Sitting at 1-0, the Packers head into a game that all of us fans circled on the calendar once the schedule was announced. After three games in Seattle, including the infamous “Fail Mary,” the Seahawks finally travel to Lambeau.
And now, as is my new tradition, I will go through my 3,2,1 list for the game Sunday night. For those who missed last week, this is how I will format my list:
- 3 Key Players
- 2 Bold Predictions
- 1 Key Stat for the Packers to win
And before I get into it, I want to give a challenge to Packer fans. Seattle may have a stadium set up for record breaking noise, but if you are at Lambeau Sunday, show the Seahawks what home field advantage really is.
And now, here are the ways to take down Seattle in 3…2…1…
3 Key Players
- Nate Palmer
- This is a no brainer to any fans. With Sam Barrington out for the season, Palmer now steps into the starting role at Inside Linebacker and there is no tougher test for him than Marshawn Lynch. He has shown good skill in coverage and as a tackler, but he needs to work on shedding blocks. If he can do that against a subpar offensive line, he will have a big day and slow down the Seattle ground attack.
- Ty Montgomery
- Special teams are extremely important between two fairly evenly matched teams, and Montgomery is the newest weapon for the Packers in kick returns. He looked great against Chicago, but Seattle is a new monster. If Montgomery can help with field position, the Packer offense makes it that much harder for the Seattle defense to stop.
- David Bakhtiari
- Bakh is now by himself. With a backup in at Right Tackle, the third-year tackle is now on his own with blocking Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. He has the ability, and he acquainted himself well in the playoff game last season. But he is still coming off that injury that he suffered in the preseason, but he needs to be at his best to keep Aaron Rodgers clean.
2 Bold Predictions
- Seattle doesn’t force a single turnover
- This seems obvious, but the Packers have struggled with hanging on to the ball against the Seahawks in the past. I think that ends this week. Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback ever at protecting the ball, and he doesn’t turn over the ball once this game. And that gang-tackling defense doesn’t force any fumbles either.
- Marshawn Lynch gets over 100 yards but no touchdowns.
- Matt Forte went off last week, and Lynch is even more dangerous between the tackles. But outside them he is just a man, and that helps the Packers defense. He isn’t the greatest at making guys miss. He’ll run over them, but not break their ankles. The Packers swarm to the ball well and can slow him down. And he statistically is an average runner in short yardage over the past year which could allow the Packers to shut him down on the goal line and force either passes or field goal attempts.
1 Key Stat to Win
- The Packers need to convert their red zone attempts to touchdowns
- This was a sore spot for the team last season, and it really hurt them in the playoff game. But with the development of weapons like Richard Rodgers and the return of James Jones, this is turning into a strength. With Kam Chancellor away from the team, the Seahawks have trouble in the deep center of the field and Rodgers can take advantage of that. They cannot settle for field goals this time. A four point swing could decide this game. Look for a few more risks from Mike McCarthy in third and fourth and short situations in Seattle territory.
Mike Wendlandt is originally from Iola, Wisconsin and graduated from Drake University in 2015 with a degree in History. With a significant journalism background both in writing and broadcasting, Mike can be heard as the play-by-play voice of Central Wisconsin High School sports on WDUX FM 92.7 and on Twitter @MikeWendlandt.
Mike Wendlandt is a writer covering the Green Bay Packers for PackersTalk.com.