Preview: Green Bay at Seattle

This week is a little different. Instead of waiting to find out if QB Aaron Rodgers would actually play, the Packers are starting to show some signs of good health. I'm coming around to the idea that the last three losses were due in large part to bad timing. All the injuries on the defensive line (Pickett, Jenkins), at linebacker (Hawk), and safety (Rouse, Bigby, Collins) have happened at the same time they took on three teams that can run the ball (Dallas, Tampa, and Atlanta). Pickett, Hawk, and Collins have been playing through their injuries, but it still must slow them down and it can't be helping. Jenkins isn't coming back, but Rouse is back at practice and Bigby shouldn't be too far behind. Unfortunately they have to play against another good run offense on Sunday.

Most everyone knows that Seattle has been dealing a flood of injuries to their wide receivers, and QB Matt Hasselbeck has been unable to practice this week, but otherwise their team is good health. Seattle has gotten blown out in their two New York games (Buffalo and NY Giants), lost at home to San Francisco, and only has one win against the lowly, lowly St. Louis Rams. But over the last two seasons, they've shown that they play a lot better at home.

Rankings from Football Outsiders:

Teams Run Offense Pass Offense Run Defense Pass Defense
Packers 27 17 29 3
Seattle 8 28 10 29

The pass offense and Rodgers are not getting any love from the numbers at Football Outsiders. They knock Rodgers down because the Packers have gone up against some lousy pass defenses (Dallas and Atlanta; Detroit might be one of the worst all time) and he threw 3 INTs when he actually played against a top 10 pass defense (Tampa). The pass offense and Rodgers are better than 17th, especially now that all the wide receivers are healthy.

Seattle is like Atlanta because they can run the ball and can't stop the pass. Seattle's RB Julius Jones is having a very good season. Rodgers might have a big game against Seattle, but he threw for over 300 yards against Atlanta and that didn't win them the game.

This will be another close game because the Packers will be able to come from behind any deficit with their pass offense, and Seattle can't blow out anyone with their injured and strugging pass offense. Can the Packers stop Julius Jones? If they can, then Seattle's offense is punchless like they were last week when the NY Giants held them to 187 yards on offense.

The Packers have been held under 20 points only once this season, but Seattle hasn't been held under 30 points at home this season. The Packers defense is similar to San Francisco's (poor against the run, solid against the pass) and Seattle managed to scrape together enough offense for five scoring drives against the 49ers while one of their TDs came on a fumble recovery. As bad as Seattle played last week, if the Packers can't give themselves an advantage by being able to run the football, or stop the run which would shut down Seattle's offense, two things that they haven't managed done well in the first five games, this looks like another Packer loss. I can't believe I'm writing this, but Seattle 23, Packers 17.

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