Packers XLV

Can Packers Save Their Season on Sunday?

Posted December 9th, 2016 @ 05:12pm

OK, to start, I'd like to apologize in advance. I'll be at Lambeau Sunday, having strategically placed my annual business meetings for Monday and Tuesday in Neenah. The Packers have lost the last four times I've been in attendance.

I'd like to think I have nothing to do with it, but that's how fans think, right? Regardless, I'll be there to see if the Packers have turned a corner with their two game winning streak, or if they are not prepared to deal with the upper echelon teams in the league right now.

The Packers are in de facto playoff mode; with the Lions continuing to win, they know their margin for error has shrunk to probably zero. They need to win every game leading up to the Week 17 showdown and hope the Lions slip up once between now and then.

With three division games to close the season, the Packers first have to get through the Seahawks, a team that has won three out of four meetings with Pete Carroll in charge. The Pack's win came early last season at home and that of course is the key. The Seahawks haven't won at Lambeau since 1999 and Aaron Rodgers hasn't lost a home December start since 2008, 14 games and counting.

Of course, none of that really matters when the two teams take the field Sunday afternoon on a cold, snowy mid-December day. If the Pack plays like they did against the Texans, they'll have very little chance to beat the Seahawks, who looked every bit the part of a contender against the Panthers Sunday night (some would argue that the Panthers basically laid down in this game--Cam Newton's first series benching probably contributed to the issues this team is dealing with).

The Seahawks had everything rolling Sunday night, with 240 yards rushing and big plays through the air to their three dangerous targets: Jimmy Graham, Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett. Russell Wilson appears healthier than he's been all season and their weakest link, the offensive line, held up as well as it has all season. Just one week earlier (granted, with center Justin Britt out), the line was putrid in Tampa Bay, giving up six sacks and doing very little in run support, as the team managed just 38 yards on the ground.

The Pack must win up front when Seattle has the ball. They must get big games from Mike Daniels and Leroy Guion, because virtually everybody behind them is a question mark. The Pack lists seven linebackers on the injury report and most of them aren't even practicing. Nick Perry is out with a broken hand, Blake Martinez is still out with a knee injury, Jake Ryan will likely try to give it a go as will Clay Matthews who played the part of the bad guy on The Fugitive, trying to make plays with one arm.

There's little doubt the Seahawks noticed how effective the Texans were running the ball on third down, as Dom Capers' blitzers opened up huge holes in the middle of the field for the running game. The Pack needs to do a much better job not totally selling out on the pass. Rawls and Wilson will run all day on this defense if they're not careful. The Pack's vaunted run defense has given up 4.8 yards per carry and 127 yards per game the last four. Seattle also uses the dangerous Lockett once or twice a game on the ground and they often go for big plays, as we saw on Sunday night.

I've got to believe the Seahawks will move the ball on the Pack's banged up defense. Once again, Morgan Burnett will move up to the inside linebacker role in nickel and dime looks, something he's become adept at. But it further weakens the back end, which may or not have cornerback Damarious Randall, who has practiced very little all week.

So assuming the Seahawks can put points on the board, can the Pack keep up with them? They obviously can't turn the ball over at the goal line again--they must take care of the football. The loss of Earl Thomas can't be overstated. The Seahawks are just 2-2-1 this season when one of their big three (Thomas, Sherman and Bennett) are out. Thomas missed the Bucs game and is now out for the season with a broken leg.

The Panthers attacked that hole right away and got a big play from Ted Ginn. Green Bay can't focus on deep routes just because Thomas is out. The quick rhythm passing game has been most effective all season and there should be opportunities in the middle of the field for Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery. Jordy Nelson was a beast last week, so it might be Davante Adams' turn this week. It will be interesting to see how much Rodgers tests Richard Sherman, who usually lines up on the right side.

As for the running game, I'd love to believe we've seen the last of James Starks, who appears to have nothing left. Every handoff is a wasted play. The team got a jolt when Montgomery carried the ball and Christine Michael showed some pop in limited opportunities. You figure he's motivated to play the Seahawks--let's see if he gets the chance for a bit of revenge.

I don't have a strong feeling about this one. Seems like the Packers need to play a nearly perfect game to get past the Seahawks, who already have a signature road victory under their belts, in Foxborough. If the Packers win this one, Rodgers' proclamation that they could run the table will sound a lot less preposterous. I'd feel a lot better about their chances if he was close to 100%. If he can't run the ball like he did in Philly, it will make that aggressive defense even tougher to stop.

The Packers are home underdogs for the first time in nearly a decade, and deservedly so. I'm going to believe they find a way to spring the upset. Possibly on the game's final play.

Packers 27  Seahawks 26

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Comments (10):

Home field has been a real advantage in this rivalry all-time. The Pack is 9-3 over the Hawks in Green Bay or Milwaukee (2-0 in playoffs.) Seattle holds the 5-2 edge in the Pacific Northwest (1-0 playoff.) But, of course, factoring in the Fail Mary game the Packers would be 3-4. Seattle drops off significantly when playing on the road. They're only 2-3-1 in away games this season and average only 8.2ppg in four of them. With the game at Lambeau and in forecasted snowy conditions the Packers have a good chance; depending on how they cover their injury problems on defense.

on December 11th, 2016 at 06:58am

I had figured they would win. What I wasn't expecting was a thorough ass-kicking. This, my friends, is what's called a signature win. Next 3 will be very interesting.

on December 11th, 2016 at 07:08pm

I sure hope Davey is right. there is one guy that scares the hell out of me today, maybe 2, Lockett. he is quick and fast, light on his feet. the snow will make no difference to him, gives him advantage, and Grahm down the middle of course. we need Cobb to have big day to win, they will play zone defense to keep there eyes on wilson so he can't run as much, but if we don't get to him, and will be tough with this footing, he will make big plays down the field to Lockett, isee it 24-20 hawks, vikes lose 17-13,

on December 11th, 2016 at 10:16am

Pack wins a couple games and THC instantly goes back to full-homer. Lather-rinse-repeat. Story of this blog since its inception......

on December 9th, 2016 at 01:50pm

More of the same crap from Cane. Can't you come up with an original take once in a while? And don't you have your own pathetic club to complain about? #stupidvikings

on December 9th, 2016 at 02:45pm

Thanks dave for supplying me with enough words to cause a double face-palm. You beat an avg phili team, and another who has a guy pretending he knows how to play QB. Suddenly, your pack is good enough to take out a team that's arguably the best in the NFC. I get it now, you don't have to know anything about football to be paid to write about it. Please delete this site before it gives us all AIDS.

on December 9th, 2016 at 03:06pm

Listen, The Seahawks aren't as good as they were against the Panthers. The Panthers had just stayed on the west coast for the whole week trying to not travel cost to cost twice in a row. The statistical history put them in a bad spot. 2nd, the weather will be terrible. Dave, you really should change your mind. I'll go in your place. Remember the Snowbowl against Tampa Bay? I do, I loved that game. Snot was just running off Dickey's nose. We played outside until chore time after that game. It was awesome. I'm hoping for another fond memory. Let's keep an even mindset. We've got a good chance to win this game. The Pack just has to want to be out there more and execute their assignments. Go Pack!

on December 9th, 2016 at 03:07pm

Okay: Here is the Five Step plan to beat the SeaHawks: 1- Let Christine Michael play first team running back for 20 touches. Spell him with Montgomery and a jet sweep from Cobb. Starks ...barring any injuries to the above two should watch from the sideline. 2- Limit the back shoulder throws. The Hawk defense is too good at defending it. Short crossing routes, screen passes. Jared Cook needs to catch 6 plus balls to open up the passing game. 3- Limit Doug Baldwin who always hurts us and contain Russell Wilson from running on third and long. 4- Special teams....Would be great to get a return by us to The House or a key Hawk turnover. 5- Obvious one...Win 3rd downs on both sides of the ball. Special Cavaet: If we lose this game....we will form a posse to keep Davy out of Lambeau as his losing streek will reach five. Davy....start a new winning streek Sunday. GO PACK GO !!

on December 9th, 2016 at 12:27pm

Roscoe Lombardi here, this winning streak is a thing of beauty. We've already beaten two teams that are head and shoulders above the lowly Seahawks. Our defense has gelled and the offense is the juggernaut of the league. Like my famous daddy told me, "son, scooters are like fat chicks, you think they're a lot of fun until your friends catch you riding one." Prediction time. Packers 37 - Seahawks 0. That's right, the big goose egg, nihil (that's Latin), numero bumpkis. Rodgers goes for over 350 and accounts for all TDs either passing or rushing. CM III gets an INT, fumble recovery, and 3 sacks. Book it! Period!

on December 9th, 2016 at 12:41pm

He might not have lost in December, but Rodgers has lost in January lately/every year since the SB year.

on December 9th, 2016 at 12:48pm

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