What a dark time it was not so long ago. The internet wolves were out, and they were ravenous. Fire the coach? Force the General Manager to retire? Trade the quarterback (that was particularly dumb)? People were looking for answers, anywhere they could find them (or make them up). The Packers were 4-6, had lost four in a row and appeared to be heading for one of the first ten picks in the draft.
Then Philly happened. Green Bay went to Philadelphia as underdogs and emerged the victors, putting forth their best performance of the season. As the Packers get healthier and inch closer to playoff contention, belief grows. Hope springs eternal. There is a chance the Packers can indeed “run the table”.
The Seahawks seem to be all that stand in the way of that chance. Green Bay just has to be within one game of the Lions going in to week 17, but after their win in New Orleans last week it looks a lot like the Packers have to win out.
Win out they can, if they can make it passed Seattle. Chicago seems to have given up on the season, and the Vikings without Harrison Smith pose little threat at Lambeau Field. Their season will likely be over after a loss either on the road at Jacksonville or at home against the Colts.
Seattle, though, stands in the way, as they often do. They stood in the way of the 2014 Super Bowl Champion Packers. They might have screwed up the 2012 season with the Fail Mary. They’re a tough crew to get past.
Why the Packers Will Win: They have to. After Detroit’s win in New Orleans the ability of the Packers to win the division at 9-7 is dwindling. Green Bay needs to protect its home field if they want another shot at that elusive Lombardi trophy.
It got a little easier with Seattle’s loss of Earl Thomas. His ability to play center field better than any cover-1 or cover-3 safety in the league is a huge part of that defense. The Packers are likely to completely ignore Richard Sherman, and Kam Chancellor has been a bit exposed in coverage that last two seasons. That leaves Rodgers and the passing game to contend with members of the Legion of Boom that aren’t so fearsome. Seattle might have to adjust what they do as well.
As far as the defense is concerned they need huge games from Julius Peppers and Mike Daniels. Seattle is bad up front. With Matthews nursing several injuries he can’t be a wrecking ball, other players have to. The way to beat Seattle on defense is to dominate them up front and not allow them to establish Thomas Rawls.
Why the Seahawks Will Win: They are probably the better team. They are certainly the healthier team. Yes, they lost Thomas, but they still have Wilson, Rawls, Graham and their full complement of receivers on offense. Michael Bennet and the front seven is healthy on defense as are Chancellor and Sherman.
The Seahawks need this one, too. The #1 seed in the NFC is locked up. This baby’s gonna go through Dallas. The NFC South isn’t much of a threat, but the Lions are. It’s easy to think of Detroit as a competitor to the Packers in their quest for the playoffs, but Seattle is just one half game ahead of Detroit for a first round bye. You have to believe they’re going to find that #2 seed one way or the other, but this is a big one.
Bottom Line: What’s the point of being a fan this time of year if you’re not gonna believe? YOU GOTTA BELIEVE! Packers 26 Seahawks 24