The Green Bay Packers do a lot of things well, on and off the field, too many to list here. One thing they don’t do well is defend the run. Their numbers from last season show that they gave up 111.8 rushing yards per game, 14th in the league, a figure that’s acceptable when Aaron Rodgers is your quarterback.
However, that YPG average hides a more telling statistic. They allowed 4.7 yards per rushing attempt, 26th in the NFL, and through two games this season, they’re worse.
The Packers are yielding a mighty 140 rushing yards per game (27th) at 5.1 yards per attempt (30th), placing them above only the Bengals and Rams in the latter category.
As we’re all well aware, Seattle wants to run the football, hard. They want to punish the other team and even Golden Tate personified that attitude last Sunday when he laid THAT block on Sean Lee, helping Russell Wilson to a first down. He should’ve been flagged for the hit under the current rules, which is why these replacement officials need to be replaced themselves, but that’s another argument for another site.
We got away with one there, but it’s a hit that’s reverberated around the league all week and will be fresh in the memory of every home fan attending the game on Monday night and when Wilson is forced to leave the pocket, not only will we be watching him, some of us will also have an eye out for the next crushing (hopefully legal) block. The broader point I’m making is that the Seahawks crowd would be in this one anyway. When they’re still pumped at the Tate hit and are ‘welcoming’ Rodgers and a franchise such as this, there will be times in the game when the Packers won’t believe they’re in a football stadium. Just look around you, fellas, you won’t experience this very often.
While Seattle can boast rushing for an average of 148.5 yards over the first two games (7th), the yards per carry of 4.0 doesn’t pierce the top 10 (12th), but that won’t necessarily be at the forefront of the minds of the Packers D. No, they’ll know that in the second half alone against Dallas last week, Marshawn Lynch ran for 104 yards as the Seahawks went on drives of 90 and 88 yards as they pounded the Cowboys into the CenturyLink turf; Tate was merely getting some of that action for himself, too.
If the Seahawks are to cover the spread, both the running game and the crowd will need to be major contributing factors. Seattle can be backed +3.5 while those wishing to back the Pack can have them -3. It’s right that there’s not really any disparity in the lines available as a strong case can be made for the Seahawks to win this one straight up.
Greg Jennings is officially listed as questionable for Green Bay, but I think it’s fair to rate him as probable as he “looked good today (Saturday)” according to coach Mike McCarthy. Although he missed the mauling dished out to the Bears last week, Jennings wasn’t missed at all as the Packers’ defense did most of the hard work. This was a unit riled and motivated to the hilt with the “good luck” wishes of Jay Cutler ringing in their ears and they shoved those words straight back down his throat...and then some.
Cutler’s a loose cannon and the Seahawks haven’t reverted to such bone-headed displays of foolery this week, a good thing really.
Clay Matthews has six sacks over two games and he can be expected to wreak similar havoc on Monday, but Seattle’s offensive line devalued DeMarcus Ware’s output to almost non-existent last Sunday so it’s not as though they won’t know what to expect this week.
As stout as Seattle is defensively while also being able to rely on a brutal pairing at running back, particularly as the game wears on, they rank dead last in passing offense...yes lower even than Jacksonville. However, this actually isn’t a problem and nobody in the Pacific Northwest is anywhere close to hitting the panic button.
Using Jacksonville as an example, Blaine Gabbert’s problems at quarterback are well documented and his every mistake is dissected at length. Well, some used to do that. Many have now given up on him and think the Jaguars should be thinking of replacing him in 2013.
Wilson is a different proposition in Seattle. He shows remarkable poise for a rookie, is a leader of men and possesses an attention to detail that rivals Peyton Manning. In fact, for everything you need to know on this remarkable young man, all you need do is read Elizabeth Merrill’s article on Wilson on espn.com. It makes for astonishing reading and I’ve rarely read anything as insightful on a football player.
Having read it, you realise we’re in very safe hands in Seattle and drafting him was a masterstroke.I seriously underestimated the Seahawks last week and won’t be doing the same this week. In addition to the Seahawks being able to run the ball on the Packers and the effect of the ‘12th Man’ on a Monday night, this is also Green Bay’s first road game of the season and anything San Francisco were able to do on opening weekend, Seattle can do this week.