Seahawks and Packers look to add another page to their already *storied* past.
Written By: Peter Vandeventer | @PeteVandeventer
On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers will host the Seattle Seahawks. Once again these two teams meet in the playoffs, where the home team has been the victor in the past eight meetings.
Being in the middle of January, you should expect the weather to play a huge factor in what happens. Snow looks to be in the forecast before the game but we do know that it WILL BE COLD. Mid to low 20s is going to be the game-time temperature. Rumor has it that you’ll be able to feel the cold weather through the TV.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers spent their bye week getting healthy, and despite a small illness going around the locker room, they found a way to do just that.
Josh Jackson - Illness | Questionable
Josh Jackson, a former 2nd round pick, was added late to the injury report for Green Bay. The Illness going around the locker room (and the rest of the NFL) has kept people out for about half a week. So this definitely doesn’t look good for Jackson. If he doesn’t suit up, the Packers won't have to worry as their secondary is pretty deep, to begin with.
Kenny Clark - Back | Questionable
Clark is the only Packer on the injury report that is here due to an actual injury. His back injury has limited him to only two days of limited practice this week. Clark is huge for the Packer’s defensive front, the NT has 6 sacks this season and 4th on the team in tackles. This could be a huge game for the Seahawks run game (as well as the pass pro on the interior).
Danny Vitale - Illness | Questionable
The Packers are one of the teams that have reincorporated fullbacks into their offense. Vitale is used in pretty creative ways (similar to the way SF use Juszczyk). GB uses an extra back 11% of the time so losing out on Vitale could cause a little bit of an issue for the Packer offense. In his place, the Packers will look to put one of their TEs in the backfield to be the lead blocker for Aaron Jones.
Tyler Lancaster - Illness | Questionable
Lancaster has yet to play this week due to his illness and might leave the Packers without two of their starting defensive lineman. In his place, the young Keke Kingsley will take his place in a huge playoff game. Lancaster is a starting DE in the Packers 3-4 scheme so he doesn’t have a lot of production but they’ll miss his experience for sure.
Seahawks still have yet to really get over their injury issues but this week looks to be the moment. The Seahawks will be getting Malik Turner and Jaron Brown back this week with a few others as possible returnees.
George Fant - Groin | Questionable
Fant, the man tasked with taking over at LT when Duane Brown went down, might not be able to suit up Sunday. If Fant cannot go, Seattle will be asking Chad Wheeler to step up at LT. It’s not ideal to have three different starting LT over the past month, but here we are. Fant was able to practice in a limited fashion on Friday so we still have some hope.
Duane Brown - Knee | Questionable
Similar to Fant, Duane Brown didn't practice until Friday. For Brown, he is recovering from a minor surgery he had a few weeks back that cleaned up his knee a little. If he is good to go on Sunday, it might take him a little bit of time to get his legs under him after being out for a couple of weeks.
Mike Iupati - Neck | Doubtful
Iupati is probably not gonna play Sunday which gives us a shot at seeing Jamarco Jones, Jordan Roos, or Phil Haynes play at LG. Jamarco has performed well this season when playing guard (when Fluker was hurt) and stook his ground against players like Aaron Donald.
Ziggy Ansah - Neck | Questionable
Ziggy Ansah was injured last week when trying to tackle Josh McCown and was able to practice early in the week but was a no-go on Thursday. Ziggy has been pretty disappointing this season and really hasn’t been able to return to his old self. Whether its injuries or age, Ansah just hasn’t produced this season. But with that said, he is still one of the best edge defenders for the Seahawks.
Quinton Jefferson - Ankle | Questionable
With the possibility of being out two defensive ends (and Clowney not at 100%), the Seahawks might be in trouble. Similar to the LT dilemma on the offense, the Seahawks defensive front doesn’t have the luxury to lose a pair of key defensive ends. If Jefferson and Ansah can’t go, then expect LJ Collier to suit up and get a nice number of snaps. But I would be thoroughly surprised if Jefferson is inactive.
What To Watch
Seahawks OL vs Packers Pass Rush
With the possibility of two backups starting on the left side of the Seahawks offensive line, the Seahawks are in a bit of a tight situation. The Smith brothers (who aren’t actually brothers) have a combined total of 25.5 sacks and one of the most dynamic duos in the league. Preston and Za’Darius will line up at as edge rushers in their 3-4 system. Seattle will have to double-team, chip, and just scheme pass protection to limit their effects at all times.
Seattle can be dominant if they can continue to use their slow-developing PA passes. When given time, the Packer secondary won't be able to stand a chance against DK Metcalf or Tyler Lockett.
Packers Pass Game vs Seahawks Secondary
This game is going to be all about the time of possession and field position. But the passing game is going to be extremely important for the Packers. Seattle has tended to have a strong run game but their secondary is where the problems are.
The Seahawks need to make the Packers one dimensional and force them to play conservatively and run the ball. Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs is a scary sight so getting after him and limiting the impact of Adams is going to be key to slowing down the Packer offense. If Seattle can tighten up in the Secondary then we might also see the pass rush make a larger impact.
Game Prediction: Seahawks 31 - Packers 27