Sunday, January 18, 2015

NFC Championship Preview: The Green Bay Packers Vs. The Seattle Seahawks

Sunday, the Green Bay Packers travel to Seattle to play the host Seattle Seahawks for a chance to earn a Super Bowl berth. This is a rematch from week 1, and also serves as a match up of the top two NFC teams this season. If the Packers can beat the Seahawks they can shed the label that they can't compete with the elite teams. You better believe this a label that Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers have been fighting to shed in the last three years. If the Packers want to pull an upset in Seattle on Sunday they'll have to focus on three major aspects.

1. Feed Eddie Lacy:

After so many weeks of featuring this topic I wish I could state it in a different way, but I can't. The Packers must continue to feed Eddie Lacy if they want to  break the Seahawks defense. Seattle has the number 1 ranked defense, and they could go down as one of the best all-time in NFL history. They shut down running-backs with ease, and try to smother the offense. Most times they are successful in doing this. The Seahawks defense settled in after the first quarter in the week 1 and completely shut down the Packers offense. Lacy couldn't get anything going, and actually suffered a concussion in the third quarter. That was a different Packers offense at the time who didn't have an identity. This Packers team will come more prepared than they did week 1, and Lacy will be the featured player on Sunday.

2. Use Randall Cobb In The Slot:

One thing the Packers didn't do much in the first match up was try to feed the slot receiver. It was such a vanilla passing attack that just featured throwing to the left side and away from Richard Sherman. If the Packers want to move on this defense they should use Jordy Nelson as a decoy on Sherman, and line Cobb up where he's most comfortable in the slot. Davante Adams proved against the Cowboys that he play on the outside. Cobb has proved this season he's a beast in the slot. There was a 3 week stretch where he was scoring touchdowns each game out of the slot in the red-zone. The Packers must employ this on Sunday. Rodgers won't be as mobile, because of the calf injury so quick passes to Cobb would work perfectly.

3. Pressure Russell Wilson:

If there is one thorn in Dom Capers Packers defenses it is mobile quarterbacks. Wilson fits the bill as a mobile quarterback, and has given the Packers problems in the past. Week 1 he didn't run much, but when he did he was successful. At that time Julius Peppers was just getting used to the 3-4 defense, and really didn't know his role. Peppers, Clay Matthews and Mike Neal will need to contain Wilson on Sunday. If they force him to pass I believe the secondary should be able to shut down the passing game. The Seahawks receivers and tight ends are underrated, and hold the power to break a game open. If Wilson is under pressure most of the day he won't be able to get into a rhythm. The defense must not let him get into a rhythm. Marshawn Lynch is sure to have a good game, because he can't be held down. If the Packers get the lead early an shut down Wilson it will take Lynch away.

The Packers are once again on the cusp of greatness. They can't let this opportunity slip away, because as we learned during the Favre years you never know when the next chance will come. On Sunday Aaron Rodgers will put the first stamp on a defining postseason in his career. The Packers will prevail, and reach their second Super Bowl in 5 years.

AJ's Prediction:

Packers: 20

Seahawks: 17

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