Short week, then a long week, then another short week.....man the Packers have had a screwy start to their year. Unfortunately it's not just a screwy start, but also a tough one. The NFC West look to be much better than advertised this year and two of the Packers first four games come against two of the main contenders in the division. Right now the Packers are 1 - 1 along with the rest of the NFC North, in order to jump out to an early lead int he division the Packers are going to need to win on Monday night against the Seattle Seahawks. Here some of the key Packers for this game:
WR Randall Cobb
Cobb is a little dinged up with a hamstring problem, but I don't expect that to hold him out of the game on Monday. Cobb may be the second most important offensive player after Aaron Rodgers on Monday. Cobb is the player who is going to be able to create mismatches in the running and passing game and cause the tough Seahawk defense to loosen up. He also is essential in helping the Packers win the battle of field position with the return game. I'm expecting much more out of his WR/HB hybrid that we have been seeing, especially in the screen game and dump off pass underneath.
CB Sam Shields
Shields improved play against the Chicago Bears allowed two very good things to happen: 1.) it gave the Packers D more ability to blitz since he was able to hold down his man in coverage, and 2.) it allowed the Packers to keep Jarrett Bush off the field on defense. The Seahawks don't have a great down the field passing game at the moment, but if Shields can continue his solid play the Packers can stay in the base defense to stop the real offensive weapon for the 'Hawks....Marshawn Lynch.
WR James Jones
Jones is a fluky player. He has an on week where he raises some eyebrows and then has an off week where he looks awful. Last week was fairly bad for him so he should be due for a good game. If Greg Jennings can't go then the Packers will need Jones to step up and help get the passing game off the ground. Even if Jennings can go, Jones will still be important to try and attack the depth of the Seahawks secondary.
ILB D.J. Smith
A young QB who has shown poise, but not impressive numbers means that the ILB's will need to step up their game. It's going to be up to Smith to help stop Marshawn Lynch, but it's also going to be important to improve his coverage abilities. Russell Wilson is going to want to hit targets like Zach Millier and Leon Washington underneath to help neutralize the Packers pass rush. It's going to be Smith's job to stop that from happening....or at least minimize the damage that these sorts of passes can cause.
DE Jerel Worthy
One of the interesting roster moves that hasn't gotten much attention over our extended break was the start of Jerel Worthy in the base defense. C.J. Wilson isn't a bad player by any means, but he's also not very explosive. Worthy has tons of potential, and slowly has been improving his game as he gets more experience. If he can become a more complete player and win match ups on first and second down, then the Packers defense should have a good chance to stop the Seahawks running attack.
Previous Packer vs. Seahawks Coverage
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