For the record, I’m not sure they can, but I’ll give it a shot.
First, let me tell you, if this game was in Green Bay, forget it. This post would already be over. The Seahawks are not beating a team like the Packers on the road. They need every ounce of their home field advantage and hope the breaks go their way.
Here’s the thing about Green Bay: you’d think they’d play right into our strengths, but you’d be way off base. The Packers can’t run the ball. They have NEVER been able to run the ball. As far back as I can remember (which, granted, isn’t super long), they’ve never been a dominant run team. They’ve been primarily a dominant passing team with a couple of nice running backs here and there (Ahman Green, Dorsey Levens). Our defense is geared up to first stop the run. Well, what happens when there’s no run to stop?
Green Bay is used to other teams abusing their running games; it happens every single week! The Seahawks are nothing special in that regard. Green Bay is a pass-first (as well as a pass-second and pass-third) team, and most defenses who go up against them recognize this and adjust their schemes accordingly. We’re not going to show them anything they haven’t already seen since the dawn of man.
Except, I suppose, our size. Specifically, in our secondary. I don’t think they’ve seen the likes of Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner before. Now, will that help us or ultimately hurt us? The Packers have a lot of speed in their group of receivers. If we can’t get bodies on bodies and impede their progress on the line of scrimmage, will they just blow by us and never look back?
The key to this game, ultimately, is to prevent the Big Play. We can’t be giving them tons of yards-after-catch and we can’t let Rodgers throw those rainbow 40-yard bombs. Well, we can let him ATTEMPT them, but we can’t let their receivers catch them.
And, we’ve GOT to hold them to field goals! I want Mason Crosby to be the team’s leading scorer. If we can get him kicking 4+ field goals, I think we’ll have a real chance.
The Packers aren’t going to score every time they have the ball. I know it always kinda feels that way, whenever you’re confronted with an offense this vaunted, but there will be times where they are forced to punt. This defense is too good to allow even the BEST offense to run up and down the field on them. So, if Crosby is kicking 4+ field goals, that means they aren’t scoring all that many touchdowns (if any). And if THAT happens, I like our chances.
On offense, the Seahawks are going to need to do two things: they’ll need to pound the football with regularity (and with great per-carry average success) and Russell Wilson is going to have to be more clutch in the red zone. This is another game where you’re expecting a lot out of Beastmode. You want to see the fans drowning him in Skittles. Especially early.
If you fall into a hole against the Packers, you might as well just start kneeling down on every play. That defense is made to play with a lead. So, it’s imperative that the Seahawks show up on offense in the first quarter. Ideally, you’d like to see 14 points scored before the first 15 minutes of game have been played. Because the Seahawks’ defense is a lot like the Packers’ … give them a lead and they will WEAR YOU DOWN.
The team that grabs hold of this game early will have a huge advantage down the stretch. Like a boxer who wins the first few rounds, then proceeds to slop it up the rest of the way, holding and hugging and occasionally throwing a jab here and there. I’m not saying it’s impossible for the Packers to come back from an early deficit; but I am saying that it’s improbable for the Seahawks to come back from an early deficit.
What do I see happening in this game? Honestly, the crystal ball is a little fuzzy on this one. For the life of me, I can’t see the Packers losing this game, but then again I said something to that effect last week when talking about the Cowboys. I mean, you can’t keep counting on crazy shit to happen on special teams! You can’t base predictions around turnovers!
Honestly, I don’t think the Seahawks are going to take ANY balls away from the Packers. I think Aaron Rodgers plays a clean game and I don’t think their running backs get enough carries TO fumble the ball. I could see us giving a ball or two away though. Maybe a crazy fumble by our tight end (Anthony McCoy) or on special teams (Leon Washington).
I also don’t think we touch Aaron Rodgers. They’re so good at the quick passing game, and their offensive line is so good at pass protection, I just don’t think our pass rush makes a dent. I can REALLY see Rodgers carving us up at times, reminding us that we’re not yet ready for prime time on defense.
At which point, all the Seahawks defenders out there who have been touting this defense as one of the best in the game will point to the Packers as being one of the best offenses in the game. But, we’ll know better. This defense isn’t that of the 49ers. Not yet, anyway. I’m not saying it won’t be.
If you had to slap me down on a table and threaten me with anal probes until I gave you a prediction, I’d say Green Bay 27, Seattle 17. That’s my hunch. I think we certainly can keep them to field goals early, but I think by the end of the third quarter the damage will be done and it will take a furious effort just to get to 17 before the final gun.
The 12th Man and a bunch of flukey plays will only take you so far, but it won’t win you every game. This is one of those games where it’s all going to fall a little short.