GREEN BAY — What will it take for the Seahawks to take down the Packers on Sunday? KIRO 7’s Steve Raible breaks it down:
Key #1: Russ vs A-Rod
If you like smart, accurate and fearless quarterback play then Sunday’s game is for you. Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers are two of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game.
Both are Super Bowl Champions and both are joined in the hip in the most meaningful statistical categories.
They’re one and two in NFL history in career passer rating with Rodgers edging out Wilson by a single percentage point. They’re also one and two in passing touchdown percentage and both are in the top four in yards per attempt.
To put that into translation: they’re both really good. However, Wilson and his receivers have been making huge plays all season long while Rodgers has, at times, struggled with young pass catchers and a new offense.
Still, with these two teams pretty evenly matched, the game will likely come down to a couple of plays. And I predict Wilson’s ability to run the ball will be the difference.
Key #2: Unleash the Beast
It’s been building for the last couple of weeks: leaning more on Marshawn Lynch.
Few running backs in recent memory can change the course of a game or ignite his team quite like Beast Mode.
In Green Bay on Sunday, it’s time.
Lynch has scored twice in his two games since returning to Seattle and has had a couple of vintage Beast Mode runs.
But as opposed to last week when the Seahawks were trying to run against the Eagles third-ranked rush defense, Seattle faces the Packers’ 23rd rush defense this week.
In the playoffs, Beast Mode has six 100 yard rushing games, good for third all-time in the NFL. And his 10 career playoff touchdowns, put him eighth on the NFL's all-time list.
And oh by the way, six of the seven ahead of him on the list are in the in the Hall of Fame.
But for Lynch or rookie Travis Homer to be successful, the big guys up front have to block better than they did last week. It's a big challenge with all the injuries, but a MUST to move on in the playoffs.
Key #3: Meet at AJ’s
The Seahawks defense did a couple of things really well against the Eagles last week. They held Philadelphia to just over 280 total yards of offense and just three field goals.
However, they also gave up 120 yards rushing to a pair of backup running backs and a 40-year-old backup quarterback.
Enter one of this season’s most successful, and at the same time, surprising runners: Aaron Jones of the Packers.
Jones stands small in stature at just 5 feet 9 inches tall, but the third-year pro has produced some big numbers for Green Bay finishing with 1,084 yards rushing and 19 total touchdowns – tied for most in the NFL.
Jones also had 49 receptions – tied for second most on the team.
The former fifth round draft pick is the complete package: quick, elusive and powerful.
His 16 rushing touchdowns this season were second only to the great Jim Taylor in team history (My childhood hero back in 1962). The Seahawks’ defense has ranked in the bottom third of the league this season and has given up an average of 25 points per game.
If there ever was a game where Seattle’s defense had to have gap integrity, not miss tackles and control the line of scrimmage it’s this one.
Shut down the run, meet at AJ’s -- Aaron Jones. It’s key to winning at Lambeau on Sunday.
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