Way back in Week 1, the Seahawks beat the Packers 36-16 at home in the NFL’s season opening game. It was very lopsided as Seattle outgained Green Bay by almost 150 yards offensively and controlled the ball and the clock. This Sunday we will see a rematch of that game for the NFC Championship, yet two very different versions of these teams will take the field.
For one, Percy Harvin who is now a member of the New York Jets had 100 yards in that game and was heavily used on screens, sweeps and slants throughout. The Seahawks have made up for the loss of Harvin by spreading the ball around to Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Luke Wilson and others while also featuring a heavy dose of the running game via Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin. Defensively, Seattle experienced a brief mid-season period where they were just average but appear to be back to their full crushing selves in the post season.
The Packers in Week 1 had wideout Jarrett Boykin lined up with crazy talented cornerback Richard Sherman while attempting to free up Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb elsewhere. Boykin has since lost his job to rookie standout Davante Adams who should prove more difficult to defend this time around. Rookie center Corey Linsley made his first career start that night and has grown to become one of the best at his job in the league in the 18 weeks since.
Will the changes made by Green Bay and the injuries to some Seattle defensive players create enough of a difference to make up that 20-point differential from Week 1?
We can expect to see a lot of running by both Marshawn Lynch and quarterback Russell Wilson as the Packers run defense was ranked 20th in yards per carry this season. Green Bay will need a big game from Eddie Lacy who struggled in Week 1 with only 34 yards on 12 carries. Seattle is without both Brandon Mebane and Jordan Hill on the defensive line which will certainly aid his cause.
Aaron Rodgers’ calf is another story in this game as his injury hasn’t had the proper time to heal and Seattle will undoubtedly attempt to exploit that weakness. Last week against Dallas, Rodgers was able to stand a bit taller in the pocket as his offensive line was able to control Dallas’ pass rush. The Seahawks bring a much stronger group in this area and will be looking to shut down Rodgers in the pocket.
Seattle is currently favored to win this matchup yet it could be much closer than most think. Fans lucky enough to have Seahawks tickets will most likely witness a great NFC Championship game as the winner goes on to the Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona.