A funny thing happened yesterday, one of the teams that was near a consensus bottom of the league (the Minnesota Vikings) beat the team that was a near consensus top team in the league (the San Francisco 49ers). Now on one hand this may just be the any given Sunday mantra ringing true once again. Then again, last year we heard over and over that the Kansas City Chiefs drew up the blueprint on how to beat the Packers least year when a similar sort of thing happened, so there may be some truth to a larger lesson here. A lesson that applies to the Green Bay Packers playing the Seattle Seahawks.
As I look over the highlights, box score, and analysis of the Vikings victory there is only one thing that helps me explain how this happened. No, it's not that Christian Ponder is now a true franchise QB (although he did have a good game). No it's not that the Viking defense is now a legit unit as the days of old (but they did have a good game too). I also don't believe that the Niners just folded or fell into a trap game. My simple take on how the Vikings won? They got a fast start.
It sounds almost too easy an explanation doesn't it? The thing is though, the way the 49ers are constructed, they aren't prepared to deal with playing from behind. Especially if they fall down two or three scores early in the game. If that happens then the game has to shift away from the defense and the running game and into their passing attack....and that's something Alex Smith is not good enough to handle. That's not even something Alex Smith can handle against a woeful passing defense like Minnesota's (sorry Viking fan but's true and has been true for at least two years now).
How does this apply to our own beloved Packers tonight? Well, Seattle is a team very similar to the 49ers. They are a defensive team, a bit shaky at the QB position, with a strong running game but serious questions at WR. They are a team that wants to make the opponent one dimensional, force errors, and then grind things out with a conservative offense that eats the clock. In short, like the 49ers, they are a team that can call apart if you suddenly get two or three scores up on them.
The problem facing the Packers right now is the fact that we haven't started fast this year. Last year at this time it was almost automatic that the Packers would score on their first drive. It was a thing of beauty to watch. Through the first two games of the 2012 season the Packers are yet to score in the first quarter. This is a real problem because the Packers are built to win games in high scoring affairs, and the Packers offense hasn't gotten it's mojo going yet.
Now I believe it when Packer defenders say their first objective is to stop the run. I don't wish to simply dismiss the importance of being able to run the football ourselves. I just don't see victory coming from out muscling a team in this sort of game. The Packers just don't have the personnel for it at RB, LB, or S. Rather, I see the main method of victory coming from stressing hard nosed team and taking it out of its comfort zone. From little I've seen of the Seahawks, their comfort zone seems to be in playing smash mouth football and trying to out physical their opponents. If the Packers can burn them with speed and play an up tempo high scoring affair this would quickly take things out of their comfort zone and cause the Seahawks to play as the 49ers played yesterday....from behind and struggling to keep up.
Previous Packers vs. Seahawks Coverage
Green Bay Needs To Establish Its Running Game Again | Key Matchup #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 Matchup #1: Clay Matthews vs. Russell Okung | Fantasy Spotlight | Series History
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