Early Bird Breakdown Week 14 – Seahawks @ Packers

Hello and welcome back to Early Bird Breakdown. It’s week fourteen of the regular season for the Packers and they have the toughest opponent remaining on their schedule coming for a visit to Green Bay. Before diving into the game, let’s look at the recap from last week.

The Recap:

Last week Houston’s anemic offense came to Lambeau and the Packers shut them down. Offensively, they played a pretty  decent game against a quality defense, winning 21-13.

The Breakdown:

Packers’ Offense vs Seahawks’ Defense:

Despite the Seahawks losing their best player on defense last week in Earl Thomas to a broken leg, Seattle still has the advantage in this area. Seattle boasts many stars, defensive end Michael Bennett, linebacker Bobby Wagner, corner Richard Sherman, and combo safety Cam Chancellor (more on him later) all are at or near the top of their respective positions for Seattle and historically this group has been a tough nut to crack for the Packers.

With TJ Lang & JC Tretter both questionable again, this will be the first game since they got nicked up that the Packers may truly feel their losses. Cam Chancellor is a unique safety, who is built like a linebacker and plays in the box to remove the run, call the defensive plays, and shut down slot receivers. While Thomas is the better player overall, Chancellor  is the more important player against an offense like Green Bays, since he can single handedly stop our run game and covers the routes the Packers call the most frequent, the short intermediary throws. It is very unlikely that the Packers will get much of a running game this week against the Seattle front and they will be forced to move the ball into the air.

As good as the passing offense has been of late, it mostly has been through quick timing routes that are not traveling down field deep. The tempo passing game has been really effective against the Eagles and Texans, but that is Seattle’s bread and butter to stop. With Earl Thomas out, the openings will be there for deep shots but that home-run-type threat at wide receiver is not something the Packers have at wide receiver. It will be a grind, but the Packers thanks to Thomas’s injury should have a few chances to take shots if they get the opening and they will need them to win.

Packers’ Defense vs Seahawks’ Offense:

This will be an interesting matchup. While Seattle has a very good quarterback in Russell Wilson, a very good receiver in Doug Baldwin, and the best tight end left standing in the NFL in Jimmy Graham with the Patriot’s Rob Gronkowski going down. Packers fans know how burned they have been by wide receivers this year, how historically tight ends have run wild on the Dom Capers defenses, yet this match up is up in the air. Why? Because Seattle has perhaps the worst offensive line in the NFL and they cannot block for their running backs and they cannot keep Wilson upright to actually throw passes.

A lot of this will come down to whether Clay Matthews can play and how close to 100% he is for the game. If the Packers can contain the run, which they have done against good running backs with bad offensive lines, they can keep this game very low scoring. However, Thomas Rawls is a very good running back who destroyed Carolina last week. It is imperative for Green Bay to take him away early. If Seattle gets any semblance of a running game to keep their defense on the sidelines, it is going to be almost impossible to win.

The Weather:

Winter in Wisconsin! It will be snowing before, during, and after the game with temperatures in the low 20s.

The Breakdown:

Green Bay’s toughest opponent is one they would love to find a way to beat, as it usually has been Seattle who wins in this newly brewing rivalry. The Seahawks travel to a snow storm in Green Bay without their best player and an awful offensive line. The Packers will have the openings to strike, but the problem is they do not have the deep threat to truly expose Seattle’s new weakness. Green Bay should get some scoring going, but I think Seattle also finds holes in the Green Bay defense, especially if Matthews is not at 100% and Wilson has even a little time. I think Seattle just has enough weapons and their weaknesses do not play into the Packers strength. Green Bay loses 17-24.

As always, go Pack go! Stu Weis -Journalism graduate 2012, Carroll University