The Green Bay Packers head into Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks looking to build on the two straight wins the achieved over Philadelphia and Houston. At 6-6, the Packers’ playoff chances are much improved from weeks ago. However, they still have little margin for error, which means that they need to minimize mistakes in this game and not let the Seahawks’ defense get under their skin.
Don’t Avoid Richard Sherman’s Side of the Field
Richard Sherman is one of the best defensive backs in the NFL, at least in terms of reputation. However, that doesn’t mean that the Packers can avoid throwing to his side of the field, as they seemingly have done in the past. Instead, they will need to design routes for Jared Cook and whoever is playing running back underneath to create space for the receivers or to provide additional options on a given pass play.
Christine Michael Must Play a Role
Christine Michael played most of the season for Seattle and was their leading rusher before being cut just a couple weeks ago. He was signed by the Packers, but has been largely a non-factor in the offense so far. However, playing his old team should provide the motivation necessary to get himself going and help the Packers run game control the ball and the clock.
Limit Thomas Rawls
Seattle scored five points against Tampa Bay, but then followed it up with a 40-point performance in a win over Carolina. Green Bay will be looking to duplicate the success Tampa Bay had when the two teams meet. Despite his 100-yard 2 TD performance last Sunday, Thomas Rawls has not been the player he was a season ago, which could spell trouble for Seattle both next Sunday and going forward. Green Bay must control Rawls and that, in turn, will limit what Russell Wilson and the Seattle passing attack can do. As we’ve seen, when Rawls is rolling, so do the Seahawks.
Coverage Must Hold Up
We already know the Packers’ defense has weaknesses that must be addressed in the offseason, but injuries at linebacker and cornerback continue to plague it. Keeping the speedy receiving corps of Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Jimmy Graham and Tyler Lockett in check will be no easy feat. Although they’ve been playing, it seems clear neither Damarious Randall or Quinten Rollins are at full strength. The Packers’ best cover linebackers are injured (Blake Martinez, Clay Matthews) or a total liability against the run (Joe Thomas). Graham and Baldwin are the biggest concerns and the Packers may have to get creative to limit them.
With the 2016 Packers, you never know which version of the team is going to show up. If the Packers revert back to the form they showed during their four-game losing streak, it will be a long day. However, if they play like they did in Philadelphia, there is no reason to believe that they can’t hang with Seattle and pick up a critical win.