Nov. 1, 1999, Monday Night Football. Matt Hasselbeck wore a Packers jersey as the backup to Brett Favre, Mike Holmgren was in his first year as the Seahawks head coach, and Russell Wilson was a month shy of his 11th birthday the last time the Seahawks won a game at historic Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
Now, the Seahawks enter Sunday’s matchup against the Packers with one of their most talented teams in franchise history, hoping to end their seven-game losing streak in Green Bay.
The combination of veteran additions, a clean bill of health, and a renewed ‘us against the world mentality’ has Seahawks fans confident about the team returning to the Super Bowl in February.
A win on Sunday could ultimately be the difference in home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, making this early season test in Green Bay increasingly important.
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Watch Steve Raible's Scouting report on Saturday at 7 p.m. for a complete preview of Sunday's game against the Packers. Hear Steve's one-on-one interview with wide receiver Doug Baldwin, his '710 with 710' conversation with KIRO radio's Mike Salk and Danny O'Neill and more.
Here are three keys to victory for the Seahawks this Sunday:
‘No Turnover Sunday’
Pete Carroll is known to have themed practices for each day of the week such as "Turnover Thursday" and “No repeat Friday.” On Turnover Thursdays, the offense stresses taking care of the ball while the defense focuses on generating as many turnovers as possible.
“Our No. 1 emphasis is taking care of the football,” Pete Carroll has often said, and this Sunday will be no different.
Two of Russell Wilson’s worst career performances have come against the Packers, including last year’s five-interception performance in a 38-10 loss.
The Seahawks must limit turnovers on offense and will look to take advantage of any Aaron Rodgers mistakes on defense. Finishing with a positive turnover differential will go a long way in ending the franchise seven-game losing streak in Lambeau.
Introducing: ‘Death Row’
After leading the league in scoring defense from 2013-2015, the Seahawks finished third in that category last year. The recent addition of defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson from the New York Jets gives the Seahawks eight starters on defense who have played in at least one Pro Bowl.
Richardson, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Frank Clark will look to lead the Seahawks’ pass rush against Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is one of the best quarterbacks at extending plays in the NFL.
Bennett has dubbed the Seahawks defensive line as "Death Row," and the unit is the deepest it has been since the 2013 Super Bowl winning season.
— Michael Bennett (@mosesbread72) September 4, 2017
If the "Death Row" unit can generate pressure on Aaron Rodgers, the defense’s other branded unit "The Legion of Boom” will have a much better chance at limiting one of the league’s best offenses.
Run early, and run often
Former Packers pro-bowl running back Eddie Lacy joins a Seahawks backfield that includes: Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise, and talented seventh-round pick Chris Carson. Look for the Seahawks to try to establish the run early and often on Sunday as they look to get back to their "run first" mentality they had in past years.
From 2012-2015 the Seahawks had a top-five rushing offense in the NFL lead by Marshawn Lynch. Lynch's departure, combined with a bevy of injuries, saw the team's run game finish an uncharacteristic 25th in the league.
Pete Carroll has not been shy in addressing the team’s recommitment to the running game this offseason. During an appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle in the spring Carroll was adamant that the team will make it a priority to run the ball more often this season.
"We definitely will," Carroll said, via ESPN. "We lost 100-something runs last year. And that was basically the story. That was basically the tale of why everything came about as it did. The defense had to do some more stuff. We had to throw the ball more. We had to pass protect more and all of that because the running game got knocked up.
"With the quarterback being a mess and the running back situation, everybody being banged up, we were just unable to find it. So I think we'll come roaring right back at it."
The Seahawks will use their talented group of running backs to control the clock, and quiet a raucous Packers crowd from the start on Sunday; something that was largely absent in last year’s 38-10 loss.
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