 

Keys for Seattle:

1. Make Green Bay a passing team and unload the heat.

2. Make Rodgers throw the ball deep or throw it away.

3. Scheme DK Metcalf away from Kevin King and toward the smaller members in the secondary (use the deep ball and jump ball)

4. Use Homer and Lynch strategically. 

Prediction: I think the Seahawks are the better team all around (slightly) but I just have a feeling that the Packers hang around for sixty minutes and make a dramatic play in the fourth quarter to win.  Rodgers to Lazard on a slant play for a 40 yard touchdown to win it late. Give me the Packers 28-24 in an unforgettable win at Lambeau.  Hopefully I will see you all at Lambeau next week, Go Pack Go! 

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David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

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Comments (40)

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NWPackersfan's picture

January 11, 2020 at 12:05 pm

So i agree with most of your analysis but i don't think the Seahawks offensive line will be very good in this game. In fact based on the latest injury report many of the names you mention may not even play including Iupati who is listed doubtful and Broan and Fant will be game time decisions
https://www.seahawks.com/news/duane-brown-george-fant-game-day-decision-...

Our defense will be more dominate than ever given these issues on offense

Go Pack!!!! Packers 28-11 Victory

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 11, 2020 at 12:32 pm

Let's all send Kenny Clark some get well energy. The Packers are going to need him feeling well Sunday evening.

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CAG123's picture

January 11, 2020 at 12:54 pm

Please tell me what makes the Seahawks the better team even slightly? What advantages do they have over the Packers? As much as the media has been busting the Packers chops about how they win you look over and see the Hawks winning the exact same way but also losing waaaaay uglier. If I had to say the Hawks advantages it would probably be LB by a mile and their coach of course being more seasoned but that's it as far as distinct advantages.

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Cubbygold's picture

January 11, 2020 at 02:13 pm

Yeah that was an interesting statement. All week I've heard they have a terrible pass defense, they have a terrible pass rush, their o-line is bad and their rb group is decimated. You're not taking lockett over DA. You're not taking anyone over KC or ZS. I think you do that exercise and end up with 15 Packers and 7 Seahawks.

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PatrickGB's picture

January 11, 2020 at 03:10 pm

Well, they did quite well against tougher competition. While we struggled. So, there is that.

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CAG123's picture

January 11, 2020 at 03:58 pm

You sure about that? I see a team that scraped by against the Bengals, got blown out by the Rams, Ravens and Cardinals they split with everyone in their division they beat 3 playoff teams and the Packers beat two. I don't know what you mean by "did quite well" considering they won the exact same way the Packers did. The difference the Packers won ugly more and loss ugly less.

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flackcatcher's picture

January 11, 2020 at 08:06 pm

Agree. Seahawks see these teams (49ers etc.) far more often then the Packers do. Not surprising for a football team to pick up on strengths and weakness down to system and personnel when they play them that often.

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PatrickGB's picture

January 11, 2020 at 10:46 pm

CAG, I liked the way you phrased that. ;-)

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aron_roger's picture

January 11, 2020 at 01:40 pm

he is beauty
he is prosper
he is aron roger
aron roger is best

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Bearmeat's picture

January 11, 2020 at 02:48 pm

If the Seahawks were perfectly healthy, maybe they'd be the better team. But we'll never know. As it stands, GB has the better OL. Better DL. Better secondary. SEA has better WRs but GB has the CBs to handle it. Basically, this game is GB vs. Russ.

Keep him in the pocket.
No blown coverages.
No turnovers.

Good guys win. If they do all 3 of those things, they win by more than 10.

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PatrickGB's picture

January 11, 2020 at 03:07 pm

Have Amos and Savage spy Wilson AND blanket cover Metcalf and locket? I don’t think that you can have it both ways. I don’t see Martinez as a spy because he is not as quick as a DB. All the Packers can do is limit their offense and out score them and hold on for sixty minutes.
Oh, and watch out for trick plays.

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NashvilleCheesehead's picture

January 12, 2020 at 07:24 am

Different situations will call for different schemes.

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Dzehren's picture

January 11, 2020 at 03:34 pm

GB needs to control the line of scrimmage. Run the ball and keep Wilson’s scrambling ability in check.

A-ROD needs to get rid of the ball. Lockett has minimal targets- DK Metcallf receives the most targets. Doubling DK is also a key.

The packers are healthy and Seahawks are banged up.
Weather conditions also supports teams that can run the ball. Advantage GB.

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Lphill's picture

January 11, 2020 at 04:14 pm

How clowney is getting away with that illegal hit on Wentz is awful , no fine , nothing, Mike Perriria said he should have been ejected , yet not even a fine. It just sends him a message that he can do it again . Let’s hope the refs keep an eye on him.

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fastmoving's picture

January 11, 2020 at 05:13 pm

Hit was not illegal and if they had called it you would complain about that.
"the NFL destoys the game, you cant hit the QB anymore"

Poor NFL, where should they go with such fans…….the will always complain. About everything

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ThxJackVainisi's picture

January 11, 2020 at 06:09 pm

I disagree - it looked to me like he targeted QB's helmet with his helmet.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 11, 2020 at 07:47 pm

That's how it looked to me. I thought the league was trying to get rid of that stuff.

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Lphill's picture

January 11, 2020 at 07:59 pm

Fastmoving why are you defending a dirty player Clowney had several hits like that during the season , Mike Perraria said it was a bad hit as well as other network commentators.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 12, 2020 at 11:53 am

It was a Vegas call.

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Pierre's picture

January 11, 2020 at 04:18 pm

One comparison is that Seattle beat SF (and inches away from doing it twice) while Green Bay was blown out and dominated by SF. That seems significant.
Rodgers needs to make quick accurate throws and decisions against the Seahawk blitzes and the Packers have a good chance to win and move on.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 11, 2020 at 06:28 pm

I will be unhappy if GB has to devote Savage to the spy role. I think some Amos, some Preston, some Fackrell.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 11, 2020 at 06:43 pm

Savage will be the deep guy or switch off and blitz into Russell's face.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 12, 2020 at 05:47 pm

I don't think we'll spy that much; the focus will be on keeping him throwing from the pocket. If we can keep Seattle from hurting us with the scramble drill, we're going to win.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

January 11, 2020 at 06:42 pm

I think no matter who wins the 49er are probably going to kill either of these teams unless some miracle of a game plan is used...

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mrj007's picture

January 11, 2020 at 08:04 pm

After watching them crush Minnesota I completely agree.

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flackcatcher's picture

January 11, 2020 at 08:13 pm

Vikings came out completely flat. Cleveland would have crush that team today. This year either the Vikings were good, or bad. Today, on a playoff game they were bad, very bad. Rebuild starts tonight....

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 11, 2020 at 08:18 pm

I don't disagree, but I am watching Tenn take it to Baltimore. So far, anyway. I guess that's why they play the games.

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stockholder's picture

January 11, 2020 at 08:21 pm

SF does have a dark side. It won't take a miracle. The team and city are like a maze. You only have to leave the bay to know that. A syringe should be their new logo. The Rhetoric and hype has affected their makeup. The biggest difference from the past to the present is their DL. Stop the rush and you’ll beat them. The niners are pretenders. They will not be champions.

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NickPerry's picture

January 12, 2020 at 03:49 am

Just like the Seahawks found out it's DIFFICULT to beat a team twice in the same season. I think the 49ers are probably the best team left in the playoffs for the NFC but that doesn't mean the Packers can't do what the Titans have done to both the Pats and Ravens....BEAT the better team.

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dobber's picture

January 12, 2020 at 05:06 pm

Just need to make them play from behind.

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Pierre's picture

January 11, 2020 at 08:32 pm

If Rodgers does not play good and get this Packers team past Seattle at Lambeau he’s basically done. This is a team with a defense good enough to win a Super Bowl.

It will be a waste paying him 33 million going forward and it’ll be time to plan towards a new QB to lead this team if he does not win. No more excuses.

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flackcatcher's picture

January 11, 2020 at 08:46 pm

Couple points. We will not know the effect of short term injuries on this Packer team until kickoff. That said, this team has been unusually healthy this year, and I do see that continuing. So basically, the coaching staffs know who is a go, and who is not. Seattle is a mess in their offensive line, but these guys are playing at the pro level, don't forget that. Both teams have not, repeat not seen each other live. Video is one thing, seeing the speed and taking contact is another. Things could turn sideways for both teams fast depending on who is the better video study. And last, field conditions. Let's not forget the hard November frost here in Wisconsin. Caught the folks at 1265 flat footed and killed the grass early. As a result that field turned to glassy mess where neither team (Packers-Bears) had traction for most of the second half. Sunday night is going to be a winter wonderland.... NOT ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD. How both teams adapt their game plans and game play will be a real factor in the outcome. Going to be an icy dicey mess by early in the second half. Remember the X-factors...

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Packers0808's picture

January 11, 2020 at 09:08 pm

What is wrong with Clark?

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mrj007's picture

January 11, 2020 at 09:47 pm

Illness

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mrj007's picture

January 11, 2020 at 09:57 pm

Actually it looks like its Clarks back

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jerrybrown's picture

January 12, 2020 at 03:57 am

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mrj007's picture

January 11, 2020 at 09:48 pm

Looks like Packers got hit with flu big. This took down the Pats earlier in the season. This isn’t good news for Green Bay

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marpag1's picture

January 12, 2020 at 04:59 am

I'll be bummed if the Packers don't beat the Seachicks, of course. But even if the Packers lose, we can still take solace in this: the VIkes just became the first team in NFL history to lose 30 games in the playoffs. The fact that they've accomplished this impressive feat without ever winning the Super Bowl just makes it that much better.

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Boneman's picture

January 12, 2020 at 06:18 am

Concluding that the Sea Chickens are the better team all around is silly. I see little evidence to support that. This game reminds me of the Giants, Redskins and Lions games at the end of the season where the "winning ugly" mantra was solidified. For that reason the game may be closer than it should be. Otherwise I can't see the Packers losing this game. Don't be surprised if the game becomes a laugher by the 4th quarter. If you don't think Aaron Rogers is sick of the media bashing him you're living in a box.

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jlc1's picture

January 12, 2020 at 09:11 am

I am sure Rodgers is sick of being bashed. The question is what is he going to do about it, or more so what can he do about it? Objectively and subjectively he has not shown elite stuff this year. Elite though is necessary for Wilson to win this game not Rodgers. Rodgers just has to put the ball on his receivers hands when they're open.

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