We’re going to delve into the not-so-obvious aspects of the Packers – Seahawks matchup and give you some very specific things to look for.
Here are three not-so-obvious things to watch in this game:
Breno Giacomini vs. ?
The Packers are quite familiar with Breno Giacomini and his positives and negatives. While his size is a big help in the running game, moving that big body quickly enough is a real problem for Giacomini against speed rushers. I expect Erik Walden to get a lot of snaps over Nick Perry, taking advantage of his speed rushing capabilities. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the Packers give Clay Matthews a decent number of snaps on Giacomini’s side. Nick perry will probably get teh snaps in obvious running situations.
Conversely, the Seahawks will certainly be ready for this possibility and have some pass/run options put in for Russel Wilson to call. Given Walden’s issues against the run last year (although he has improved), the Seahawks may see that matchup as a plus for them and try to run right at Walden with the big-bodied Giacomini swallowing him up. That will put the ball in AJ Hawk’s court as the inside linebacker on that side.
It’s destined to become a mini chess match within the bigger Packers defense – Seahawks offense chess match. Keep an eye on how this plays out.
Packers Defensive Backs’ Arms
I can hear you saying, “huh?” What I’m talking about here is the the bane of their existence last season; arm tackling. Although it has been a point of emphasis for the coaches this past camp, and there has been some evidence of improvement in this area, this week is the true test. While Frank Gore and Matt Forte/Michael Bush are hard runners that don’t go down easily, they don’t have the “bounce off” ability that Marshawn Lynch does. Lynch will give you that dead leg and your block tackle attempt will get nowhere without grabbing that leg with your arms.
And forget about hitting him high without wrapping up. You’ll bounce off him like you just hit a trampoline. So let’s see if the Packers DBs really get it now. I’m looking at you, Burnett and Shields…
Russel Wilson – Short middle
Taking a look at ProFootballFocus.com and their breakdown of passes by direction, one thing stands out about Russel Wilson. In only one area of the field does he have a passer rating over 95, and that’s in the short middle of the field(0-9 yards in the middle third). His passer rating in that area is 114.7, having completed 12 of 15 passes for 93 yards and 1TD.
More interesting stats: When Russel was not being blitzed or faced no pressure, his completion percentage was 69.7% When under pressure or against the blitz, Russel’s completion percentage drops to 47.6%. It’s safe to say that Dom Capers will take the same approach against the Seahawks that he took against Jay Cutler and the Bears; come after the quarterback hard.
When you do that, especially if you’re blitzing linebackers, there’s one are of the field that is usually vulnerable – the short middle of the field. This is also an area of the field that has been a consistent problem area for the Packers defense. Expect the Seahawks to run a patient offense, run Marshawn Lynch to death and be happy with short passes over the middle to nullify the Packers’ blitz. How well the Packers defend this area of the field could be a major deciding factor in the outcome.
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.