To jump from last week’s phrasing, “Win out or lose out,” the Packers find themselves in a must-win if they plan to win the Super Bowl, because in order to do that one must make the playoffs…so here we go.
Review—that went a little reverse from my thought, however the end game was roughly the same. It was closer (score) throughout the game until late in the 3rd quarter. Credit to the Packers’ D for not allowing an awful QB and 3 backup offensive lineman to get into the end zone. Yes, that was facetious, but the Packers benefitted from a poor snap on the first drive of the game and didn’t really look back.
Obviously what stood out was the production of Aaron Jones. Everyone has been screaming for him to get more touches and he responded. Now there are 2 questions that arise:
- Will Mike McCarthy stick to that plan, and actually get #33 more touches than even last week?
- If that’s the case, will Jones continue to produce at a high level?
The promising thing to take away from that game is the Packers rolled out the helmets and won the game, while not playing a clean game. They had a blocked punt, a fake punt executed vs them, and fumbled a punt return. The good news is this team actually might be capable of playing a clean game, playing well, and actually beating a good team. Enough of Miami, let’s move on.
Matchup— enter the Seattle Seahawks. There are few teams Packer fans should despise. Seattle can’t win on the road, and require all sorts of (as a friend of mine put it years ago) “fluky $hit” in CenturyLink Field to win vs good opponents.
|GB||115.6 (14th)||287.7 (6th)||24.8 (13th)||120.9 (22nd)||225.0 (5th)||24.0 (16th)|
|Sea||152.2 (1st)||195.9 (27th)||24.3 (15th)||118.6 (18th)||228.3 (7th)||21.3 (9th)|
The chart above shows Seattle has the edge rushing when on offense vs the Packers’ 22nd ranked run D. What that tells me is the Packers must get out to a fast start, or at least a lead to force Seattle’s hand to pass. Green Bay shows to have the 5th best defense vs the pass, while the Seahawks struggle.
There are 2 factors to Green Bay having a much-improved pass defense, aside from the spectacular play of rookie CB Jaire Alexander, the Packers are tied for the league lead in sacks (31.0), while having an awful depth of edge rushers…the Packers’ D line combined with the scheme of Mike Pettine to bring pressure from multiple angles, it’ll be interesting to see if they can spy Wilson, who gained significant yards on crucial downs last week in Los Angeles. While it’s not good to root for players to get injured, the ankle injury of Kentrell Brice might be what the Packers’ secondary needed…an opportunity to get Josh Jones on the field. While #27 (Jones) has multiple mental errors, he usually makes them while being aggressive and also has superior athleticism and has come close to being a game-changer as recently as last week.
Preview— as for the history, if you plan on watching this game (and why wouldn’t you if you’re reading this? Or maybe you don’t need to watch if you’re reading this…???) the pregame will cover the history of these ball clubs at nausea. With Aaron Rodgers not playing up to the bar he set, he’s still plenty effective enough to win games if McCarthy (or Rodgers, who knows) sticks to the run game and can allow misdirection and play action. The main issue with this game is the long travel on short-rest. Of the 10 games played on Thursday Night Football, the home team has won 7 of those match-ups. If the Packers play a clean game, stick to the run, play from under center, and take a few aggressive shots, they should be able to take this one, possibly handedly. Then again, McCarthy has rarely showed to do any of those, let alone all 4…I’ll take Seattle.