NFC Championship Game Preview: Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks

 

Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch will look to shoulder the offensive load against Green Bay

Where
Century Link Field, Seattle
When
3.05 PM (E.T)

Green Bay travel to Seattle in a week one rematch as the two teams battle for NFC supremacy and the right to compete in the Superbowl two weeks from today. The Seahawks will hope to earn the chance to defend their Superbowl crown, while the Packers are in search of their second world title in the Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers era. Seattle’s well documented homefield advantage will be tested to the full by Rodgers and co in a classic battle of offense versus defense, although the odds are firmly stacked in the Seahawks favour after they lost just one game at home all season, including a resounding victory over the Packers in week one by a score of 36-16.

When Green Bay has the ball…
Rodgers was limited by a calf tear last week when Green Bay rallied late to beat Dallas at Lambeau Field, though despite his limited mobility Rodgers was still an extremely effective passer, topping 300 yards on the day and not throwing any interceptions. The Packers number 12 could be in for a tougher time this week, however, with the Seahawks vaunted pass rush likely to move him in the pocket far more than the Cowboys managed to last week. In an effort to keep the ‘hawks D honest Green Bay will hope running back Eddie Lacy can gain a respectable amount of yards per carry, although the second year back missed time last week after he suffered a shortness of breath. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson was largely contained by the Cowboys, but in his place rookie Davante Adams stepped up with over 100 yards receiving, as did Randall Cobb. In week one Rodgers stayed away from Richard Sherman’s side of the field completely – if the Packers are to win tonight they might want to reconsider that strategy, good as Sherman is.

When Seattle has the ball…
One of the reasons Seattle were so successful in week one against Green Bay was their use of jet screens, enabling them to utilise the speed of Percy Harvin. Harvin, of course, was traded to the Jets midway through the season, and since that week one offensive outburst the Seahawks have been heavily reliant on the play-making ability of quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson’s elusiveness has brought him time in the pocket when his protections have broken down, something that Packers linebacker Clay Matthews will look to exploit this evening. Cornerback Sam Shields leads the Green Bay secondary and he’ll likely be tasked with guarding Doug Baldwin on the outside, though the Seahawks lack a true number one threat. Ultimately the game could come down to the Packers ability to stifle, or at least contain, Marshawn Lynch, who can take over a game and enable Seattle to control the clock with his punishing efforts on the ground.

Special Teams
Packers kicker Mason Crosby has a big leg and has made four kicks from over 50 yards this season, however he’s also missed seven kicks and is liable to inconsistency at times. Although the Packers haven’t generated much from kick returns Micah Hyde does have two touchdowns returning punts, and averages 15 yards per return this year. The Seahawks Steven Hauschka is one of the best kickers in the NFL, although his leg isn’t as strong as Crosby’s. Seattle has lacked a weapon in the return game since Harvin was traded, with the club registering zero scores in the return game.

Prediction
Packers 17, Seahawks 20

Who do you think will win the NFC Championship game? Tweet @fredjstanley or leave a comment

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