It's going to be up to Bulaga & Co. to improve their pass protection this week.
In our weekly picks I picked against the Packers for this game. The main reason I did this is because the Seattle Seahawks remind me a lot of the San Francisco 49ers. They are a tough defense which posses a stout front 7 and a solid enough secondary to limit the big play. They then hand it over to an offense that isn't dynamic, but runs the ball well and a quarterback who manages the game by limiting errors and turnovers. This team is a poor man's version of the Niners, but it's close enough where I think some mismatches do exist.
A team playing this style of football doesn't mesh well with the Green Bay Packers, provided the team can get pressure with four and stop the Packers offense. If that happens then expect our opponent to attack our ILB's with a strong run game which means we could be in for a long night. On the other hand, if the Packers can start running up the score and force the Seahawks to put the game in the hands of rookie QB Russell Wilson, then suddenly the Packers can create the mismatches in order to win.
Let's look at a few particular keys to victory for the Packers on Monday night:
1. Protect Aaron Rodgers. Seattle is a middle of the road pass defense statistically. They don't have many sacks for far this year (2 sacks so far) and have allowed 457 passing yards. The good news is that the Packers are probably not facing a pass rush quite as ferocious as the 49ers or the Bears. The bad news is that the offensive line has not looked good so far this year in pass protection. If Rodgers can get a reasonable amount of time then the offense should be able to get off the ground and allow the Packers to control the tempo of the game. If guys like Marshall Newhouse and T.J. Lang struggle again it could mean a long night and even longer season offensively.
2. Win in the trenches. This sounds trite, but very necessary. Guys like B.J. Raji and Jerel Worthy need to step up and show that the game against the Bears was not an aberration. If these two can win one on one (or two on one) match ups then the Packers should be able to shut down Marshawn Lynch and cause headaches for Russell Wilson. Now these two winning their match ups doesn't necessarily mean a big stat night, just getting free and holding down the point of attack will be enough. After that the linebackers should be able to clean up the rest.
Winning in the trenches will also be important on offense. I mentioned above the importance of protecting Rodgers, but there also does need to be some balance in the Packers attack. That means the offensive line will need to open up holes for Cedric Benson, Alex Green, and Randall Cobb to run through. I'm not expecting greatness out of these three, but definitely enough to keep the chains moving.
3. Force the game into Russell Wilson's hands. This can happen in one of two ways....first, the Packer offense can just start scoring fast and often. If the Seahawks get down by a couple touchdowns they will have to go away from the run and pass more. This forces the 'Hawks into the strength of the Packers D - the pass rush and the ball hawking secondary. The other way the Packers can do this is by straight up stopping the run. This is a bit more difficult to do with a back of Lynch's ability, but not impossible.
4. Get a big play or two. The big play has been missing so far in 2012. It's time to get one or two of those back. Rodgers works best when he can show off that deep ball accuracy. Perhaps more important though will be the confidence and swagger it can bring back to the receiving corp. Everyone has been talking about how good they are, but none of them have really played that way so far this year. A big play here or there can give back some of that confidence to the unit and hopefully reduce the number of dropped balls.
5. Stay patient. The Seahwaks are not a team that are going to run away with the game. They are going to try and rough you up and force you to make mistakes. Think of the 49er game, most of the game it felt like we weren't in it, but the Packers were only a score or two out. Right down to the last drive there was an opportunity to tie the game and sneak out with a win. That's the danger of tough, defensive football....there is very little margin of error. If the Packers can keep their poise and stay patient they have the firepower to come back from whatever hole the Seahawks put them in, but the Seahawks don't quite have the firepower to give a knockout blow early in the contest.
Previous Packer vs. Seahawks Coverage
Key Match Up #3: James Jones vs. Marcus Trufant | Five Packers To Watch | Five Seattle Players To Watch | Week 3 Fantasy Start/Sit Advice | Key Match UP #2: A.J. Hawk vs. Marshawn Lynch | Key Match Up #1: Clay Matthews vs. Russell Okung | Fantasy Spotlight | Series History
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