Packers Periscope: NFC Championship at Seattle Seahawks

The Past: Here we go again, right?  Interestingly, while many fans are calling this the new Cowboys-Packers one-sided rivalry from the 1980s-1990s in reality, Packers fans only say that because of the “fail mary” touchdown and a loss on opening day this season.  If you go back 10 years, the Packers have played the Seahawks 7 times including in the playoffs and have lost 3 of them, not exactly the complete decimation that fans are making it up to be.  When you consider that the “fail mary” game was played poorly by both sides (keep in mind the final score was 14-12), and the 2014 season opener was against the Super Bowl champions in their homecoming (which historically is always won by the home team) the Packers have probably done as well as can be expected.  Nevertheless, Packers fans have been fearful of the Seahawks probably since the 2014 schedule was announced and have a sort of optimistic dread that 1) the Packers would get a shot to play in the Super Bowl but 2) that they would have to go through Seattle at home.

The Present: It’s not very common for the #1 and #2 seeds to play each other nowadays; perhaps even more uncommon is that the #1 offense will meet the #1 defense.  The Packers boast the best offense in the league according to DVOA (Football Outsiders’ metric) ranking 2nd when passing and 6th when running, leading to a very balanced attack that can exploit match ups and allow Aaron Rodgers to pick the most favorable play.  On the other side, the Seahawks have the league leading defensive DVOA, ranking 3rd against the pass and 2nd against the run.  The Seahawks are a staggering 25% more effective than average against the run, which basically means running backs have basically been walled off against the Seahawks front 7 and safeties; runners have averaged 3.4 yards on 380 attempts for 1304 yards and only 8 touchdowns; keep in mind the Seahawks have faced DeMarco Murray and Jamal Charles, probably the two best running backs in the league currently.

While statistically the Packers offense and Seahawks defense match up quite evenly, the Seahawks offense definitely has the upper leg on the Packers defense.  While vastly improved from their first matchup in the beginning of the season, the Packers are exactly half way in the league defensive rankings, ranking 11th against the pass and 23rd against the run resulting in a perfectly average 16th ranking overall.  On the other hand, Seattle’s offense isn’t as great as the Packers but still are in the top 10, ranking 5th in the league and first in running the ball.  While there’s little chance that the Packers defense can really hold off the Seahawks offense, they only have to slow them down enough for the Packers offense to pull ahead.

At the end of the day, the Packers really have two options; first is to score a lot of points early and nullify the running game as the Seahawks pass to catch up (this has worked stunningly well for the Packers at home).  The other option is for the defense to stop Marshawn Lynch by themselves and then let Rodgers and co. grind out the clock with a balanced offense, which is also something that the Packers have done well, although this strategy is a lot less safe than the previous one.  Add to that the Packers will have to contend with a mobile quarterback in Russell Wilson, who can do his own damage with his legs and keeping the Packers defense fundamentally sound will be the utmost importance.

The Future: Winner gets a shot at the Lombardi trophy, simple as that.

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Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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  • Mark in Portland

    This season started in the summer for me. The Seahawks brought the Lombardie Trophy to Portland, were I live. I have a friend who can’t drive so I took him to the event in July. Of course, I had my Packer shirt on (#21 Woodson), When we walked over to see the mascot, Blitz, he saw my Packer shirt and 86’d me. It was all in good fun and I was able to get back in a retrieve my friend (who never did get to greet Blitz). Are any other Packer fans getting sick of Seahawk band wagoners? I so hope they pull an upset just to shut them up!

  • “The Packers will have 2 options, first to score a lot early….”

    So much this. I firmly think our only chance is to play mistake free football in the first half and get up by 10-14. Run the ball down their throats to open up the underneath routes for Cobb, Davante, Eddie and RRod/Q.

    They’re going to make a run in the 2nd half. They’ve done it all year. Especially at home. We NEED to be up by 2-3 scores when they do or we’re in trouble.

    We’re probably screwed anyway. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not giving up. But with ARod far from 100%… getting to the title game is a pretty good season guys.

    • Since ’61

      Bearmeat – I think that we need to go with our spread offense, create one on ones and make Seattle DBs cover as much of the field as possible and attack. When we run we run straight at them and pound them. On D we handled the Cowboys line pretty well so we should be able to handle Seahawk OL. Maybe we get a turnover or two. We can’t have any stupid penalties either. Our OL needs to carry the day. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

      • David

        I agree spread the field, throw caution to the wind, and score 38 points. run after establishing a deep threat presence.

      • Tundraboy

        I trust that is what MM is telling them as we write.

  • croatpackfan

    I will say that the Packer should play to their identity. And I disagree with Bearmeat that Seahawks offense is better than our D. I think our D can slow down already slow offense. And I expect few turnovers from Russel Wilson alone… Only one thing is in question. That is that Packers must bring with them their best game of the season. If that won’t be case, we might see long afternoon with little scoring and uncertain result…

    • Wilson might turn it over once. I would be shocked if its more. He’s ARod level careful with the ball. It’s more likely that Marshawn fumbles. And even though their receiving options are limited (at best), I’m scared of their TE – fast as heck. Just because assuming Clay is otherwise occupied with Lynch and Wilson, he’s going to be on Barrington or Hyde.

      • croatpackfan

        Which one you are afraid of particularly: Cooper Helfet, Tony Moeaki or Luke Willson? Because, Zach Miller & Anthony McCoy are on reserve/injured! I can tell you, all of their receiving corps are young and inexperienced. And when you are listening experts, they are basically talking of Seattle D winning the game. Not O!

        • The 4.5 40 Wilson more than others. Because they’ll try to get him matched up on Barrington or Peppers. Maybe Hyde.

          But none of them in particular. Wilson and Lynch are the only real threats on this offense. But that very well could still be enough to score 25 on a team who’s under a LOT of pressure on the other side of the ball.

          • Thegreatreynoldo

            Luke Wilson has bad hands. But look out if he catches it. He is a physical specimen. There is a reason that he was not the starter though. 22 receptions on 40 targets (55% which is not good – R. Rodgers and Q are 66% and 63%). Wilson gained 362 yards but had a 16.5 yd./catch average. 38% of those yards came in week 16. Not sure about his blocking. He is a 2nd yr. guy.

  • David

    Two years ago Packers played San Fran opening day and lost. Then they eliminated Packers in playoffs.

    San Fran did the same thing last year. First game beat down and then a playoff loss.

    Seattle beat up the Packers on opening night and have a chance to eliminate the Packers for third straight year.

    What the two opposing teams have/had in common is really physical defenses, read option offense and very mobile QB’s. Not a good thing for the Packers.

    Don’t see Packers winning but, again, hope I am dead wrong.

    Go Pack Go.

    • william dickson

      wow, you don’t see the packers winning theres a surprise.dont you ever get tired of being a downer.blah blah blah.same shit every freakin post.get a life cow42. the packers will win by 10,and you will still make excuses. what did you say about the patriots game,no chance,cant win,defense sucks….get a life cow42……this is a different team people,we have the better coach…I know dave no we don’t,the better QB,JUST AS GOOD OF A RUNNING BACK AND A GREAT,THATS GREAT O-LINE….LETS PLEASE SEND COW42 TO THE FREAKIN PASTURE FOR GOOD……PS DAVE-BLAH BLAH BLAH.,TRY SOMETHING NEW

  • GBPDAN

    1). Seattle’s receivers are not elite. The Packers should be able to play some man D and lock out the receivers. This would leave ever one else to focus on Lynch and Wilson. I just hope it’s not one of the many games that Capers DBs play soft, give cushion and look lost will receivers are wide open. They can not let these marginal receivers beat them. 2). A couple of things that I don’t hear a lot of talk about , between game 1 and now, is Bulaga getting hurt in the second qt. (And having Sherrod play), and the Seahawks not having Harvin anymore. Those were 2 huge problems for the Packers on game 1. 3). Seahawk fans are blowing off Rodgers calf as a game changer, but, how would they feel if Wilson had the torn calf and Rodgers was 100%?

    • dobber

      I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the Packers play a significant amount of zone to keep plays in front of them…especially to keep Wilson from breaking off big runs when he takes off.

  • relleum61

    The Packers should play to their new identity. AJ and Jones don’t see the field. Keep Barrington and Clay on the inside. Rotate the OLBs (Peppers, Elliot, Perry and Neal. All are big bodies who can thump Lynch and have enough speed to keep Wilson contained. Trust the secondary to cover and hope we can steal a possession or two.

  • Tundraboy

    I hope MM throws out the kitchen sink in this one, Jump on them,run on them. As many have said play to our new identity. Go PACK go.,

  • packett

    MM has to take chances with play calling.
    Special teams: not simply avoiding turnovers and coverage errors, but be a contributor: One fake punt. A lateral on a return. Some bold stuff.
    Avoid stupid penalties, especially holding on Offense
    Play physical on Seattle receivers on early downs; and dare refs to call PI or Dholding.
    Wide open offense, and sling it early. Seattle will be focused on Lacy….so counter that.
    Screen plays!
    Davante Adams; X factor. He has to play strong. Put him on Richard Sherman’s side.
    TE sets. Put in 2 TE sets and play short quick passes to negate Seattle’s coverage strengths. 2 TEs can play physical, and better match against Seattle’s DBs.
    Put in one of those Belichick specials; put in an eligible receiver in place of Bulaga. Some crazy stuff. But make Seattle uncomfortable, and take them off their plan…..and
    A little luck. Tipped passes, or fumbles have to bounce our way for once.
    If all of the above, I guarantee a win! (for what that’s worth)

  • william dickson

    BAN DAVID, ALIAS COW 42…LETS VOTE….HE IS AN EAGLE FAN

    • TedTomsin

      Mr. Dickson, please stop your obsession with David. If he is in fact Cow he’s welcome here. This place isn’t a bunch of stuck up a holes like at CheeseheadTV. Cow got blackballed just like I did there and I am sick and tired of people with pitch forks and torches trying to go after someone just because you don’t like what they have to say about the Packers or something else. I was the guy who asked Cow to come here and glad he’s here if in fact it’s him which I believe it is.
      Cow or David is one of the most popular people to ever post online. Granted he can be negative but that’s why he’s special. You don’t get rid of special people William. Cow tilts the field here at GBP. He’s an asset. If you don’t like him than I suggest you leave especially if you are actually 4th and One from Cheeseheadtv. If you are get out now and don’t come back. I know all about you. You are trouble with a capital T.
      Ted

      • william dickson

        dearest teddy,dave and I went to school together in jersey and are best of friends.so its just alittle jist between him and I.. thank you very much teddy for your concern. PS……BAN TEDDY TOMSIN…LOL

      • David

        I AM NOT COW 42, for God’s Sake