The Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks play two time zones away. They’re separated by four states and almost 2,000 miles.
However in the previous years, these 2 NFC powers have actually developed one of the better competitions in football.
The Packers and Seahawks have satisfied 7 times since the start of the 2012 season, with Seattle holding a 4-3 advantage. All 7 games have actually been won by the house team, consisting of the 2014 NFC Championship Game in which the Seahawks rallied for an unlikely 28-22 overtime win.
The groups reunite Sunday at 5:40 CST at historical Lambeau Field in an NFC Divisional championship game. Green Bay (13-3) is a 4.5-point favorite over Seattle (12-5).
“They’re a hard group,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur stated. “They have actually been very tough on the road also. It’s going to be an excellent challenge.”
Here’s a look at each positional group and which team has the edge.
QUARTERBACKS Seattle gave Russell Wilson a four-year,$140 million agreement extension in April, 2019 with $65 million assurances that made him the NFL’s highest paid player.
He’s deserved every cent. Wilson had another MVP-type season, with 31 goal passes, simply five interceptions, 4,110 passing backyards and a 106.3 passer ranking.
Wilson has a career playoff record of 9-5, led Seattle to a Super Bowl champion in 2013 and a runner-up surface in 2014.
Wilson is likewise one of the most clutch players in the league, and after just 8 seasons, already ranks 21st in game-winning drives (28) and 23rd all-time in fourth quarterback resurgence wins (21 ).
Wilson is especially dangerous when he breaks containment, gets outside of the pocket and extends plays.
“You truly need to think of it as playing 2 plays– the preliminary play and after that when the play breaks down and Russell begins moving, that’s a whole brand-new play,” Packers security Darnell Savage said. “Just remain disciplined and keep your eyes in the best locations. Simply don’t unwind, really. Simply kind of stay on him.”
Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers signed a four-year, $134 million agreement extension in Aug., 2018. That offer can be worth as much as $180 million if Rodgers hits all of the incentives.
Rodgers, 36, has had two ho-hum years, a minimum of by his requirements, given that signing that offer.
Rodgers’ passer rating this season was 95.4, his third-lowest since becoming a starter in 2008. His completion percentage (62.0%) and yards per effort (7.0) were also the second-lowest in that time.
In the season half of the 2019 campaign, Rodgers had a quarterback passer ranking of 84.2. And in the last three video games, he completed an un-Rodgers like 53.9% of his passes.
“I think the timing’s been off a lot of the year,” Rodgers said just recently. “It’s simply a matter of finding those concepts where the timing has been excellent.”
Rodgers holds a 9-7 postseason record, a 99.4 passer score and led Green Bay to a Super Bowl title in 2010.
Green Bay’s Aaron Jones connected for the NFL lead this season with 16 rushing touchdowns and ranked 12th with a career-high 1,084 rushing lawns. Jones also completed second on the Packers in receptions (49) and receiving lawns (474 ), and his 19 overall goals tied for the NFL lead.
“We have actually got a great deal of confidence in him,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said of Jones. “I believe he’s got a lot of self-confidence in what’s going on out there. We’re going to need another piece de resistance from him.”
In the last month of the year, Seattle lost its top three running backs– Chris Carson (hip), Rashaad Penny (knee) and C.J. Prosise (damaged arm)– to season-ending injuries. The Seahawks then signed 33-year-old Marshawn Lynch, who had actually been out of football.
Lynch had six carries for 7 yards and a goal in Seattle’s Wild Card game win last week, and also captured 2 passes for 25 yards. But Seattle coach Pete Carroll stated this week he’s going to put even more on Lynch’s plate on Sunday.
“Marshawn will play more,” Carroll said Monday. “He’s going to play more today. He’s all set to and he’s had adequate time with us. He feels confident about what he’s doing and the plan.”
Novice Travis Homer, a sixth round draft choice last April, is more of a third down back.
Seattle’s Tyler Lockett and novice D.K. Metcalf are among the more unsafe duos Green Bay has faced this year.
Lockett set career-highs this season in receptions (82) and getting lawns (1,057), and added eight goals. Metcalf, who fell to the 2nd round in the 2019 draft, had a terrific first year with 58 catches, 900 getting backyards and 7 TDs. Then in the Seahawks’ Wild Card win last week, Metcalf had 7 catches for 160 lawns and a touchdown.
Metcalf (6-4, 229) has enforcing size, while Lockett (5-10, 182) is smaller sized and quicker.
Tight end Jacob Hollister invested the very first six weeks of the year on the practice team, then had 41 catches and three goals in the last 10 video games of the year.
Green Bay’s Davante Adams had just one catch for 7 backyards when the Packers and Seahawks met in the 2014 NFC Championship Game. That was simply Adams’ 2nd postseason video game, however, and he learned quickly the playoffs are a whole other animal.
“I certainly wasn’t rather familiar with how extreme it was going to be,” Adams stated of completing in the playoffs. “So that’s one of the main things I have actually ensured I mentioned to the young men this week, letting them know it’s going to be a little bit more intense than what they’ve seen in the past in these previous games.”
Green Bay’s offending line ranked No. 6 in the league by Pro Football Focus. The Packers’ typical time to allow a pressure of 2.62 seconds was No. 1 in the league.
Amazingly, Green Bay’s starting 5 has actually played together the last 14 video games of the year.
“I believe it’s a huge benefit, just that connection,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said. “I suggest, it’s priceless. Particularly when you’re discussing your offensive line. I believe it’s definitely been great for us.”
Seattle’s offending line ranked No. 27 by PFF, and making matters worse, the Seahawks have all sorts of injury concerns to deal with.
Seattle starting left guard Mike Iupati is uncertain with a neck/stinger concern. Iupati, a four-time Pro Bowler, missed recently’s video game against Philadelphia and was changed by second-year man Jamarco Jones. Jones had a hard time mightily versus the Eagles in the run video game, however held up OKAY in pass security.
Left deal with Duane Brown is questionable as he recovers from minor knee surgical treatment and will be a game-day decision. George Fant has actually started for Brown the past two video games, however is also doubtful with a groin injury.
Beginning center Justin Britt suffered a torn ACL at midseason and was replaced by fourth-year male Joey Hunt. Hunt has been average, at best, enabling 3 sacks in 8 starts.
Right guard D.J. Fluker, a preliminary draft pick in 2013, moved from take on to protect in recent years where he’s been underwhelming. Right deal with Germain Ifedi enabled 6 sacks and had 13 penalties this season.
“We were rocking along respectable for a while,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll stated of his offending line. “Then just late in the year we got hammered a bit.”
The Seahawks are playing more of their base 4-3– and less nickel– than at any time during Carroll’s 10 years as head coach.
Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 choice in the 2014 draft, had a peaceful year with 3.0 sacks. But Clowney had a huge game against Philadelphia last week with a sack and 5 tackles.
Former-Lion Ziggy Ansah had just 2.5 sacks this year and is questionable with a neck injury.
End Quinton Jefferson (ankle) is also questionable, but Carroll stated it “looks like he’s going.” Fellow end Rasheem Green led Seattle with 4.0 sacks during the regular season.
Protective deal with Jarran Reed was suspended six games at the start of the year for breaching the NFL’s personal conduct policy back in 2017. Reed, who had 10.5 sacks in 2018, never ever repeated to that level after returning.
Defensive tackle Poona Ford loads 310 pounds on his 5-foot-11 frame and is difficult to remove in the run video game.
Green Bay’s Kenny Clark had 6.0 sacks and 52 unassisted deals with in another highly-productive season.
Seattle’s Bobby Wagner is arguably the best middle linebacker in football and the key to Seattle’s defense.
Wagner is among the very best run defenders of his generation. Not only did he have a career-high 159 tackles this season, Wagner’s capability to check out and respond means he’s generally also the very first man to reach opposing ball providers. Wagner has actually also been dominant in coverage for several years now thanks to an unusual ability to cover sideline to sideline.
“It’s amusing due to the fact that you sit there and you try a lot to use misdirection, but people like that, it doesn’t even phase them,” Packers offensive organizer Nathaniel Hackett stated of Wagner. “You do all type of stuff, and he’s so secured on his keys. Especially a person of his caliber, however also being in the very same system for so long. It’s like a quarterback who’s been in the exact same system for so long. It’s tough to trick those people.”
Strongside ‘backer K.J. Wright is another tackling machine (132 ). Cody Barton took over on the weakside last week when Mychal Kendricks went on injured reserve with a knee injury. The dropoff from Kendricks to Barton is severe.
According to Pro Football Focus, Green Bay’s Za’Darius Smith led the NFL with 93 pressures and completed sixth in the league with 13.5 sacks. Preston Smith finished eighth in the NFL with 12.0 sacks and had four games with at least 1.5 sacks.
Seattle got safety Quandre Diggs from Detroit in October, a move that’s settled in spades. In just five regular season video games, Diggs had 3 interceptions, a forced fumble and a 55-yard interception return for a goal.
“Truly smart, actually instinctive, gives other guys self-confidence,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said of Diggs. “He’s a hitter, he’ll turn the ball over for you. He’s just been a truly good football gamer and when he’s out there, other guys play better. Therefore it’s, that’s a real tribute to him, who he is an all. He’s truly helped us.”
Fellow security Bradley McDougald has been solid because showing up from Tampa Bay in 2017.
Shaquill Griffin has actually been Seattle’s leading cornerback. Griffin has good ball skills and is extremely aggressive in both coverage and run assistance.
No. 2 Tre Flowers (6-3, 203) is long, lean and has decent speed. However Flowers had two crucial pass disturbance penalties recently and is the weaker link of the Seahawks’ 2 corners.
Packers safety Adrian Amos has been a huge addition for a group that had perhaps the worst security play in football in 2018.
“He’s that steady calm on the back end,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur stated of Amos. “Simply thankful we got Adrian here.”
Corners Jaire Alexander, Kevin King and novice safety Darnell Savage will all be making their very first playoff start.
Green Bay’s Mason Crosby has made 26-of-29 postseason basket (89.7%). Return ace Tyler Ervin has actually provided an increase on kickoffs (26.7) and punts (9.6 ).
Seattle return guys Tyler Lockett (kickoffs) and David Moore (punts) have actually been so-so. Kicker Jason Myers went 23-of-28 on field goals this season (82.1%), while punter Michael Dickson had a strong year (45.1 average, 40.9 web).
Pete Carroll, 68, is the earliest head coach in the NFL. However Carroll has a youthful liveliness to him that makes him feel years more youthful.
Carroll is the winningest coach in Seahawks’ history with a 100-59-1 regular season record. Carroll, who was also the head coach for the New York Jets and New England earlier in his profession, has an 11-8 career postseason record.
Carroll has led the Seahawks to the postseason 7 of the previous 8 years. Seattle routed Denver in the 2013 Super Bowl, and lost to New England in the Super Bowl the following year.
“I’ll inform you what, he’s got a lot of energy,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur stated of Carroll. “He’s done it for so long at such a high level, I have actually got a great deal of respect and appreciation for him, just what he’s had the ability to achieve throughout the course of his profession.”
Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur is a darkhorse candidate for Coach of the Year after leading the Packers to a 13-3 record and their greatest playoff seed since 2014. LaFleur will be coaching his very first championship game, though, and 10 members of his personnel will be making their playoff launching.
According to SI.com, Seattle’s training staff has 313 video games of playoff experience, while Green Bay’s has simply 71.
“Inform Matt (LaFleur) it’s a huge advantage for us, OK?” Carroll quipped today.
Really, it is.
Forecast: Packers 27, Seahawks 17
Season record: 12-4