The Packers have one more win to go before getting a shot at another Championship title. And this game may very well be the toughest of all. The last time the Packers visited Seattle, they got schooled to the tune of 16-36. So is this Packers team one that can get it done for a shot at Super Bowl XLIX? Here are a few concerns I have going into this game:
1. Aaron Rodgers’ calf
I know, this is a drum that has been beaten for a long time. But after the Cowboys game, it seems clear that Aaron Rodgers will not be 100% for the duration of the season however long it may be. The offensive line did an admirable job against the Cowboys and Aaron was able to stand in/ climb the pocket to buy time rather than rolling out. The Seahawks will be an altogether different beast however. A viscious pass rush coupled with some of the best cover guys in the backfield screams out for a mobile Aaron Rodgers. Instead, Rodgers will have to choose between getting first downs (which may come at a premium) and risking pulling that calf severely. This is far and away my greatest concern coming into this game. While it didn’t look like Aaron re-injured his calf on Sunday…he was still protecting it. This could be a major problem. Everybody in Packernation needs to channel good energy to Aaron for health in this upcoming game.
Teams have found that if they can shut down Jordy Nelson, they have a chance against the Packers. With the emergence of Adams and Rodgers, and the fact that the Packers seem to finally have decided to utilize tight ends as receivers…this is a more potent offense than the one that lost the first game of the season. But Jordy Nelson was not even targeted in September and that cannot be the case this time. We need to prove a point against Sherman and the vaunted Seahawks defense. Jordy needs to take advantage of the one or two opportunities that he may get, much like in the game against the Patriots midseason. If Jordy makes a couple of his signature catches, the Packers have a good shot, but if he gets shutout again, it will be a long day for the Packers.
3. Can the defense force Seattle to be one-dimensional?
The Packers priority one on defense is going to be to stop Marshawn Lynch and force Seattle to throw the ball. The Packers gave up 123 yards in 25 carries to DeMarco Murray on Sunday. This amounted to an almost 5 yard per carry average. The Seahawks offensive line is NOT as talented as the Dallas Cowboys’ line but the Packers must get job one done. If the Seahawks are forced to win this game through the air, it bodes well for a Packers defense that has a lot of pass rushers seeming to come into their own right now. Along with Matthews and Peppers, we have seen Daniels, Neal, and Jones step it up in recent weeks. The Packers have not been taking the ball away in recent weeks the way they did mid-season. We need one turnover at least to win this game.
So this is a tough assignment for the Packers and there are definitely some concerns. But what are your concerns? What do you think the Packers need to do better to advance to the Super Bowl this year? Let me know in the comments below or back on the Facebook page.